Do’s and Don’ts of Couponing
For the past year or so, I have been actively involved in the couponing game. Initially, I spent countless hours perusing numerous websites and newspaper articles just to feel that rush at the checkout line. I quickly learned that “EXTREME COUPONING” was not worth it for me because I wear way too many hats to spend ten hours a week just to save money on items that aren't needed. Below are a few tips that introduce how to coupon effectively and ways to ensure you have a positive experience at the grocery store.
1) Get organized: It gives me the creeps when I am standing in the checkout line and see the consumer in front of me digging aimlessly through their purse/pockets/pouch for one coupon that will save them a measly $0.25. We all have a lot on our plates and quite frankly, this is a waste of everyone else’s time as well as yours. Don’t fall into this trap! Instead, create a couponing binder with baseball card inserts. Organize the clippings by category and expiration date. This will ensure that the coupons are easily accessible when needed.
2) Grocery List: A huge mistake many individuals make when going to the grocery store is not creating a list beforehand. This is a recipe for disaster! Instead of roaming up and down the aisles with no clue as to what you actually want to buy, come up with a logical plan (i.e. grocery list that incorporates sale items with corresponding coupons) before leaving the house! Make sure to always take this “plan” and its accessories (i.e. coupons) along to stay on task and stick to the budget allocated for groceries.
3) Subscribe: Instead of spending countless hours flipping through sale papers and matching them up to your coupons, subscribe to couponing sites for hints! My two personal favorites are addictedtosaving.com and krazycouponlady.com. These sites may not identify every single opportunity to save big, but they will give you the heads-up on major deals and where to find them if you are crunched for time.
4) Be familiar with store policies and couponing jargon: I remember checking out one evening at Publix and asking the manager why he always insisted upon greeting me with a Kool-Aid smile. His response shocked me. Basically, he said that he got a kick out of my deal-saving transactions and most importantly, I was a friendly couponer. Before that conversation, I had no idea that “mean couponers” existed. The bottom line is that you must know the store policies and understand terms and conditions of each coupon. That way, the chances of a problem arising will be very minimal.
1) Spend countless hours: In this day and age, time is extremely valuable as there is always so much to be done. It is not worth it to spend twenty hours per week clipping coupons and matching the up with sales just to save $20. Some of you can make that in less than an hour. Instead, utilize resources around you (such as couponing sites) and let them do the work.
2) Stockpile just because items are on sale: Around the 4th of July, Publix was running a promotion on Hellman’s mayo and with coupons, the consumer was able to earn $0.17 per jar to be used towards another item. I made two trips to the store and decided to retrieve a rain check because they kept running out as soon as a new shipment came in. I found out that a particular individual was purchasing jars by the case. (My initial thoughts on this were disgusting, but I will refrain from sharing them with you all). Anyhow, I don't understand what one person could do with all of that mayo. Moral of the story: avoid stockpiling items that you don’t need. They may be free but it’s not kind to deprive others of their needs out of pure greed.
3) Print endless amounts of coupons: With the exception of store coupons, a vast majority of manufacturer's coupons can be found in the newspaper. Save your ink (printer) and whip out the scissors. In the event that a manufacturer's coupon is not available in hardcopy, it is a good idea to search the krazycouponlady.com or addicitedtosaving.com databases.
4) Deprivation: Every now and again, I get the sweet tooth and must have a Publix glazed donut or cookie. Some days, I even crave particular dishes from restaurants. Please understand that you are human and it's okay to occasionally desire items that you shouldn’t have for whatever reason. Be careful not to deprive yourself of certain items because it may cause a rebellious streak way greater than what you bargained for. Instead, enjoy certain foods in moderation (only if you can afford them), and be on the lookout for coupons that can be used at your favorite restaurants.
Next time you pull out the magic scissors, be sure to keep these tips in mind to ensure a positive and efficient couponing experience. For additional information on how to coupon, please visit www.tons-of-funds.com.