A coupon miracle.

Want to save 50% at the supermarket? Here's help.The last time I visited my daughter I lost my coupon holder, a black nylon wallet with pasteboard dividers. FLOUR/SUGAR. CRACKERS/SNAX/DESSERTS. DAIRY PRODUCTS. TOILETRIES. FROZEN FOODS.

I emptied my backpack and suitcase. Nothing. We took the place apart but couldn’t find it. Abby called the stores we’d visited. No luck.

This truly bummed me out, and not just because of the coupons it held. I’d had the holder for at least 25 years after ordering it from a Parade magazine ad, and it had seen a lot of hard use.

This was especially true when I worked at the newspaper and could get extra coupon sections from the recycle bin. This boosted my budget and let me buy extras of some items for the family shelter.

Couponing also made a big difference once I left my marriage and went back to school. I got free toiletries and food items for myself and my daughter, plus extras for the food bank.

Six months have gone by since I lost the folder. Now and then I’ve considered ordering a new one but held off. In part that was because I’ve used fewer and fewer coupons in the past couple of years. The local paper doesn’t offer many and no area stores double them.

The other reason was that I’d think to search for a folder and then get distracted. I blame mental-pause. But this time brain fog paid off.


An old friend

I’m visiting Abby again, after speaking at the New Media Expo and attending a great one-day WordPress program called Press Publish. Today we made a quick run to the grocery store and for some reason she looked to the left. There, in the door pocket, was my coupon folder.

That thing is indestructible. Sure, the tabs at the tops of the dividers are shredding, but that’s okay: I know in which order the categories appear.

I’m not sure why I’m so absurdly happy to see the doggoned thing. Maybe it’s because we have a frugal history together. Maybe it’s because I didn’t wind up buying a new folder only to have the old one show up.

All I know is that I’m smiling, as though I’d gotten back in touch with an old friend. Even if the coupons are all out of date.

Related reading:

468 ad


  1. A comfortable old friend…..

  2. That gives me hope that my coupon notebook will show up with probably $50 worth of “no expiration date” coupons inside. I rarely ever see that kind of coupons anymore.

  3. Kathy Rusch

    Oh, I understand your happiness! Your coupon folder is a tangible, no-tech tool that has been with you through thick and thin (as my dear mother used to say). It was with you throughout all the changes in your life, like a faithful friend. I actually have and use my dear mother’s coupon folder, and I smile as I navigate the grocery or drugstore aisles. Perhaps one has to be of a certain age to understand 🙂

    • Us ladies and our coupon folders! Today,though, there aren’t many coupons out that I can use. I try to stay away from packaged foods, don’t use make-up, or many health type items. Wish there was more for fresh fruits, veggies, rice, and beans,etc.

      • Donna Freedman

        Yep, my coupon folder is getting skinnier all the time — especially since, as noted, the Alaska paper doesn’t contain many inserts. I remember when it used to be much fuller.
        I do save the healthier Qs (mandarin oranges, canned tomatoes, et al.) and all the toiletries ones I can find. In the past year I’ve gotten good deals on things like Triscuits thanks to sale-plus-coupon situations. My nephews love cheese and crackers, so DF and I are always buying ahead.
        Thanks for reading, and for leaving a comment.

    • Donna Freedman

      Could be, especially since paper coupons are on the wane. I’m old-school. What can I say? But you’re right about the “faithful friend” part as well.

  4. Loved your blog today. It reminded me of the time I lost my favorite car key ring. It was huge, and I never needed to search hard in my purse for it. The kids found it one day in the car. I was so happy I treated them to McDonalds!

  5. This reminds me of the time I lost my gift card wallet. I estimated it had about $400 of our saved gift cards. Some of them free from surveys, etc., some gifts, others that we bought when the fuel perks were double at our local grocery store. I was distraught. Of all the stores I called to ask if it was found, only one (Kohl’s) asked for my contact information in case it was found. Imagine my surprise when I got a call 4 days later from Kohl’s customer service. My gift card wallet was found by someone on the cleaning crew! I could hardly believe it. I wanted to offer a reward or bake some treats, but they wouldn’t take anything.

    Talk about relief! Especially when I added everything up and realized there was over $700 in gift cards in there! Thank goodness for honest folks!

    • Donna Freedman

      It’s always good to hear a story about someone who does the right thing, so thanks for sharing that. Recently I was in a store and a guy yanking his keys out of his pocket pulled out a crumpled greenback along with them. I started to say, “Sir, you dropped your money” when I realized two other people were saying the same thing. One of them bent down, picked it up and handed it to the guy. Again: Nice to know there are still some honest folks out there.

  6. jestjack

    What a great story! Crazy how we get attached to simple, everyday things. I recently had a similar situation with my cell phone. The phone got dropped into a 1/4 cup of coffee….another story… and stopped working. This phone is nothing special and is a “hand-me-down” from DW. It’s about 11 years old and in “flip-phone years” that’s ancient. Been thru a lot with this old phone and was pretty disappointed at the phone’s demise. But I put it in in a bag of rice for 24 hours…and it’s alive and functioning once more. Did order a new battery…$4.49….Here’s hoping it goes another 11…

  7. This is a wonderful and heartwarming little story and one of the many reasons I get so much out of the blogs I read. Thanks for sharing this tale of reunion!

  8. Carolina Cooper

    As always, love what you write…especially had to smile at the word (or is it a phrase?)…”mental-pause.” I am gonna’ use that one!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *