Take Your Time!
If couponing were easy, everyone would do it. It takes LOTS of time, not only when you are looking for your deals and coupons, but also at the store.
My VERY FIRST couponing experience was pretty awful. I took all three of my children (ages 4 months, 2 and 3) which had me frazzled to start with. Then, many of the items I had on my list were cleared out by the time I got there, and had to scramble to find different deals in the ad and match them with my coupons. In the end, I had three seperate transactions I needed to do to get the most value for my money. As soon as I got to the register and started to put my things on the counter, my oldest two bolted in different directions. When I finally had them wrangled, I returned to the register, only to find the cashier had wrung up the ENTIRE basket, and my deal was shot. I was too timid to ask her to start over, so I walked out spending almost triple as to what I had planned on.
Here is what that AWFUL trip taught me about taking my time:
- If you have kiddos, see if your hubby/mom/friend/neighbor/etc. can watch them for an hour while you do your trip. It is easier to concentrate when you don't have to focus attention on the little ones. I use this as my Retail Therapy/Mommy alone time!
- Paper clip ALL the coupons you plan to use together before you go. I label the stack with a sticky note with the store they go to. That way, when I get there, I just go through my stack, get what I need and not feel rushed when it is time to pull my coupons out at the register.
- DON'T PANIC! 9 times out of 10, I have had to change my game plan at the store. Due to the high volume of couponers right now, the deals are selling out quick. This is one more reason I love having my binder with me. I can usually find another deal for about the same price. Feeling rushed just makes me make bad shopping decisions.
- Walk the aisles. It is amazing what you can find! Many deals are not advertised or you may find a product you love has a peelie or tag on it for a great deal! (Here is where that binder comes into play again!)
- Don't let the cashier change your game. They are there to ring up your order, so take your time and do it right for you. They get paid one way or another, you don't save money by rushing for their sake. On the other hand, if there is a line behind you, use good coupon ethics and let others go before you between transactions.
YES all of these things take TIME! But, if you are using couponing as a way to stay home or keep a budget, remind yourself that this is your job, be it full-time or part-time. Like most things, you will get out what you put in!