Jessica Crowe of TheHappyCouponer.com says you can always tell a newbie couponer because they've clipped every coupon in the insert and they're loading up their cart. The problem is, they're spending money they wouldn't ordinarily spend, all because they're dazzled by the deal.
“It's easy to get caught up in the excitement when you first start using coupons. Who doesn't love to save money? But using a coupon rarely means you'll walk out of the store with a cart full of free groceries. When you get home and say, “Wow! I saved $150 this week!” you also need to look to see how much you spent and what you got for your money.”
Every manufacturer and every grocery store operates on a three- or four-month sales cycle. That means those 50 jars of spaghetti sauce you just bought are going to be on sale again in three or four months. Will your family consume all 50 jars before the next sale or before they reach their expiration date? If not, you're wasting storage space and possibly lots of money.
Crowe offers these tips for bulk-buying:
What is your spending limit? If you saved $100 but you spent $25 over your budget then you're not really saving at all. It's only a good deal if you can afford it, and if it is a good deal then you'll have to cut back somewhere else this week. Eventually it all evens out because for the next few weeks or months you won't have to buy that product and you can allocate that money to other grocery items or special deals.
What do you already have at home? Some manufacturer offers a toothpaste coupon almost every week. If you don't need it this week, then it's not a great deal. Use that money on something you do need and only shop the specials when you have a matching coupon.
Read more at “7 tips to save money before you even start clipping coupons”
Have you ever tried that product? Manufacturers use coupons to promote new products. If it's something your family has never tried before, just buy one until you find out if everyone likes it – especially if it's a food item. It's not a great deal at all if you have to toss it down the garbage disposal.
Can you live without it? “Honestly,” says Crowe, “Ma and Pa Ingalls got by with a bucket of water, a bar of lye soap and rag, but these days we have a cleaning product for everything. The same goes for convenience foods. All of this “convenience” costs extra money and it generally doesn't save you any time, either. Ask yourself if it's something you really need or if you're just being dazzled by all the sales hype.”
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