Making A List and Checkin’ It Twice

Posted on October 7th, 2011 by Coupon Cathy

I didn’t plan for it to become a big shopping or couponing trip when I hauled my two children in the car this afternoon. (Just for perspective sake, I have a 7-month old baby and a two and a half year old toddler.) Neither one of them had napped very well. But, since I only had one item I’d planned on picking up (a freebie: Oil of Olay cleanser) and the children were in good spirits, I thought we’d stroll around to see what was on clearance as long as they stayed happy.

Because I had only planned on the one item, I didn’t have a list or a plan. But, once I got there, I thought I’d look around and had already thought about possibly taking advantage of the deal they have this week on diapers. (The deal, by the way, is a $5 Target gift card for two boxes of Pampers or Huggies diapers.) But, since I didn’t have a plan, I thought I’d just get there and figure things out. What I didn’t plan for was happy children who became antsy when I arrived in the baby section. So, I quickly pulled out the coupons and threw a couple of boxes of diapers in the shopping cart and rushed to the register. I decided I’d need two transactions so that I could use the gift card for the rest of my purchase.

So, I thought I was prepared when I stood in line. I pulled out all the relevant coupons; I had my phone open to the Target mobile coupons and I had the items separated. I was ready, or so I thought. What I forgot was to pick up a couple of boxes of wipes (because I had combination coupons for $2 off both a box of diapers and wipes). So, when the cashier mentioned that I didn’t have wipes, I was embarrassed and disappointed. If I went through with buying the two boxes, it would mean I would miss out on using $4.50 worth of coupons. Rather than holding things up, I decided to cancel the order and just go back later. So, I went ahead with the rest of my purchase. I had several coupons and Target mobile coupons. If I’d done the math ahead of time, I’d have figured out that I should have ended up spending around $6. I paid $10. It seemed more than I expected but with, at this point, two unhappy children, I didn’t stop to make sure all the coupons went through. When I got in the car, I looked at the receipt only to discover that the mobile coupons did not scan.

I did go back and fix it all after the children were in bed tonight. However, I have several takeaways from today’s adventure:

1. No big shopping or serious couponing with the children.

2. Do the math before getting to the register. Even with unhappy children, if I’d had a more specific idea about what to expect, I could have asked the cashier whether the mobile coupons had scanned.

3. Take a minute before heading to the register to make sure that all your coupons match what’s in your shopping cart.

It seems obvious, like Couponing 101. However, when you discover a last minute deal or things don’t go according to plan (which happens often in the couponing world), taking a minute to make sure everything matches up goes a long way when you get to the register!

Have you had any couponing mishaps? What lessons have you learned? Any helpful hints to other moms with young children?

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