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I often get e-mails from users who feel frustrated in the beginning because they don’t feel like their savings are adding up. It does take a completely new way of shopping to see the real savings, which can be a difficult adjustment for some at first.
Here are some of the top hurdles that hinder saving and how to overcome them.
You must give up your brand loyalties in order to save. If your family prefers one brand of cookies, shampoo, lunch meat, etc. it makes it harder to save. The brand you love may not go on sale anytime soon, but another brand will. The key to being able to save is to be willing to buy the brand that is on sale.
For example, you may love John Frieda shampoo, but if Herbal Essence is 74¢ after a coupon, then try to buy the Herbal Essence. Whenever the brand you love does go on sale, stock up. If you can’t handle switching brands, that’s your call but it is cost that you need to realize.
Not Stocking Up Enough
You need to buy enough to last your family for 6-8 weeks when something is on sale. If you run out before it goes on sale again, you will have to pay more.
For this to work, you have to get out of the mindset of how much you will need that week. This can cost more in the beginning when you are stocking up and buying what you need. You will get to where you do not need to pay full price for anything though, and the savings will really start to add up then.
Only Processed Foods Go On Sale
While many processed foods do go on sale, whole foods also go on sale. Everything in the grocery store will go on sale at some point and when it does, you should stock up.
There may not be as many coupons for the items you are buying, but you will still save a lot buy buying the meat, produce, beans, etc. that are on sale.
If you are organized and use Southern Savers, it should only take you around 45 minutes to get ready to go shopping. You only need to shop 1 or 2 grocery stores and 1 drug store. When extra deals pop up, you do not need to run out and get all of them.
If I’m in a hurry I will set a timer for 30-45 minutes. When the timer goes off I leave and go shopping, even if I don’t have all of my coupons ready. It can be painful to miss out on savings, but remember that your time is valuable. Every now and then if I do a huge stock up trip it will take longer, but for most trips, 45 minutes is plenty.
Lack of Coupons
If you live in an area that doesn’t have good newspaper inserts or if you don’t have a printer, it can be harder to get coupons. If you are committed, you can buy coupons online.
You aren’t going to be able to feed your whole family for $4 a week. No matter what people on TV do, in real life, it isn’t going to happen. The goal is to save at least 40%.
In real life, we need meat, produce, milk, bread, etc. and though they go on sale, they are very rarely free. So expect to save, but don’t expect to eat for free every week.
What have been your top challenges to couponing?