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After teaching thousands of people how to coupon, I can say first hand that the NUMBER ONE reason I see people FAIL is by treating couponing like a RACE instead of like a JOURNEY.
Mistakes New Couponers Make That Leads to Failure (And how to avoid them) This is long, but trust me.. It’s worth reading the whole thing. Let me know your opinions in the comments!
1. Trying to get EVERY deal that is posted
– 99% of deals come back around ALL the time. Trying to chase EVERY deal is the quickest way to BURN OUT. Start with a couple deals every week for items your family uses and work up to getting more deals.
2. Trying to Coupon at ALL the stores right away. Anyone can copy a deal they see and get a good deal once or twice. COUPONING means LEARNING how to find those deals, understanding how they work. Trying to FULLY learn and understand the rules of more than one or two stores at once is like trying to learn a year’s worth of college material in one month. It’s going to confuse and overwhelm you. Couponing should be learned in bite size portions. Pick one or two stores to start out with. Learn their coupon policy, read the matchups each week and make a list based on the coupon you have available. When you feel like you have MASTERED those two stores, THEN add on another store and repeat the process.
3. NOT having an organizing system in place. Without SOME type of system in place, you are 98% MORE likely to get completely overwhelmed. You’re going to end up with ALOT of coupons.. You need a system in place.
4. Buying items your family WON’T use just because they were cheap. I can’t tell you how many. Even spending $5 on a REALLY INSANE deal that your family WON’T use is just is still wasting money and defeating the whole purpose.
5. Getting discouraged when your plan doesn’t go EXACTLY the way you planned – Nothing is more discouraging that an item out of stock, but take it from someone that has been doing this for over 15 years now.. This is just part of the whole couponing experience. There are roughly 3-5 AWESOME deals per store each week. You may not realize it, but there’s probably atleast 100 other couponers that shop at YOUR store.. So that’s 100 people going for the same 3-5 deals every week, and unless your store has an endless amount of stock.. The majority of them WON’T get the deal. The best way to ensure you’ll get the majority of the deals you want is by going the first day of the sale. When I make my list for the week, I make a SECOND list as well of “Back Up” deals that I can quickly substitute if I run into any stock issues with my main list.
6. Using coupons just because you have them – Don’t be in a rush to use all your coupons. Manufacture’s aren’t stupid.. They rarely release coupons the same week that they can pair up with an AMAZING deal. You’ll come to notice ALOT of the time an awesome sale will pop up, and the higher value coupon that MATCHES it will expire the day before the sale starts, or will COME OUT the day after the sale ends. This is intentional. Most of the best deals you’ll be able to get with your coupons won’t happen the first week you get them. SAVE your coupons and ONLY use them when you can stack them with a store sale. For Example.. You have a $1 off coupon for Airwick. You can use that coupon ASAP and save $1 OR you can wait until that air wick goes on sale, has a matching store coupon, has a store rewards deal attached to it, and/or has some mobile app rebates for the item. Or even better, all of the above (IT happens ALOT!)
7. Settings an UNREALISTIC Savings goal – Everyone’s goal is always to save 90% or more when they first start, and while you might be able to accomplish that on a couple deals, the REAL goal should be for OVERALL savings, and should be realistic. Even if you only save 60-70% on your trips your first week, that’s STILL savings and WILL get better. Setting a realistic savings goal will keep you from getting discouraged.
8. NOT setting a couponing budget – Until you have a decent stockpile built up, it’s safe to say the majority of your purchases your first couple of months WON’T be coupon purchases. Set a budget each week for the money you want to put towards building you stockpile and STICK TO IT. Stick to cash if you can.. people are 100% more likely to overspend using a card than they are with a set cash budget. After a few weeks your stock pile will start growing, your wallet will have more money in it and THEN You’ll start REALLY noticing the difference in your budget. If you’ve ever start thinking that couponing is TOO expensive for you.. you’re not doing it right and it’s time to re-check your couponing budget.
*NEW* 9. Being in a RUSH to have a HUGE stockpile – Yeah, stockpiles look awesome, but the point of a stockpile ISN’T to have a crazy amount of couponed items.. the POINT is to stock those items when they are their ROCK BOTTOM price. After 15 years of doing this, I can 100% honestly say that there are MAYBE 2-3 deals every WEEK that are insane crazy STOCK UP deals.. There’s some great deals, and definitely some awesome deals.. but only a FEW each week that are truly dirt cheap enough for me to confidently grab a 6 month supply without worrying that i’m going to see it go on sale for cheaper the next week. When I see someone that’s only been doing this for a month showing off a whole room or a whole closet stockpile SO soon, the only thing I can think is.. they probably paid WAY too much for that. If it’s a great deal, get yourself the deal for NOW. If it’s an awesome deal, get yourself enough to last you a month or so. If it’s ROCK BOTTOM, dirt cheap.. THEN stock STOCK STOCK!