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Coupon Abbreviations
  • SC = Store Coupon
  • MC = Manufacturer Coupon
  • SS = Smart Source
  • RP = Red Plum
  • PG = Proctor and Gamble
Coupon Terms
  • WYB = When You Buy
  • B1G1 = Buy One Get One Free
  • .75/1 = 75 cents off one item
  • .75/3 = 75 cents off three items
  • EXP = Expiration Date

Going Nuts? I can help you understand coupon terms and abbreviations

Avoiding Coupon Burnout

on 9.9.2014 at 6:03pm
13 Comments

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How to Avoid Coupon Burnout

Coupon burnout can happen to anyone.  Whether you just started couponing or you’ve been using coupons for years, sometimes we get frustrated and we’re tempted to give up on clipping coupons.  It can be a lot of fun to get all of the best deals, but it also takes a lot of time and work. Your time is valuable and you can easily get stressed out when too much time is spent trying to get every single deal.

First, do any of these sound like you??

1.  The last time you bought something not on sale was over 2 weeks ago.

2.  You are craving a favorite food, but won’t get it because there is no good deal on it.

3.  You are spending every free minute scouring the web for deals.

4.  You make frequent trips to the store just to grab the latest free find.

If one of those struck home, you are not alone.  Most of us get very wrapped up in saving money.  There are limits though and we can’t be super savers on every trip.  To help you recover from burnout or to help stay focused on the point here a few tips.

Avoiding Coupon Burnout

1. Start Small. Many beginners get frustrated by jumping in too quickly. They will try to take on too much too soon. Before you do anything, you should read the getting started guide on Southern Savers. This will help you learn the ropes so you understand how things work.  Also my favorite quote from I have no clue who… “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”  You are doing great if you are saving anything.

2.  It’s okay to spend money on the things you need. Really.  If you have to repeat that to yourself every time you head into a store, then make it your mantra.  Buy things if you need them.  Try to work in your family’s requests.  If you don’t, its possible that this will ultimately lead to frustration.

3.  Work room for a splurge into your budgetIf you are going into the store and saving 60% on your groceries then you probably can handle that $3 splurge item.  Yes, it has no coupon and is not on sale, but that little splurge is really helping you stay grounded.  If you never splurge then you will grow resentful of the coupons and the sales.

4.  Remember most of your savings come from the sale price, not the coupon. Yes, you read that right.  When I go in and get a $5 box of cereal for $1, over 60% off the savings was because I bought the item at it’s lowest price, NOT because I used a coupon.

If you are ready to give up on coupons, then do it.  Take a break from cutting, sorting, and gathering.   This week instead of gathering coupons you could just make a shopping list from the items on sale.  Skip the coupons and you will still save over 50%.

5.  Limit your internet time. Spending 4 hours surfing for the best deals seems fun in the beginning but eventually it is not worth your time.  In the end you will either be exhausted and overwhelmed by the things that aren’t getting done around you, or you will go crazy feeling like you need to get every possible deal at the store.  Remember that your time has a value too, so focus on saving money efficiently.

6.  It’s okay to miss a deal. If someone finds a crazy deal on detergent for 25 cents but you have 5 bottles, do you really need to run out for it??  Remember that all sales run on cycles.  If pickles are 9 cents at the store this week, it’s not the last time pickles are ever going to go on sale.  Making a daily trip to the store to get the latest reported deal isn’t really saving you time or money.  Grab the deals you know about when you are out and only go back for the latest find if you were headed there anyway.

7.  It’s okay to only shop at one grocery store. Everything comes on sale at every store.  Stock up, then there is no need to feel like you have to hit 4 different stores in the same week.  If you wait a few more weeks, those items will come on sale at the store that you frequent the most.

8. Keep your goal in mind.You need to remember why you are couponing. Whether you are using the extra money to save for something or just want to feed your family, your goal is important. Don’t focus on the number at the bottom of the receipt but focus on whether you are accomplishing your purpose for saving.  As long as you are meeting your goal it doesn’t matter whether you are saving 60% or 45%.

Our story:  We got started out of a need to pay off a large bill.  Now that we have covered that expense we coupon to put money in savings each month.  Our weekly grocery budget is small, but it still has wiggle room for things we like.  If I have extra money in the food budget at the end of the month, to help not get fatigued with coupons, it is not put into savings, instead that extra food money is put back into groceries getting things that we love but that aren’t on sale.

Here are a couple more ways to help keep you from getting burned out:

Cutting 50% of Your Grocery Budget Without Cutting Coupons

How to Coupon in 45 Minutes (or less) A Week

Learn more about frugal living.

    • kcreviews

      I definitely have suffered from coupon burnout. After this stage, I got to where I almost didn’t care anymore. I was tired of running around, of spending so much time. But after a while I got back into the swing of things, in moderation.

      My complaint now is that it seems like the stores aren’t giving the good sales like they used to a few years ago. I can’t come home with a bag full of great deals anymore. Seems they are few and far between–prices have gone up. Or maybe I’m not looking as hard anymore?

      • bacapel

        I feel the same. I’m in a burnout now. I got behind and haven’t caught back up. Also, seems like here lately deals are no where near as good. Things have definitely went up! Like prices on meat for example are outrageous!

        • Court

          I had to slow down as well. It was worth running all around for a couple of sales. Now I try to find the best deals when I need to shop. I also had to start buying meat at the farmer’s market because it was ridiculous in the stores. Feeding a family of 6 is not easy when ground beef is 4.99 lb.
          All in all, I am glad I took the time to learn how to coupon.

    • Lucieus Maltern

      I gave up on CVS/Walgreens… just too complicated… counting items; counting coupons; purchase combinations that didn’t work for me; return trips required to realize savings; … just not worth the extra buck. Publix only for me.

      • Tara

        I agree Lucieus – I had to give up CVS, too many trips, counting items, etc.

        • Brandon

          Agree as well. You put an hour into crafting transactions for it all to be torpedoed by one item being out of stock.
          I’ll do CVS on occasion if there is a great deal, but otherwise, I give up. Besides, for me as a male, after just a week or two of doing it, I have everything I need for so long that my ECB will just expire.

    • Kelley Putnam Edwards

      I love couponing but am frustrated by the gift card scams. For example the SmartMustHaves: My photos of my receipts were rejected and I know they were taken correctly. I am no longer falling for these. They are way too subjective and downright deception. PS The “Contact Us” link didn’t work on their site….surprise, surprise!

    • Mindy Ramski

      What a good weekly budget for a family of four? I struggle knowing if I am really saving alot or im not doing my couponing correctly.

    • Chuck

      I’ve been working the coupon thing for about 2 months now. One thing I did right from the very beginning is make a written price list at Aldi’s and Walmart for all the items we use on a regular basis. Yes, I actually walked around with pen and paper and wrote down price, size, quantity, etc. of EVERY single item we use. What I have found is that even with a “sale” price and a coupon, the comparable item in Aldi’s is still cheaper, so I don’t “print, drive, find, pay, haggle over coupon” just to buy one item in a different store. I can tell you, if you ONLY follow the suggestions on this website, and don’t try to do the work yourself, you can and will save money, and you can and will not work yourself to death!

      • Chuck

        A good example was last week I saw Van Camp’s pork and beans were 2/$1 at a couple of different places. Super price, right? Well, Aldi’s everyday price on their brand of pork and beans is just 49 cents. That little bit of info saved me from printing coupons, driving to two different stores, and buying a bunch of cans of something I can get cheaper any time I NEED it…

    • Kelli

      I’m starting to get burned out. I’ve only been couponing a little over a month. In the beginning (I know I’m still in the beginning. Lol) I felt I HAD to get ever deal I saw. Running from store to store after every deal :( Now I’m sitting here planning for next week. Two hours trying to get my transactions right for ONE store. And I still have a crap load of q’s that need to be organized. I just got frustrated and threw them in bag. I kind of feel in over my head trying to organize. I dont want to get behind because I know it’s hard to catch back up.

      • Brandon

        I have mostly given up on CVS because of this. Planning transactions is a headache, and I ended up letting $3 in ECB expire because there just really was not anything on sale the next few weeks that I needed.
        I’ll do the work if there is a super deal that allows me to use up all of my ECB in the same trip, but otherwise, it’s not usually worth the hassle.

    • Kelli

      I’m starting to get burned out. I’ve only been couponing a little over a month. In the beginning (I know I’m still in the beginning. Lol) I felt I HAD to get ever deal I saw. Running from store to store after every deal :( Now I’m sitting here planning for next week. Two hours trying to get my transactions right for ONE store. And I still have a crap load of q’s that need to be organized. I just got frustrated and threw them in bag. I kind of feel in over my head trying to organize. I dont want to get behind because I know it’s hard to catch back up.