Are You Ready to Save Money?
While there have always been coupon mavens, extreme couponing took off when The Learning Channel debuted it’s show of the same name back in April 2011. It had aired a one-time special back in December 2010, and it was a hit.
Viewers tried to replicate the success that these men and women on the program had, but many failed to save the 90% or more these coupon addicts did. While some used less than ethical tactics (dumpster diving, using coupons inappropriately) to garnet their savings, others simply couponer the same hours as a full time job.
It is easy to get excited over saving extra money on the food and household products you would normally buy. There are common mistakes made by those who are new to extreme couponing, but they are easy to avoid once you learn the ropes.
Extreme Couponing Mistake #1
Printing Every Coupon You See
For couponers, the first day of the month is an exciting one, as new printable coupons are loaded onto the various coupon websites. Those new to printing for saving tend to print every single coupon available. This is a mistake for several reasons.
First, it is a waste of paper and ink. Don’t print something simply because there may be a deal sometime in the next 30 days. Second, most printable coupons only have a 30 day shelf life and then they are expired. A deal might appear at the beginning of the next month, but since you printed the coupon on the first, it will be expired. Print the ones you know you will use when they appear and then wait to print the rest as you get see the deals.
Some Experts Share their Knowledge
A Book for People Who Want to Save Money and Have a Life Outside the Grocery Store
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Newbie Mistake #2
Starting Too BigCredit: www.morguefile.com
People who shop with large amounts of coupons did not start out that way. They slowly learned the skills that you see displayed on television. Whether the read online forums on saving money, books, or magazine articles, they built their knowledge of how to shop for free along with their stockpile.
If you want to save, start with one store. Learn their policies and match up their deals one week at a time. Find a website that will show you the deals and match them up for you, thus saving you time hunting for every sale and coupon match up.
Be prepared to spend an hour or more for each shopping list that you make.
Newbie Mistake #3
Running Around Like a Chicken to Get the Deals
If you live and breathe coupons because it is your job, then you must have time to run around to seven Walgreens to get the deal on shampoo. For the rest of us, finding time to go to a store to get the savings is more of a challenge.
One thing that has worked for me is to pick a day and plan my route for savings. Because I live in a suburban area with every store imaginable in my town, it is easy for me to go to four stores in under an hour. I typically do this first thing in the morning after I drop my kids off at school, when the stores are restocked and there are no crowds.
Jill Cataldo is a Legit Expert in This Field
Extreme Couponing Mistake #4
Beating Yourself Up Because You Cannot Get All of the Deals
You know that great deal on razors that you ran to the store to get, only to find the shelves empty? Other people read about it, too! This is especially hard for couponers to take when it is the end of the month and the coupon that would make the deal sweet is set to expire. Just get a raincheck and hope that another high value coupon will be available.
There will always be more deals to get in the future.
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Newbie Mistake #5
Lack of Organization
In order for couponing to work for you, organization is essential. Valuable time is wasted if you lose or misplace that four dollar coupon off of your favorite laundry detergent.
Some couponers use binders, others us boxes. Find a system that works for you and stick with it. I use large two boxes and have each section alphabetized with the items I use most frequently.
This is What I Use for My Coupons
I use two of them.
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Couponing Mistake #6
Not Knowing the Store's Policy
Unlike the television show, where many grocery stores bent the couponing rules for free airtime, this is not the case in real life. Every store has it’s own policy, and it is up to you as the consumer to know what it is. Even the cashiers who work there may not know all of the fine details. Therefore, it is in your best interest to print out a copy of it at home, become acquainted with it, and have it in your binder and box to pull out if it is necessary. Knowledge is power (and savings!).
Couponing Mistake #7
Not Having Your Coupons With You
Can you save money if your coupon binder is left at home? Of course not! I keep my coupon boxes in a reusable bag in my car at all times. When I am running errands and not on a couponing trip, I still bring in my boxes in case there is an unexpected deal. I always shop the endcaps at Target, Walmart, CVS and Walgreens, because I can maximize my savings if the sale item also has a matching coupon.
Using these strategies, you can start saving money with coupons in a more efficient manner.