Top Couponing Mistakes: 10 things NOT To Do
Are you new to couponing? If you are, there is a tendency to get worked up as mentioned by most. It is rewarding to witness the efforts of your clipping and printing of coupons pay off at the checkout. However, are you really utilizing your time and money efficiently? In this article, we will be sharing with you 10 couponing mistakes amateurs make that you should avoid!
1. Buying more than you need
If you see your spending increase after you start couponing, you are likely to be buying more than you need. These coupons are meant to help reduce your expenses on your regular shopping agenda rather than the opposite. It is customer psychology to buy more with coupons hence companies use these to increase sales.
Limit your shopping trips to just once a week where you buy everything you need from the grocer or drug store. This reduces your urge to spend with the additional coupons you have.
2. Lack of organization
This applies when you have a stash of coupons piled up from the week. Collate and store all your coupons in a folder for easy access and separate them according to store. Check what items you already have at home that is abundant and what needs to be refilled. You will end up spending more when you keep buying the items you thought you do not have at home, only to end up piling them up.
These perishables or consumables eventually expire if you leave them alone for too long, and you end up throwing them away which is more wasteful than savvy!
3. Not understanding the coupon policies
Read the terms and conditions stated for each coupon before using them. Most times, if a coupon can’t be scanned, you will be told that it probably doesn’t work, or it has expired. However, if you are clear of each coupon’s policies, let the clerk know to make a call to their manager for help. This prevents your hard work of cutting the coupons from going to waste.
4. Not planning ahead of time
Draft up a shopping list before you head out. This prevents you from spending more than you need when a product catches your eye. This saves you both time and money from slowly browsing through the aisles. It also ensures that you stick to your budget, allowing you to plan your finances ahead of time.
5. Trying to get every deal and clearing shelves
The whole point of couponing is to save money, so just get the cheaper alternative! Even if you have a coupon, it doesn’t mean that you must use it. If the generic brand is cheaper, just keep your coupons for another time and move on.
Clearing shelves is inconsiderate especially when there is a sale. Courtesy towards other shoppers should also be observed so just take what you need and leave others some.
6. Dishonest usage of coupons
Ever since the airing of the show “Extreme Couponing”, various policies and restrictions have been put in place to protect companies from people who try to mimic what they see. This has led to many shoppers going against their integrity and honesty in the midst of getting the “good deal”. However, keep in mind that arguing over an expired coupon or unfulfilled term won't make you look good.
7. Forgetting your rebates
Don’t be lazy! Some items offer rebates with your purchase. But to get the cash back, you need to send in your receipt and purchase details, etc. Don’t forget or procrastinate and push it off till it slips away from your mind. As they say, “Out of sight, Out of mind.” Keep the item or receipt within sight to remind you of the rebate filing when you get home.
8. Purchasing items that are not on your list
Clearance racks are the culprits. Most people head to the clearance racks once they enter a store. This will lead to impulse buying when you see that the item is on sale or very cheap. If you don’t want to add on to the out-of-pocket expenses you may incur, then stick to your shopping list!
Most deals end up with you buying unhealthy items because all the snacks would appear cheap and discounted. This tempts you into purchasing them and when they sit at home in your food shelf, your tendency to snack will increase. This leads to the vicious cycle of snacking and a poor diet so watch out for this trap!
9. Forgetting to bring your coupons
This is the worst mistake to deal with after making the trip to the mall or the stores. Imagine walking in and finding many items on sale, only to realize that you have the coupons at home. If only you remembered bringing your coupons, you could have gotten these items at amazingly low prices.
A suggestion would be to put your coupon folder near the door for grab-and-go. Make it easily accessible and eye-catching so that you won’t forget them anymore!
10. Stocking on the wrong things at the wrong time
Inefficient stocking of items is very common when you start out with couponing. A few months in, analyze your expenses and the amount of time you are spending on sourcing for coupons.
Make a list of some of the items your household uses each season and ensure that they are well stocked in time for each season. Stocking them in season will of course mean that the prices of these products will be way higher than when it is off season. Prepare beforehand, and you’ll notice the savings in the long run.
Couponing can be addictive. However, keep your expectations low when it comes to cutting down on more than half of your usual grocery bills. Every couponer has definitely made some of these mistakes but don’t let them discourage you. Learn from your mistakes and apply them on your next shopping trip!