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The third installment of the Coupon Commandments series. Learn the major guidelines of couponing to reach a state of savings Zen.
Coupon Commandment #3:
“Thou Shalt Forget Everything Thy Know About Shopping”
Your mom probably taught you about shopping. She probably learned from her mom. And chances are they were both wrong. Sorry Mom!
Like most of us, you were probably taught to buy the largest or “value” size of an item to get the best deal. Or maybe you were taught to only buy generic. I want you to forget both of these “rules” for shopping because they no longer apply to you!
The ONLY time I buy generic, is if I am in desperate need of an item, and I don’t have a coupon for it. And even then, I debate the actual necessity (probably a little more than I should).
As far as buying the larger size, when using coupons, this strategy can sabotage your savings. In most cases, you want to buy the smallest size of an item that your coupon will allow. This will get you the lowest out-of-pocket cost. Sure you will get less of the item, but coupons are cheaper and easier to come by than cash, so you can get more coupons for more product easily.
And perhaps the most important thing to remember about coupon shopping–you cannot go in unprepared. No longer will you have unplanned trips to the store for an “oops I forgot we needed (insert product here)” Those are the dangerous caverns of financial destruction. Don’t believe me? Remember the last time you ran to Target because you were out of toothpaste, and then came out with a receipt saying you bought $57 worth of lipsticks, toilet paper, and a squeaky toy for the dog? Yeah. And don’t forget how you stopped at Starbucks on the way out the door for a post-shopping trip latte. Those spontaneous saboteur trips add up quickly. When you shop with a plan, you will have not only your list of items, but also corresponding coupons and you will also have your total figured out down to the last penny. That way, there’s no surprises at the checkout, AND it will be easier to stick to your guns and turn down the impulse buys when you know exactly how it is going to affect your bottom line.
It is important to remember that when you first start out couponing (if you go at it full swing and start a stockpile) you will not build your stockpile over night. Nor should you. It should take you several months to build up a decent stockpile. You should buy extras of things that are free or a rock-bottom price that you know your family will use. You should buy enough of those items to last you until the next time that item goes on sale again. (Usually 12 weeks, but sometimes as long as 6 months).
But what if the items you need on your carefully planned out list are out of stock?? For example, yesterday for double coupon days at Rainbow I was counting on the Nivea deal to produce coupons for subsequent transactions and the store was completely out of all Nivea products. Then what should someone new to couponing do to handle the situation without ruining their bottom line? Thankfully I was able to modify my list quickly and had an arsenal of backup coupons with me but many might not. Something to think/blog about......
If you like to save money while still having fun, you're in the right place! Living on a budget doesn't have to suck.