I am, basically, a coupon failure. This always happens to me – I try to use coupons and it seems like it is going fine, and then I get into my coupon groove and suddenly I am spending way more than I ever intended to. Learn from my mistakes – here are five mistakes I’ve made and how not to make them yourself. Hopefully this week I can improve by heeding my own words.
1. Don’t buy things just because you have a coupon. This is common sense but I can’t repeat it enough. I start out with the best of intentions, but then I find myself clipping coupons for items I hardly ever buy, or for much more expensive name brands versus my usual store brand (and not amazing coupons, either). Twenty-five cents off an item that is generally $2 more than its generic equivalent will rarely do you any good.
2. Pair coupons with sales. There are websites such as Coupon Mom and The Grocery Game that do this for you if you are so inclined, and I may try one eventually. You can do this yourself as well by watching circulars and keeping all your coupons handy when you shop.
3. Read the coupons carefully and make sure you’re buying the correct item. Some coupons can be rather specific – and if you buy the 20 ounce item and the coupon is for the 15 ounce one, you are out of luck. or, like me, you can mix up brands – you can’t use a coupon for Pillsbury cake frosting on the Betty Crocker one that’s on sale, even if it was an honest mistake.
4. Don’t stock up it you can’t use it – or if you’ve already stocked up. There will always be another sale. Okay… almost always, at least. When you already have 8 tubes of toothpaste at home – think carefully about adding another. There is always more to buy! Endless stocking up defeats the purpose of saving money, because you will never spend less.
5. Don’t be afraid to walk away at the register. If you’ve misread a coupon, or the store won’t accept it for some reason, tell the cashier you don’t want the item. Don’t buy what you don’t want out of a sense of obligation or guilt.
Good luck with your couponing! And this week I vow to improve upon my $140 disaster last week. Everything may have been great buys, but seriously. There has to be a limit, and I have again reached mine.