Just thought I'd share some things that I've learned along my "couponing" journey.
1 - Another deal always comes along. Don't worry if you miss out on a great deal because, chances are, another one is right around the corner. Many of the store sales are on cycles and they will show up again. You'll get the next one!
2 - Couponing takes time and lots of work. There are times that I get so sick of shopping for deals (crazy, I know), that I just stop for awhile. I take a look at the deals each week and if something catches my attention, then that's usually what gets me back in the game. I keep enough of a supply on hand that if I don't shop for a few weeks, we'll be okay.
3 - Buying every deal that comes along can hurt you. When I first started couponing, I would buy up everything that I could get my hands on that was a good deal. Well, in the last couple of months, I've had to throw out a bunch of food that had gone rancid. Was that money well spent (or money saved)?? No, just money down the drain.
4 - It pays to do a little searching before you buy. Buying anything, that is. We are in the market for cable (my husband is so excited) and I've done quite a bit of searching for the best deal. And I have found a ton of information out there that will cut our bill drastically. A couple of hours on the internet will save us a couple hundred dollars for the first year. I consider that money made! If you ever need help finding a deal, let me know and I will do all I can.
5 - Menu planning saves money. I hate deciding what to have for dinner! It is the worst part of the day. Too often, my husband will get home from work and the girls and I are ready and waiting to go somewhere for dinner. So I've started planning our meals each week. On Sundays, I think about what we have and what we need to use and a menu is born. Of course, there are days that I don't stick to it, but it really has helped. We save money by not eating out and by not running to the store for those last minute foods.
6 - Many times you have to act quick to get the great deal. Not a lot of time for mulling it over and thinking about it. If it's a purchase that I was going to make anyway and I find a great deal, then I jump. If it's not a high priced item, then I go for it. If it's something that I really need to think about and consult with my husband about, then I wait. And if the deal is still there, great. But if not, another deal will come along.
7 - Organization is key. Unfortunately, as I type this, my coupon inserts sit in stacks on the kitchen table. I was preparing for my Walgreens trip this week and I spent over an hour looking for 2 specific coupons... If I had taken the time to organize them, this would have taken seconds. There is no right or wrong method to organizing. Do whatever works for you! My goal is to set aside a time each week to cut and organize those coupons. I think it would be so fun to have "coupon cutting" parties. Get a bunch of us together, let the kids play downstairs, and just cut away. It sure would make organizing so much more fun!
8 - I never realized I could get such a rush from saving money!! My heart just goes crazy as I'm checking out and watching my total dip lower and lower. I've been known to do a little dance in the aisle when I find an awesome deal! And it's so nice to know that I'm not the only one... :-)
9 - If you aren't careful, those good deals can cause you to spend more money than you think. How many of you have said, "I HAVE to get it because it's such a good deal!"? One of the greatest things I've learned is that it's okay to walk away from a good deal. I can't even begin to tell you how many times a "great deal" has arrived in the mail or followed me home from the store and I realize that I don't need it, want it, have room to store it, or have any idea what I'm going to do with it... Ask yourself these things before you buy. It sure saves on returns...