If you’re new to couponing, you’re probably very eager to get started! Before you do, you may want to prepare for some of these common couponing mistakes before you dive in.
1. Going Overboard
When you first begin couponing, it’s pretty easy to get sucked into the “game.” It is FUN after all! However, I recommend you don’t try to go to 6 stores every week or try to grab every single freebie. Trust me when I say, the deals WILL come around again.
Choose 2-3 of your favorites stores (for instance: 1 drug store, 1 grocery store, and 1 super store) and stick with just those. Also, try to limit your shopping trips to just once per week or only when you are already out and about near that store.
2. Spending Too Much Money
Anyone else see their spending INCREASE when they started couponing? While building up a stockpile could be the reason for it, you might also be buying more than you need. If you don’t need the item (or know someone specifically who does), don’t buy it – even if it’s an amazing deal! It will just clutter your home and drive up your grocery bill.
3. Spending Too Much Time
Spending hours and hours couponing is actually something I do NOT want to do! I try to limit my time couponing as much as possible. While I do enjoy the thrill of a good deal, I have to make sure my priorities are in order and that I’m not neglecting other responsibilities just so I can go grab another free razor.
4. Being Unorganized
Don’t you just hate when you discover a can of something in the back of your pantry that expired a year ago? It probably happens to most families, but with couponers, it is probably even more common. Having a stockpile of items means you have to be careful to rotate your goods (put newer items at the back and bring the older ones to the front) to avoid letting them expire. Wasted food is wasted time and money.
5. Junk Food
One pitfall of couponing is buying lots of junk food that you normally wouldn’t buy. While the coupons for junk food are more common than the coupons for healthy food, it doesn’t mean that’s what you have to buy. Don’t normally buy cookies? Don’t bother clipping the coupon for them!
6. Just Because You Have a Coupon…
This mistake is a doozy, and one of the most common reasons people believe they can’t save money with coupons. Just because you have a coupon, doesn’t mean you have to use it! If you don’t like/need the product, the item isn’t on sale, or the generic brand is cheaper, then you need to put the coupon down and step away slowly.
Please don’t clip all the coupons from the paper and try to use them right then. Hang on to your coupons for the right sale and then make your move.
7. Not Using Stockpile
Stockpiles are pretty to look at but they aren’t meant to be home decor. They are there to be used! Sometimes we work so hard to build them up that it can make us sad to see some of the stockpile being used. Well, that’s what it’s there for. Go ahead and let your husband take a bottle of mouthwash off the shelf. You’ll thank me later.
8. Clearing Shelves
Trying to build your stockpile can be quite a bit of work. It takes time. Sometimes we get in a hurry and want to see a nice supply of shampoo in our closet right now. It can be tempting to clear the shelves of every bottle of Herbal Essences when it goes on sale – and at every store within a 50 mile radius. However, others who shop there are trying to build their stockpile too (or maybe they are out of shampoo and are just needing to pick up a bottle). Take the amount you need but be courteous toward other shoppers and don’t clear the shelves.
9. Trying to Get EVERY Deal
It can be hard to pass up a deal. The savings are fun and you like a pretty stockpile. But remember to ask yourself these questions before you buy: “Does my family or someone I know specifically need it? Do I already have an abundance in my stockpile? Do I have room in my grocery budget to buy it?” Asking these questions first will help you determine whether you need it or if you’re just wanting to grab another great deal just for the thrill.
10. High Expectations
I frequently get emails from people who are so disappointed that they only saved 49% on their grocery bill. Yes, upset about it! While saving 99% is certainly possible, it’s not going to happen on every single shopping trip. It’s important to set realistic savings goals and remember that even saving a $1 here and there is still saving money.
I hope these tips do not discourage you from couponing. I think pretty much every couponer (myself included!) has made one or more of these mistakes! Hopefully by reading this, you can learn from our mistakes and start your couponing journey with realistic expectations.
What do you think? Are these mistakes accurate? Did I forget any?