Extreme Couponing Rules to Get You Started
Shopping; we've all been there. That day when your kids are screaming. That day when your spouse won't answer their phone as you're trying to remember what they had told you "not to forget." That day when all you're doing is checking out with a few coupons to help save a little money and all the person behind you can do is sigh, obviously, rolling their eyes and tapping their foot to let them know you're just holding up the line and what a cheap person you must be. Ugh. What could possibly make this horrible day better? The look on said person's face as they realize that you just got away with over $100 worth of groceries for one tenth of the price. It's amazing what a dollar can get you. So how do you arrive at this threshold? How does a person go to the store and cut 50% or more off their bill? I will beging to tell you here on three main points all first-time couponers should familiarize themselves with: narrowing your shopping scope, sense and sensibility, and common courtesy.
First, you will need the obvious: coupons. While there are several places to gather up coupon inserts or print them off at home (and likewise as many places to shop or coupon), it's wise to only stick with about three to begin with just for the sake of your own sanity. Starting out, your scope should be narrowed to just three stores or just three websites which will help you to begin to understand the innerworkings of couponing. While many people seem to think that it's just cutting coupons from your Sunday paper, many websites and couponers will tell you it is so much more than that. If you take on more than just a few stores to begin with you could be looking at pouring over sales ads and match ups as long as a person who works full-time... or worse, even longer. Many people see couponing as a full-time job, but it doesn't have to be. Think first about your own well-being and what you think you are capable of handling. If you're not interested in a particular store because you receive bad customer service there sometime in the past, then maybe it's best to take that store on again once you're more confident and more familiar with the policies and procedures there.
Secondly, always be sensible in what you buy or what you're looking to buy. You won't always catch all the sales, the freebies that week might be sold out, and you'll most definitely come across a more than a few complications when trying to use your coupons. Being sensible and keeping your cool is key. While most people have that coupon junkie adrenaline rush when seeing their total before coupons, just remember that in most cases you will be more educated than your cashier on what is and is not allowed. Remaining calm when couponing is also important so you don't miss anything. While you may not get all the sales all the time you should always remember that that's just fine. It's healthier if you can just breathe and let things go. In many cases the extreme aspect of couponing can get to people. There are lots of people that will snatch up literally hundreds of the same item without any intention of making a donation and keeping it all for their own stockpile. The best bit of advice that can be offered in this case is: if you don't have the room, don't buy it! Purchasing items you have no room in your home or stockpile foor is the worst thing you can do when it comes to couponing. Also, clearing shelves over one item in a store is just plain inconsiderate to not just other couponers, but other shoppers. You may soon find that you can order coupons in bulk from clipping services, but that doesn't mean you should snatch up everything in site.
Finally, common courtesy goes hand-in-hand with being sensible. Cleaning a store out of one product is absurd and insensitive. Think about the family that needs a first-aid item or cold medicine for their child only to find that the only store nearest them is sold out because that item was "free" this week with coupons. Poor kid. A few of each item with suffice. Better yet, leaving a few of that item behind for other shoppers is good, but donating the quantity of that item that you don't need to a local shelter is even better! It's important to remember that even though there are a lot of complaints about the economy and lay offs that everyone is in this world together and we should look after each other the best we can. If that means letting our families shop from our stockpiles, donating to troops overseas, or even just leaving a few coupons behind for someone else to enjoy then we should definitely be doing that. Couponing is a hobby to some and a way of life for others, but there is a way to take it too far. Remembering these three steps will help you to better understand where to begin when it comes to saving money and preparing for your family's future. Good luck!