I started couponing in January of 2011. I was gung-ho about it. I stocked up like crazy. We even installed shelving in the spare room closet. I won a gift certificate from Ace Hardware, and I wanted shelves. I spent so much money stocking up. I did get great deals, but you still have to spend money on those deals. I have dialed it way back, and while moving couponing has been put on hold. So here is what I’ve learned from 2+ years of couponing.
1. Focusing on getting a great deal all the time made me materialistic. I was always focused on buying things. I spent hours every day reading emails to find deals and places to sign up for free things. While its great to get a good deal, those deals shouldn’t be my main priority.
2. There will always be another sale and another coupon. Couponing made me feel like I would miss out if I didn’t get this deal right now. Sometimes I would scrape coins together to buy that great deal. Recently the word FOMO was added to the dictionary. It means the fear of missing out. Couponing plays into this. When getting great deals only get what you will use in the next 3 – 6 months because there will be the same kind of great deal within that time. And only buy food you normally eat. Even if the cookies are a great deal will you really eat them?
3. No matter how great the deal is, you should never be rude. Buying all the items on the shelf is rude. Blocking the isle so no one can get “your” good deal is rude. Fraudulent use of coupons is rude. Taking too long at the checkout while others are waiting is rude. Taking the entire pad of peelies or blinkies is rude.
4. To know the best price for key items you buy. I spent 6 months writing down the weekly price for about 20 items. I learned that the sale ads lie. It may be in the ad, but it may be the regular price. Know how much what the rock bottom price is, the ok price and the no way am I buying that price. And I learned that most things are at rock bottom price about every three months. Don’t be fooled. The Hardworking Husband and I priced prime rib roast before Christmas. It was $5.48/lb at regular price. A week later it was “on sale” for $5.48/lb. One thing I buy a lot of is Diet Pepsi. The HH loves it. (I know it’s terrible for him.) I know the rock bottom price is $2.50 for a 12 pack. Sometimes I can get it for a little cheaper, but not much. I know that $3 is an ok price and $4.50 is an only if I’m desperate to buy it. $4.50 is cheaper than him buying fountain drinks for $1+ each.
5. Coupons are available for foods that aren’t processed. They are just fewer. Use them when you get them. We have tried to eat less processed food. We have a few things we still eat because I can be lazy from time to time.
6. When you find the rock bottom price on meat STOCK UP! We have a large freezer. Most of what I freeze is meat. It’s much better to go to the freezer to get the meat you need for dinner than to go pay full price. It will save you more money than any other couponing technique.
I still coupon, but I balance it with menu planning. I stock up on things when they are a great deal, but I still buy a few things at regular price. I have found this to be the best for me and my budget. In our new house, we have a large food storage closet. I will be doing a little more stocking up since I have the room.
Great advice - I think you're right it only really makes sense if you combine with meal planning
Wednesday 18th of September 2013
My couponing goes in waves. Sometimes I get really into, but it's just too exhausting to keep up with all the time. I try to maintain a healthy balance with it. You brought up some great points. I have always been to lazy to keep a price book but every time I wonder if I'm getting a good deal I think darn- I really need that book! ;)
Friday 6th of September 2013
Thanks for linking up at Fidlin' Fridays! I will definitely be reading this a few times I really wanna be a better couponer!