Readers first 6 months of coupon shopping, and lessons learned

lessons learned

Thanks to Susan who left this comment  yesterday, I thought it was worth passing along…

I’ve been couponing only since January of this year. That first month I was mostly trying to figure it all out, learning about different store policies and such. It was quite overwhelming.

The second month, after I’d gotten the hang of it, I ran around like a crazy woman, chasing one deal after another. The good thing is that I did get a lot of great deals and I was able to build a nice stockpile of things we use regularly. The downside is that I got burned out pretty quickly. It was definately not a lifestyle that I could keep up with over the long term no matter how much money I was saving. You can’t put a price on my sanity!

In March I decided to lay off the shopping and just buy what we really needed — fresh fruits and veggies, dairy and such. I had plenty of meat in the freezer, and a good stock of canned foods, dry staples like pasta and rice, cleaning and hygiene items. I shopped just once at week at Albertsons for the essentials. If a good promotion was going on for items we could use, I’d take advantage of the sale IF they items were readily available at my neighborhood store. If not, I didn’t even bother going to another store to chase it down. I went to Walgreens a couple of times for shampoo (I think, or maybe it was deodorant) when they had a good promotion going on. But that was it. I got some good deals but didn’t drive myself crazy in the process.

By the end of April, I’d developed a system that I believe I can live with over the long run. So far so good. i don’t coupon on as large of a scale as I did at first, and I don’t run from store to store. I check the ads on Sunday and go to Walgreens if there is a good sale on something we use. This week it was shampoo, for example. But I don’t buy a lot of volume of anything, but I have a small family (just 2 of us), so that’s all we need. And I go to Albertsons on Sunday also, for the fresh food or anything essential, and again, stock up on good sale items, but if it’s not there, I’m done. There will always be another sale.

I get 4 newspaper copies. I sort them so that all 4 copies of each page are together, and I clip any that I’d definately use or would try to use if the right sale came along, then I file them in a accordian-type file box that is about the size of a small shoe box. Before I file them,

I go through my file box and toss any coupons that are expired. Any that will be expiring that week I pull out and, after reviewing that weeks ads, I decide whether I’ll try use them, or I toss them. My file box is plenty large enough for all the coupons I may ever use. I can’t see myself ever maintaining coupon-binder type system.

Truly — this process does not take me long to do every Sunday morning. I am usually all done before my daughter even wakes up. I turn on the news on TV, make some coffee, and settle on the couch to clip and organize my coupons. I find it quite relaxing.

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