Bring it to Barb


Dear Barb,

I am having difficulty with getting things done or done in a timely manner in my daily life. If I get a coupon that is an item or a discount I want to redeem I will set it aside and make a note of it on my phone or mentally. Next thing I know the date has expired or I didn’t have it with me or forgot to give it to the clerk. Every little bit of savings helps so could you suggest some tricks to remember or does everybody suffer from this problem? 


Memory Challenged

Dear Memory Challenged,

This is perfectly normal and, yes, everybody suffers in some degree from forgetfulness. The motto here to remember for most everything is “you pay attention to what you care about, and what you care about you pay attention.” So, if the store were giving you $10 of free groceries if you shopped between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. on a certain day, you would likely remember that. You would probably set your alarm to make sure because it is very worthy of your attention. As humans, we prioritize by worthiness essentially. 

My rule of thumb is a two-week timeframe to accomplish that “right now” important thing. For example, the hose adapter becomes very important when it breaks and sprays water all over your face and your nice shoes, so you naturally add the hose adapter to your list for the hardware store. But how easy it is to forget that incident and postpone the purchase when you’re on a time crunch to pick up the kids or get home to make dinner opting to buy the hose adapter at the hardware store another future day. Putting things off for a two-week period of time gives you permission to reprioritize the order of things. Not that it isn’t necessary or important; it’s just been recategorized in your brain. If two weeks pass, you will lose most of the desire to pursue the item or discount anyway. The exception would be it is extremely important such as new brakes and using a discounted coupon. 

I use an app for notes to categorize my shopping needs — grocery, hardware, to-do, remember etc. A list you read is beneficial when you enter a store to eliminate feeling overwhelmed with choices of things as you walk down each aisle. This saves you time walking down every aisle expecting it will jog your memory. What a waste of precious time. Ultimately you will spend much more money because you will risk seeing something that you may want, but not actually need.

There is an app for Safeway/Albertsons that allows you to touch on your phone for instant savings. Your phone is your friend while you are in the checkout lane and here is why. Almost every store will have a coupon to save on at least one item 20-50 percent if you search for a coupon to the store name. They scan it from your phone. This is much easier than keeping track of little pieces of paper too!

We all have the same 24 hours; it’s how we use it that is individual rendering its worthiness and importance. 

Barb Rock is a mental health counselor for the House of Matthew Homeward Bound program in Tacoma, and the published author of “Run Your Own Race: Happiness after 50.” Send any questions related to mental health, relationships or life issues to her at

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