247Moms Frugal Living Editor
Those new to coupons and/or those who are years into their
couponing use have shared with me that they feel “anxious” at times. The details required and possible
obstacles encountered with coupons can create nerve-wracking, palm-sweating
experiences. If couponing doesn’t
make you nervous, perhaps you’ve encountered unanticipated issues. Here are ideas to boost your confidence
and money-saving success.
Yourself: Be aware of current store
policies, coupon-acceptance guidelines and sale promotions. Shoppers may opt to carry a copy of the
store’s coupon acceptance policy (for polite verification, not clerk-abuse).
2. Make Friends
and Allies: Build personable
relationships with store employees and your fellow shoppers. Check in with the Customer
Service desk often. Share your coupons with those you meet during your shopping
trips. Be “Politely Persistent”
when an issue arises. Don’t fight
to be right; instead work to resolve the situation. Your future couponing experiences (and those of other
couponers) will be easier.
3. Create – and
Know Your Shopping Plan:
Specifically write down what you intend to buy. This includes: Item (with variety/size), Sale Price,
Coupon Discount, Promotion Discount, and Bottom Line Price. If you’re going to implement more than
one transaction at a particular store, designate those separately. When anxiety or distraction occurs,
you’ll be able to rely on your written plan. Carry a copy of the store ad with you as you shop.
4. Prepare Your
Coupons: As you write your
shopping plan, collate coupons for each transaction into separate paperclips or
divide it with index cards in your coupon holder. Be sure you’ve scanned for expiration dates, valid
sizes/varieties, and the discount amount (is it off one or two items?)
5. Have a Plan
B (and C, Perhaps D): Know your
shopping plan well enough that you can choose alternate items, if a desired
product is out of stock. Place
your “Plan B” coupons separate from your planned transaction coupons.
6. Timing: Couponing
is more fun and sociable when the store is less busy. If you have “coupon-use anxiety”, you’ll feel more relaxed
and clear-minded to implement your shopping plan during slower shopping periods.
When the store is less crowded, the reception you’ll receive
from store employees should be more positive. Our own perceptions that we’re holding up the line (whether
we are or not) and the negative stares from seemingly inconvenienced folks
around you – all of that is worse during the busiest shopping periods – plan
7. Shop with a
Friend: Enlist the “buddy system”
when shopping to help you through your list, or to shop along side you. It’s
more fun with a friend!
8. Leave the
Distractions at Home: As 24/7
Moms, this can be tough. When
possible, do leave the kids (and the spouse?) at home. You’ll save time, temper and money when
you shop without counter-productive hands, mouths, and motives.
9. Going with the Kids? Be at Your Best!: Shopping with the kids takes an extra
measure of patience and energy. Choose
to shop when your team is at their best – not tired, hungry, sick or otherwise
inconsolable. Avoid bribing, but do expect and discuss appropriate shopping
Yourself with Activities: Bring activities for your children. As the kids are learning their numbers
and letters, have them complete a scavenger hunt or “I-Spy” game. When they’re old enough – involve them
in the process. Ask them to help
you with completing the list, comparison shopping, etc.
Extra Tip: I
once saw a great idea a mom had for her toddlers. She had small notebooks or clipboards, just for shopping
trips. Internet-printed activity
pages, coloring books, or a “My Shopping List” for kids kept them happier in
Labels: Couponing, Frugal Living