Maybe you just started couponing or you have been couponing for a while or maybe you are just thinking about getting started. Wherever you are at in your couponing life, this post is for you! I’m talking about 5 Common Couponing Mistakes. These don’t even really have to do with the coupons and mistakes or errors you make when using them (and, we all do…including those who have been couponing for a long time). This is all about general couponing mistakes. Which one(s) have you done?
1. Becoming Addicted – Couponing is great for saving your family money and spending your resources wisely. However, it should not be the focus and center of your life. If you are avoiding time with family and friends or skipping out on doing things you love because you feel the need to “get the deal”, you may consider taking a step back. It’s very exciting to get things for FREE or really cheap, but there is a happy medium to having a balanced life. You have to be willing to miss a deal. Don’t worry – it will come around again! Read more about shopping the sales cycles.
2. Buying TOO Much – When you are making your purchases, do you think about where you are going to put it when you get home? If your stockpile is taking over your house or garage, you may need to cut back. I have two areas for my stockpile – one is a large walk-in closet area with shelves that also has a large cabinet with my Mary Kay inventory (yep, I’m a consultant) and a large cabinet with crafting supplies and puzzles for the boys. The other area is our guest bathroom closet which has all of our personal health care and toiletry items.
Not only do you need to think about where you are going to store your items, but you also need to think about expiration dates. If you buy 5 jars of mayonnaise or Miracle Whip, are you going to use it all before it expires? Can you tell this is an example straight from my stockpile closet? Only buy what you need or will use within a sale cycle.
3. Buying Items You Don’t Need or Won’t Use – Just because you can get a good deal on something (yes, even if it is free!), doesn’t mean you need to get it. If your family won’t use it, you can’t donate it or you don’t need it, do not get caught up in the thinking that you have to have it! If the first two are the case (won’t use it and can’t donate it), it just doesn’t make sense to buy it. You are just filling up space in your house and wasting your time and resources (gas!) for no reason. Now, if you don’t need it right now, but you know you will use it in the future (before it expires, if that is the case), it may not be a bad idea to get it. But, I wouldn’t make a special trip for something like that. Let the deal go, and get it next time!
4. Buying Name Brand Because You Have a Coupon – I love this one! You have to pay close attention in the stores. A lot of times, it is cheaper to buy a name brand product with a coupon and sale, but there are also times when the store brand is still cheaper. If you would normally buy the store brand if you didn’t have a coupon, make sure you compare the prices. (Side Note: When comparing prices, be sure you are comparing the price per unit.)
5. Spending More Money Than Normal – If your budget is $75 per week, and you are going over that every week to pick up items that are a “good deal”, stop. Yes, in the beginning, you may spend a little more than normal to build up your stockpile and do your normal shopping, but once your stockpile is established, you should be able to stick to a budget that was less than your original amount. Your grocery shopping will change. If you have a well-rounded stockpile, you will be eating out of it without needing to run to the store to create a meal.
I have done all of these to an extent. When I started couponing, it seemed like I had a lot more time to spend devoted to shopping so I would run from store to store to get the deals. I had more toothpaste than I knew what to do with. Thankfully, I realized it and made a nice donation to my church’s food pantry. I don’t recall even looking at store brands when I was in the store to use a coupon. And, yes, I spent more than I needed, too. There are still times I am tempted to pick up deals that I don’t really need to take advantage of, and I find myself re-thinking my purchases quite often.
So, what do you think? How are you doing? Let us know in the comments! We love to hear from you.
See more Couponing Tips and Tricks on Become A Coupon Queen!