I’ve been couponing for a few years now. I have some great couponing tips to help you prevent common newbie mistakes. I will be the first to admit that I’ve made some mistakes along the way. There are some mistakes you will need to make to learn. However, there are other mistakes that I can teach you to avoid. Hopefully, my personal experience and observations of others can help. Before you know it you will embark on your journey from newbie to seasoned couponer with these couponing tips.
Let’s be realistic here. It’s just not possible or practical to do every single deal that comes along. It may take some time, but with experience, you will learn which deals are worth it and which are not.
If you are not brand loyal, there are always going to deals on things like personal care items. Things like shampoo and deodorant or household products like laundry detergent and dish soap. In the beginning 50¢ for a bottle of shampoo might seem like a great deal. However, you will soon realize how often you can free hair care products. Then you will become what I like to call “coupon cheap.” You will get to a point where you completely stocked. Then that 50¢ is better spent elsewhere or tucked away for a rainy day.
Sometimes you will see a deal, and it’s not something you are in dire need of. However, before you grab your coupons and run to the store, ask yourself a few questions:
Do I need this? If I don’t need this, can I donate it or give it to a friend or family member? Do I have the space to store this? Is this worth my time/gas/money to make the trip to the store? If your answer to any one of these questions is NO, then it’s safe to say you can stay home.
It’s easy to get addicted to the deals, but it’s also easy to get overwhelmed. One of the best couponing tips that I always recommend is starting with one store or two stores. Then learn to master those before taking on more. Not all coupon policies are created equal. In the beginning, it can be confusing to keep straight. What you can or more importantly can’t do at one store vs. another.
Also, keep your trips small and manageable. You want to learn how to do things the right way right from the beginning. Large hauls and multiple transactions will come over time. It’s important to build a solid foundation of understanding. Also, confidence to ensure your transactions will go smoothly and turn out as you expected.
I know in the beginning one of the hardest parts is figuring out how much to buy. The goal is to get to the next sale, not the next decade. Rest assured of the two couponing tips below:
You will never pay more attention to how much or how quickly your family is consuming a product as when you start couponing. Over time you will know that your children will eat one box of cereal a week and you husband only needs one deodorant every two months. This will make it easier to gauge what the right amount is to stock up on. It just takes time.
Sales always cycle back around again. Most sales cycle back around every couple months. Seasonal items like sunscreen or BBQ sauce tend to be a little trickier to gauge, but then again since most people don’t use a substantial amount throughout the year, it’s not a big deal if you miss the mark on how much to stock. Don’t overthink it too much, over time you will find it much easier to know what your needs are with experience. Everyone’s needs are different, so this is something you are going to figure out on your own anyway.
Feel the fear and do it anyway. Mistakes are inevitable and a huge part of the learning process, not just in couponing, but in every facet of life. Be prepared to accept that not every deal will go perfectly according to plan, but it’s just not that serious. Most of the time the remedy is an easy fix…whether it be a trip to the customer service desk or submitting an online form to Catalina Marketing…I can’t think of time where I have encountered a mistake that I could not fix.
With so many rules when couponing it can be easy to misuse coupons and not even realize it. It’s important to understand that just because a coupon goes through without any issues doesn’t mean that you aren’t misusing it. I would say the most common issues tend to stem from:
Not buying the correct size items. Nowadays we often see coupons that include a specific size or quantity listed on the coupon. Knowingly buying items that are different from the size restrictions on a coupon is fraud. Period.
Using too many like coupons in a transaction when it is prohibited on the coupon. This one can be exceptionally tricky. Over time it’s easy to recognize which coupons have these sorts of restrictions just by knowing which products belong to which brand families. This will make it a lot easier to abide by the restrictions. P&G coupons (brands like Dawn, Tide, Pantene, Gillette, etc.) have a limit of 4 like coupons per household per day. Unilever Brand family coupons (Dove, Suave, Lipton, Hellmann’s, etc.) have a limit of 2 like coupons per shopping trip. Healthy Essential Brand family items (Johnson & Johnson, Aveeno, Listerine, etc.) have a limit of 1 like coupon per customer per order. It may seem like a lot to remember in the beginning, but I can assure you that before you know it, you will be able to spout off information just like this at the drop of a hat.
Fortunately, there is an easy solution and one of the best couponing tips out there to avoid misusing coupons. READ THE COUPONS. All the information you need to abide by the parameters set forth by the manufacturers is there for you; you just need to get in the habit of reading the coupons you intend to use. Even experienced couponers need to stay in the habit of reading the coupons. The verbiage and restrictions can change at any time and without notice.
For all of you who are just starting out, the best couponing tips I have to offer to prevent new mistakes are above. Above all, understand and accept you’ll make mistakes, just be willing to learn. Be willing to ask questions when you can’t find the answers on your own. Be willing to try. Lean on reputable coupon websites and blogs like Yes We Coupon, and now that you know about some of the mistakes to expect, you can do your best to avoid them. Good luck and Happy Couponing – hope you enjoyed these awesome couponing tips!!
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