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Couponholics Anonymous

 

My name is Danielle and I have a problem.

I hate seeing my coupons go to waste.  

The other day I went to Walgreens intending to JUST get something to drink.  On my way through, I saw that Garnier Fructis was 4/$14 with $4 Register Rewards, making it 4/$10…AND I had coupons for $1 off of each of the 4, so it was really 4/$6.  That’s $1.50 each.  Decent dea since it’s a brand I like and use regularly, right?  But I already have plenty of shampoo and conditioner at home to last through the rest of the year.  I still got it.  Guess what? I spent $6 I hadn’t planned on spending. Sure that’s not too expensive but it can add up when you keep doing this!

 

Have you done this?  I know we are all guilty of it.  I am not talking about hoarding or even minor stockpiling.  I am talking about even going to the gas station to get a soda and you see that they are just a little cheaper each if you buy two, so you buy both instead of only the one you wanted.  Sometimes it is important to ignore those offers.  Take a moment to decide if it is worth it or not.

 

Ways to avoid spending extra:
 

  1. Make budget and shopping lists and stick to them.

    Plan out your shopping and coupons before you go.  Maybe give yourself $5-10 for extra things you may find on clearance that you really can’t pass up or may actually need, but for the most part, stick to your list.  If you are worried you may spend extra, leave your spare coupons at home.  Don’t just carry them around with you everywhere you go.

     

  2. Ignore “buy more, save more” ads.

    Think about if it is really worth it.  Do you really need that many?  Are you saving enough to justify buying more?

     

  3. You don’t HAVE to use all coupons.

    They don’t have to go to waste though.  Give them away to someone who actually needs the product, or even leave them on the shelf in front of that product.  Military families can use coupons expired up to 6 months and there are organizations that will take care of sending them if you don’t personally know any military families.  Or you can just stick your expired coupons in the recycle bin.
     

  4. Look through your basket before you check out.

    Decide what you really do and don’t need.  Are you are getting it JUST because you have a coupon and it’s on sale for an ok price?  Or is it something you really will use?  Remember, coupons and sales have a tendency to roll back around.  

     

     

Couponing: How to get started

I couponed a little in the past but it always seemed overwhelming and honestly, sort of scary!  I started by only using coupons I found on products in the store and using store coupons that were emailed to me.  By doing that, I saved a little here and there, but I had no idea much potential I had to save so much more!

First and foremost, it is important to understand what coupons the stores you shop at will and will not take. Most stores will accept manufacturer coupons (coupons provided by the product company either in print or on their websites) and store coupons (provided in their store ads, weekly/monthly coupon books, or on their website.)  Most stores will provide their coupon policy on their website.

A great starting point is the Sunday newspaper.  Here you will find the weekly store ads, store coupons, and even a variety of manufacturer coupons.  Look through the store ads and try to coordinate manufacturer coupons to use together with the store sales and store coupons. You can look ahead of time to see what coupons to expect in the newspaper by visiting Sunday Coupon Preview.

Another source of coupons is the internet.  Many company websites will have a special offers or promotions link, where you can find coupons that you can use at most stores.  You can also visit reputable coupon printing websites such as coupons.com or even redplum.com.  These websites often add new coupons weekly but be quick to print – the ‘good’ coupons always go fast and reach their print limit!

Now that you know of a few places to obtain coupons, you probably wonder how to organize them and figure out a system so you can keep track of what you have.  Personally, I keep the ones I am likely to use in a little index card sorter and carry them in my purse.  It snaps shut and has tabs so that I can organize by type of product.  If you have a lot of coupons, a coupon binder works well.  You can order special coupon sleeves which are similar to those that hold baseball cards.

 

A few things to remember:

  1. Check store coupon policies
  2. Look at the expiration date so you don’t miss out using it in time
  3. Try to combine coupons with sales
  4. Don’t get discouraged! A few cents here and there will add up quickly!!!
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