But, but, but . . . My MAMA Had a Coupon Drawer!

Do you ever do something ONLY because your mom did it Even though it doesn't work for you

Have you heard that story about the woman whose daughter asked why she chopped off the end of the roast before cooking it? The woman responded that she didn’t actually know why, but did it because that was what her mother had always done. The daughter then asked her grandmother the reason for this “technique.” Her grandmother’s response? “Oh. I had to chop off the end to make it fit in my roasting pan.”

My mom kept restaurant coupons in a drawer by the telephone. If we headed out to eat at Arby’s, we always looked in that drawer for coupons and then each ordered separately to get around the “one coupon per transaction” rule.

Occasionally, I get restaurant coupons in the mail. In a small town, that’s exciting.

For years, I stuck them in a certain kitchen drawer that seemed the equivalent of the one my mom stuck her restaurant coupons in.

For years, I never, ever, ever remembered to grab one of those coupons when I left to go to the restaurant they matched.

Ever. After cleaning out the drawer time and time again, and experiencing the sadness that overwhelms my Cheapskate Heart when I read the long-past expiration date on a coupon for something I know I’ve paid full price to buy, I gave up on using that drawer.

Just because my mama had a coupon drawer doesn’t mean I should.

Or can.

In my reality, a coupon drawer turns out to be a coupon grave.

Now, I put those coupons in the car. I’m still not terribly likely to remember their existence, but if I do there’s a much better chance that I’ll use them.

Unless they’re in the car I’m not in at that moment. Whatever. A 50% chance that they’ll be there when I need them is better than a 100% chance that I’ll never ever use them.


just because mother did it at



--Nony get-how-to-manage-your-home-without-losing-your-mind-wherever-books-are-sold


  1. 1

    I keep coupons in my truck. We live quite a ways from town, so if I forgot a coupon, I definitely am not turning around for it. Now, I at least have them and I can look through them when it matters.

  2. 2

    One thing I’ve found helpful is to organize coupons by expiration date. Not strict sorting, but into four simple categories: expiring this month, next month, later, and never, each in an envelope. It takes a bit more effort to the pluck the “next month” coupons out of the “later” set, but it keeps them fresher in my mind, so I’m more likely to *remember* to use them.

  3. 3

    I’m so bad with coupon usage that having them in the center slot above my radio where I can SEE them won’t guarantee me using them. Or having them in my wallet next to the money/card I use to pay still doesn’t cut it. I’ve tried magnets on the fridge, a tried and true coupon holder, or even holding them in my hand throughout the ride to the store/restaurant. No guarantees they will be utilized. I’ve canceled the paper to save money and space that the papers take up. Here’s to hoping I get my act together in the next 30 years.

  4. 4
    Mom of 2! says:

    I am a huge coupon user… Got one of those multi sectioned coupon folder thingies. I use it all the time but hut myself when I need something and forget it at home. But I keep bed bath and beyond coupons in each car- I have to drive there so if I go without planning- I always have it.

    I have an issue with gift cards- so I stick them in front of my debit card!

  5. 5

    My mum always had a big box of matches in the drawer by the gas stove for the occasional time it didn’t light automatically when turned on. So when I moved into my first studio apartment, I did my first supermarket shop for food and cleaning essentials, including a big box of matches.
    Got home, put everything away in my new cupboards, fridge, etc…and then realised I only had an electric hob and oven…

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