8 Common Mistakes Most Beginning
Using coupons is a fantastic way of saving money. It helps to keep your grocery spending down, while covering your, and your family’s needs.
However, when couponing is not done properly, it can lead to overspending, and product hoarding. Not to mention, couponing can take over your time, and energy, and a very large stockpile will take over your home space.
Is it possible to use coupons effectively?
The good new is, you can keep yourself in check, coupon effectively, and smartly. It will take a bit of time, patience, and dedication, especially at first. However, if you want to be successful at it, you will want to avoid these 8 common mistakes most beginning couponers make.
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8 Common Mistakes Most Beginning Couponers Make
Trying to learn it all at once, and quickly
Like most things in life, learning how to use coupons properly, and effectively can take some time. There is a lot to learn, from concepts, and abbreviations, to rules that are specific to certain stores, and much more. Do yourself a favor, and give yourself some grace. Take it slowly, maybe learning the ropes for one store at a time. And once you master that one, then move onto the next one.
Joining Facebook couponing groups from the start
Now, don’t get me wrong. Facebook groups can be incredibly helpful. However, you will often find a lot of more experienced couponers, who can handle huge shopping trips, using tons of coupons, at multiple stores.
While you will definitely find tons of very helpful people in those groups, the constant posting of deal after deal can become overwhelming fast. You will be better off searching for a couponing guide that will walk you thru the ropes, step-by-step. Then, and only then, should you join those amazing FB groups for couponers, and start chasing deals.
Chasing every single deal
Oh, how I suffered from this at first! I learned to use coupons using an incredibly helpful guide, and it was so good, that I learned quickly. Once I mastered it, I was on it like bread on butter.
I had many highly successful shopping trips using coupons. But I also spent so much time, and energy chasing deals, that I felt stressed, tired, and drained.
Yes, there are some amazing deals you just have to get. But do yourself a favor, and don’t run out to the store every time a coupon blogger tells you about a deal. Couponing/deal blogs posts multiple times a day, and if you were to chase every single deal they post, you will have time for nothing else.
Buying things you won’t use
The novelty of being able to “buy” things for free, or at a steep discount can seriously affect your decision making process. Really, I often brought home sooo many things just because they were free, or mere pennies, that I could have probably opened my own shop haha.
Of course, I didn’t do that (It is illegal for individuals to purchase products using coupons, for the purpose of reselling to make a profit, btw.) What I ended up doing was donating a ton of stuff to my teens’ school pantry. A worthy cause indeed, but the reason why this was necessary was because I had purchased too many things we didn’t like, or would ever use.
Like the gazillion Yakisoba soups we never eat, for example. I paid something like $.02 ea, after coupons. An excellent donation item. But I spend quite a bit of time gathering coupons, preparing shopping trips, and shopping.
Using a coupon, just because you have it
I would like to make something clear. Using a coupon to save money is always an excellent idea. However, using it, just because you have it, is nowhere near as effective as you’d think.
To make the use of a coupon highly effective, you must always try to pair it up with a great deal, a sale price, or any other discount available, such as clearance prices. Otherwise, your savings will not be as good.
There are some basic exceptions to this, of course. If there is a product that you absolutely need, at the present moment, something that is of high priority, and you can’t wait for a good deal to come around, then by all means go ahead and purchase it, using your coupon. Any savings, are better than no savings at all.
But if you can shop around some more, and hold off for a little bit, then I always recommend you do so. Knowing the stores’ sales cycle definitely help in making this decision.
Stockpiling large amounts of the same product
What most newbie couponers forget (myself included), is that great deals come around. All. The. Time. In fact, there is an established cycle on how sales work in stores. And once you understand that, you stop stockpiling shampoo bottles like the zombie apocalypse is around the corner.
(I was so bad, we are still using toiletries like paper towels, shampoo, conditioner, razors, and more, from our stockpile. And I haven’t even shopped for any of those things for at least 3 yrs! – Insert face palm here, please!)
Bottom line is, set a limit to how many of one product you are willing to stockpile for for a certain period of time. For example, stockpile enough laundry detergent to last you 3-6 months, not a full year or two. I promise another deal will come around soon.
While the bulk of my stockpile can last a very long time, it is unwise to accumulate things for too long. It takes a ton of space, makes your home feel cluttered, and makes that much harder to clean. It is, in a nutshell, unnecessary.
Shopping without a list, or a clear plan
If you are planning on having any real success at couponing, you must do your best to be organized. Showing up at the stores without clipped coupons, and a shopping list of what you are getting, and where you are getting it, will only lead to stress, missed deals, and overspending. Not to mention, you will make one cashier very angry.
While there are lots of amazingly patient cashiers out there, slowing down their lines while you get your crap together is not going to endear you with them. Or with those customers behind you in line.
So, do yourself, and others a favor, and plan your shopping trips. Make a list per store, clip the coupons you need, and maybe even use a paperclip to keep the coupons organized. That will save you time, and money. And will also be very helpful to others.
Leaving a store without a rain check, when they are out of a product
I truly feel like few things irritate a couponer more, than an empty shelf when a product is at the best discount or sale price. Been there, done that.
When I first started using coupons, I got very annoyed by this. I always felt like the stores where being irresponsible, by not having enough stock on hand. Truth is, sometimes stores don’t realize how hot of a deal they are offering, and so are unprepared. To top this off, there is no way of knowing how many people will come snag the deal.
In those cases, your best bet is to ALWAYS grab a rain check, or as couponers call them, RCs. A rain check will always be your best friend when it comes to empty shelves. By requesting one, you will improve your chances of getting what you need, even if the sales cycle runs off.
Psst… If you are interested in saving money when you shop, go check out my post on the best apps, and websites that are free to join, and will help you save tons!
8 Common Mistakes Most Beginning Couponers Make
Have you been making any of these mistakes? Do you know of any other mistakes I might have missed? Please, share with us in the comment section below! Inquiring minds want to know 😉