There are a lot of stereotypes about coupon users, most of which have to do with them being obsessed with saving money, to the point where they sometimes buy things that they don’t even need. I’m sure actual coupon users aren’t like the stereotypes, but for those of us who have a tendency to obsess anyway, I can see how it might be easy to get caught up in the goal. I do love saving money, and I’m sure I sometimes take offers for free or cheap things that I otherwise wouldn’t accept, but I don’t want to be an obsessive when it comes to coupons.
I have some simple rules for how I use coupons; one way is saying that I’ll take a finite quantity of “waiting” time and turn it into coupon-seeking time, but I generally won’t seek out good deals. This means that if Husband is still getting ready in the morning, I’ll flip through the latest flyers to be thrown on our doorstep and clip anything we already use to stick in my wallet. If I know we will probably go out to eat on the weekend, I’ll clip a coupon for our favorite Mexican food place.
If I know I need to grocery shop soon, I’ll open the grocery store app and go to the “pre-load coupons” part of the application. This is unusually wonderful because I have a tendency to forget the coupons I do cut, so keeping them pre-stored on my store card is a great idea. I will pre-load more than I might actually use, but in general my shopping strategy is to forget what I loaded and buy what I need. That way, I can truly count the 50 cents or 3 dollars as savings, not as having prompted me to buy more.
What are your strategies with coupons? I wouldn’t mind using them better or more, but I also really like the small amount of time I spend on them now. Any pointers in the comments are more than welcome.