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Everyone I meet says they need to save more money, but most are quick to say that coupons aren’t something for them. The world of couponing feels like a sea of abbreviations and terms that sound like Greek, or for others, you see something that looks like math and you’re done!
It doesn’t have to be overwhelming or foreign. Today I’m going to share 5 simple tips for stress free couponing. I’m assuming that you already understand the basic concepts, but if you don’t, read the learn to coupon page first then come and apply these 5 tips to get started with the least amount of stress!
5 Simple Tips for Stress Free Couponing
Don’t cut your coupons
As you get started, you may run into people who have a large binder (or multiple binders) of clipped coupons. While this can help people feel they are saving more money, it also VERY time consuming. When you are just starting out, going that intense will only make you more frustrated.
Instead of cutting everything, try taking the inserts from the Sunday paper and filing them by the date in an accordion file. Then when you pull up your list of deals for the week, cut only the coupons that you will need that week. For example, if you see SS 1/05 at the end of a coupon, this means the coupon was in the Smart Source newspaper insert on January 5th.
Another option is to focus on mobile coupons. You can get great deals at a grocery store like Kroger, for instance, without cutting a single coupon. (And check out our list of receipt scanning apps to save even more money while shopping!)
Pick one store where you’ll shop
There is no need to run all over town getting every deal you see at every store. If you wait, you will see many of the same deals at the store you shop at. Grab what is on sale at your store this week and head home proud of your savings rather than frantic from a day of shopping.
It’s okay to not use a coupon
One the most frustrating things for folks is when they see a coupon on the shopping list but they don’t have it. Because coupon inserts vary by region, you will never have all the coupons. It is better to buy something on sale without a coupon than it is to pay full price. Disregard the coupons you don’t have and shop away.
Everything does go on sale
The number one excuse folks give me as to why they don’t coupon is, “The things I buy never go on sale.” This isn’t true—everything goes on sale! It may not be a wowing BOGO sale, but your favorite items do have a period during which they are marked down. Start watching sales and you will eventually learn what a good price for your item is. For some items, don’t be afraid to think outside the box. We buy some gluten-free foods on Amazon because their prices for a bulk size package almost always beat the grocery store sale price.
Drop brand loyalties
If you don’t agree with the principle that everything goes on sale, then I promise you will save more money if you are willing to change up a few brands. There are a few brands that will never hit the sale prices of others in the same category. It doesn’t hurt to try a few others if you can get them for a fraction of the cost. Being content with a few different brands will also decrease the amount you need to stock up on, since you will see more frequent deals.
Hopefully these can help take away the stress that can be associated with couponing. Remember that anything you do to save money is better than saving nothing at all. Even if you aren’t up for being a “couponer” yet, at least start small and save something!
Do you have any tips for stress free couponing? Let us know in the comments!