I started couponing a few years back and I have made my fair share of mistakes and errors. Just like every other human endeavor, attaining professional couponing skills require careful practice and patience to really become part and parcel of you. You are bound to make those little mistakes here and there but be rest assured that if you learn from the best hands, you will be couponing to your satisfaction without any real issues. When I started couponing, I found myself on the wrong side of the table. I often ended up clipping one or two here and there, but I would either forget to apply for those in-app rebates that I meant to get afterward, or I didn’t even check the Cartwheel to see if there was an additional discount. Couponing well requires some practice, just like everything else in life. Along the way, I struggled often, but I learned a lot during a short period. And I’m happy to say after a couple of months, I mastered the nitty-gritty. If you are just starting out with couponing or feel like it’s not worth your time, I have pulled together a list of my most common couponing mistakes when I started and how I was able to get past them so you can avoid them too.
- Ignorance On The Stock Up Price Of Your Intended Items
Figure out key items that you need to regularly purchase, and keep a mental note (or a note on your phone) as to what a good stock up price for each is. That way, whether you are looking at a great bargain or not, you’ll learn easily. On sites such as Penny Pinchin Mom, Passion for Savings, you can easily find stock up price repositories, or build your own from a printable spreadsheet for the specific products you want to purchase.
- Trying To Get All The Sales Every Week At ALL The Supermarkets.
When I first started couponing, I had read that you should only start with 1 – 2 stores and build up. I tried with three and found myself running around town desperately trying to get offers. Even having a lot of adrenaline isn’t enough to stop wasting all the time your money and gas driving around. Plus, you will just end up wearing out and most likely give it up in no time. Start with one or two stores you visit and build up from there anyway.
- Not Aware Of The Sales Cycle Ends For Your Favorite Stores.
I also found it better to wait until the end of the sales week for more deals to be posted on the couponing websites by then. If I’m going to drag myself out of the house to shop, I’m going to make sure it’s worth my effort and that the sale is still going on. Most grocery stores restart their sales week on Thursdays and on Sunday stores like Target resets their sales week. Only double-check the flyers or online so you don’t rush to the store with your list and coupons in hand, only to find out yesterday’s sale had finished.
- Lack of Basic Understanding of The Coupon Policies For The Regular Stores.
It’s important to know and understand what the coupon policies are for each of the regular stores that you shop at since they can vary so greatly from store to store. You won’t know if your coupons or offers are being honored right, without understanding them. You can even find and print out a copy of the policy to have on hand so that you can politely reference it if you feel something is not being handled correctly.
Making The Purchase On A Credit Card That Isn’t Paid Off.
There is NO point in couponing and searching for sales if you are just going to slap that purchase on a credit card, and not pay it off in full before it’s due. Striking a great deal does not mean anything when you pay interest on it for months. Work on buying the only the essentials as needed until you have paid off that credit card, or tidied up your budget to make room for a stockpile line item.
- Don’t Use Store Apps To Search And Use Coupons Instead Of Printing Them.
A lot of store apps are beginning to let you save coupons to your account so you no longer have to print them out. For instance, Target lets you save coupons from the manufacturer to your Cartwheel (now Target) app. This saves ink, paper, and a lot of precious time looking for coupons and printing them.
- Not Checking If The Refund Is Still Available Before Payment.
With rebate apps like ibotta and Checkout51, rebates are often limited to how many can be claimed. I have made the mistake of waiting to purchase, and then as soon as I went to submit my claim, that rebate was gone. In-app rebates also have an expiry date, so make sure you meet those deadlines by sending them as soon as you get home from shopping.
- Buying Things You Don’t Need Because they are On Sale And You Have A Coupon.
Even if the deal is a moneymaker, don’t buy it if you don’t need it. Unless you are planning on giving it out, it’s wasteful to get something and let it sit on your shelf, only to throw it out later once it’s expired. Not to mention you have also wasted your time, gas, and energy running out to get that item as well. Leave it for someone else who truly needs it. There will be another great deal out there that you need; you don’t have to be overzealous.
The reason we are here is to guide you as a coupon so that you can minimize the mistakes and errors become a professional in no time. Take note that there is never a perfect combination to become a pro in couponing. Just pick the best combinations that suit you and be on your way saving some money for yourself on your groceries.