Last week was my birthday and it was one of “those”birthdays. Milestone, if you want to call it. For some reason, whenever I have a birthday, I always reflect on the past…my triumphs, my failures, my goals. Part of my birthday reflection this year has been about couponing and the things I wish I would have known when I started out a couple of years ago. So…here are my top ten things I wish I would have known when I started couponing.
1. That it is an addiction.“Hi, I’m Kelly and I’m a coupon addict.” If a coupon addiction group existed, I’m pretty sure Hubs would have sent me there and he would have attended coupon-anon. I was a junkie who needed the “score” – the feeling of walking out of CVS with $100 worth of products for $2.56 out-of-pocket and still having ECBs to spend next week. I was talking in a different language that sounded something like “I’m going to CVS to roll my ECB with a $4 off $20 and then submit a rebate to make the deal a $4 money maker.” Eventually I mellowed a bit (or everyone got used to me) and couponing just become part of my life – not my whole life.
2. Huh, you are saving money? Hubs did not understand the “grocery/drug store” game for six months. He would smile and say “Great Job!” when I would come home “jazzed-up” because I got Dawn Hand Renewal Dish Soap for free. But he didn’t get it. The moment it “clicked” for him was when he saw the bulging stockpile and realized I was spending less money than before. (For some reason, guys are visual. Go figure.)
3. Giving the look could lead to divorce. Don’t make the same mistake I made and give your man the “look” when he asks you buy something you don’t have a coupon for – it could lead to divorce. They have a right to want Ruffles with Ridges – buck up and buy them.
4. “Must-Buy-Googlie-Eyes” can break a budget. I never realized I could buy so much stuff for so cheap. I started buying everything under $.50 because it was so much fun. But, just because you can buy seven boxes of Pop-Tarts for under $.25 a box, doesn’t mean you should buy seven boxes of Pop-Tarts. (Especially when no one in your house eats them.) Cheap is great, but too much cheap can bust your budget.
5. Too much internet can rot your brain. Find three to five deal websites you like and stick to those (like mine, pretty please).As a blogger and frugal shopper, I find most deals get posted on most websites, so there isn’t a need to go out and look at ten different sites (multiple times) over the course of the day. Find a couple of bloggers who’s writing you enjoy (like me) and can relate to (like me) and either subscribe or visit daily.
6. Guys don’t like anything pink. This includes body wash, razors, shaving cream, shampoo, conditioner, gel, bar soap, and drink boxes. They’ll use it if they have too, but they won’t like it.
7. Buy a good pair of scissors.I got new Fiskars for Christmas last year and I had no idea what I was missing. For the number of cuts you do over the course of a year, you deserve good scissors.
8. Find a place where you can ask questions and not feel like an idiot. Find a community or group of like minded people where you can ask questions and not feel stupid. I had a TON of questions when I first started out and I was so thankful to have been part of the Coupon Mom Forum. They answered my questions and never made fun of me because I didn’t understand what BOGO meant. Speaking of which, if you ever have a questions, please email me. Believe me anything you ask, I’ve probably asked someone else before.
9. There is a coupon for everything (except Ruffles). There are coupons for fresh produce, meat, cheese, condiments, make-up, etc. – you just need to find them. Don’t be afraid to write to your favorite companies or trade coupons with people from a different part of the country – it’s a great way to increase your coupon variety.
10. Perfection is impossible.As hard as you’ll try, there will be times when you don’t pay the lowest price for something or you screw up a deal. (Yep, I biffs up deals quite often.) If you focus on each specific deal as your gauge, you’ll become discouraged. Focus on the overall picture of saving money and you’ll feel like a rockstar. Cause who doesn’t like getting Dawn Hand Renewal for FREE?
Okay, your turn. What are some of things you wish you knew about before you started couponing?