For most of us, couponing is great! We can save our household tons of money and we can also sometimes score FREEBIES! And, I’m sure that most of us can agree that free is awesome!
However, couponing can get rather stressful at times. I’m no newbie when it comes to couponing, but even I suffer from couponing stress from time to time. I get overwhelmed at the number of deals and transactions I need to do some weeks, or get a little antsy when I can’t find the exact coupon I need right away. I also still get butterflies in my stomach when I approach a checkout and even a little red-faced when a coupon beeps.
Couponing won’t ever be a completely Zen experience for me, but there are a few things I’ve learned along the way to help reduce couponing stress.
Whenever possible, I try to plan my shopping trips at least a week in advance. You can usually find early ad scans for certain stores online a week or more in advance. The actual ad for your particular store may vary slightly from other areas, but these ad scans can give you a good idea of what you can expect. You should also consider signing up for newsletters and alerts from your favorite stores.
Glancing through an ad scan before a sale starts gives you more time to prepare and gather the coupons you need to get the best deals. I usually start making a list and placing all of my coupons in an envelope marked with the store and the week as soon as I find an ad.
If you’re an unorganized person, couponing is bound to be stressful for you. Getting organized and staying organized is a good way to eliminate a great deal of coupon related stress. Start and maintain a coupon binder or other organization system. I also like to put the coupons I need each week into envelopes for each store with shopping lists. The coupons inside the envelope are in the same order as the items on my list, so I can usually find them quickly. I also keep detailed notes about each deal and transaction I plan.
Make Small Trips
Making a long, complicated trip to the store with tons of coupons is bound to be stressful for most people. This is especially true if you need to do multiple transactions to get the best savings. To help minimize stress, you may want to make several smaller trips instead of one large one. You’ll have less you need to concentrate on and less room for mistakes, and therefore less stress.
Leave the Kids at Home
Shopping with kids can be stressful enough. A large coupon trip with the kids in tow can be insanely stressful! If having the kids with you makes couponing stressful, try to shop alone. Ask your spouse to keep them occupied, or go while they’re in school or at a friend’s house.
Avoid the Rush
If busy stores stress you out during your couponing trips, try going shopping when it’s not so busy. The slow times for your store can vary, but usually include later at night, early in the morning, or during workdays.
Let Some Deals Get Away
It can be tempting to do whatever it takes to get every single deal available at all stores in a given week, but this is no small task. In fact, it’s likely to cause more stress than it’s actually worth. Understand that deals come and go and come back again. Choose the best deals each week and go after those, and don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t able to get every single deal out there.