Couponing: The Hunt

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When I ended the last post I was explaining how I began helping B coupon. While watch “Extreme Couponing” I noticed a woman who would visit her local Recycling Center and dig through the newspapers and magazines in search of buried insert gold! The idea was initially shocking but the more I thought about it, the more excited and ok with it I became. She wasn’t going through garbage, it’s not like she had to weed through dirty diapers and banana peels, it was all paper. I started doing research on the Internet for local recycling centers in our area with no luck, although I admittedly did not look very hard at first as I was still worried about the appearance of it all and what people would think.

Eventually the prospect of free loot got the best of me and I decided to give it a shot. I knew that there was a recycling center in the town where B’s parents live, which is unfortunately a good 30 minutes away, however I still get my hair cut there, so I took the opportunity to do a little recon to see if it would be worth the dirty looks. After dropping the kids off for a little Grammie and Pappy time and getting a new fresh-to-death fade, I drove by the dumpsters. The first thing I saw were bags of newspapers sticking out of the opening and I started seeing dollar signs. I parked the truck, grabbed my gloves and went to investigate. The first bag I opened, there was a fresh, untouched Red Plum sitting on top, which every couponer knows is coveted, since it only comes in the mail once a week so multiples are difficult to come by. Back in the dumpster I noticed stacks and stacks crisp newspapers from the day before. I figured that business owners or distribution centers must dump their extra, unsold papers there, score! I knew that if I timed it right, I could get plenty of the latest inserts in mint condition. Thus began my great dumpster-diving adventure!

Every opportunity we got, the kids and I would pack up and go visit Grammie and Pappy. While the kids enjoyed time with their grandparents, daddy was sifting through circulars. The dumpsters are right beside a bike path and as people would go by, I would feel the eyes piercing, judging. I no longer cared, for they were ignorant to the riches I was soon to uncover. From time to time, cars would pull up and people would dump their recycling, and while most would pretend they didn’t see me, some would ask what I was doing or if I lost something. I would explain, and they seemed to understand, saying things like “nowadays, you gotta do what you gotta do”. If someone came to drop off newspapers, I would ask if I could take them off their hands, no one seemed to care, and I helped some elderly folks with the rest of their recycling in the process. The Mayor actually came by one day and after unloading his recycling, questioned my motives, saying that they have had problems with people leaving trash on the outside and misusing the bins. I explained and promised to leave the place as clean as I found it, which seemed to appease him.  B still gets nervous whenever I go coupon hunting, afraid that somehow I will get arrested, but I know that I am doing nothing wrong and will continue as long as there is no law against it.

I recently discovered some newspaper only dumpsters only a few miles from our house, which makes our wallets and our gas tank happy, we are doing this to save money after all. Finding coupons this way can have a huge payoff, but you should be willing to make a fool of yourself and leave your pride at home.

But…all that glitters isn’t gold…keep reading: Couponing: The Rub

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