You may have read my post from a few weeks ago, I Hate Couponing. The post really resonated with countless (and I mean countless) of you. Apparently, I’m not the only person who has a love/hate relationship with couponing! Many of you said that you did not enjoy couponing BUT you had to get back into it due to tight finances. And this post is for you! This post is for every person who is currently taking time off from couponing and is trying to figure out how to get back into couponing without getting burnt out again. Or, if you are on a tight budget and need to save money at the grocery store, but don’t know where to start, this post will help you too.
Steps to Get Back Into Couponing After Burnout
1) Start Slowly. First, try to focus on buying what’s on sale and do not worry about coupons. And let me be even more specific – don’t buy everything that’s on sale at every single store just because it is on sale. Instead, buy groceries that are on sale (that your family likes and will use) at one store and begin planning the meals you cook each week’s meals based on what is on sale at that one store. Specifically focus on Buy One Get One Free sales or 50% off sales!
Did you notice how I’m stressing that you need to shop at just one store? I can’t tell you how many readers get super excited about couponing and then decide to shop at two drugstores, one grocery store and one super center each week. Let me be very specific with you – STOP doing that. You will get burnt out if you are driving all over trying to take advantage of all of the deals available. Focus on one store and don’t get distracted by the other stores.
2) Start Using Ibotta. I went back and forth between having this as your second step and having this as one of your last steps. Finally, I decided that because Ibotta is SO easy to use, as you are getting back into couponing, I want you to use this before you use a single coupon. Don’t forget, the goal is to NOT get burnt out again. Ibotta is a phone app. The way it works is when you purchase certain items, you get paid cash. We can get paid on purchasing specific items by specific brands as well as non-brand specific items like fresh apples or bagged lettuce or a jar of red sauce. If you haven’t signed up for Ibotta, go HERE to sign up. Download the app to your phone and browse through it to see all of the current offers.
What I do every week is once I get home from the grocery store, I scan the items onto the Ibotta app that have Ibotta offers and then take a picture of my receipt (while on my Ibotta app). Within a few hours, Ibotta will pay me. You can cash out after you have reached a minimum balance of $20.00. I have been paid hundreds and hundreds of dollars from Ibotta doing just this. It’s truly so simple.
3) Start Printing Coupons. Once you find that you easily are able to cook based on what is on sale each week, start printing coupons to use on the groceries you are buying. My favorite website for printable coupons is HERE. Now. Remember we want to avoid burnout. So don’t print every single coupon. Only print the coupons on products that your family likes.
4) Pay Attention to Coupon Matchups. Since you are already buying what is on sale, your next step is to combine the printable coupons you’ve printed with the sales. Don’t forget that I have coupon matchups for countless stores here on Addicted to Saving. (Go HERE to see all of the stores I highlight.) These coupon matchups list everything that is on sale as well as all of the available coupons you can use. And if there are printable coupons you can use, I give you the links to the coupons. The grocery lists are even printable so you can print out all of the groceries that you want to buy!
5) Start buying the Sunday newspaper. I’m no longer a huge fan of the Sunday paper mainly because where I live (Tampa Bay), the Red Plum insert no longer comes in our Sunday papers. So, while those of you who live elsewhere will get lots of coupon inserts most Sundays, I’m often short coupon inserts. But if you are at this point in your couponing journey, you should start buying newspapers. I recommend buying two papers a week. Why two? That way when there is a Buy One Get One Free sale, you can use two coupons on the two items on sale. This will instantly save you well over 50%!
6) Use Your Store’s Loyalty Card. If your store has an online coupon system that connects to a store loyalty card, use it! It is an easy way to save at the checkout counter just by scanning your card (or if you shop at Publix, by giving your phone #.)
7) Begin to Stockpile. I know I know. You read this an your insides got a little queasy. I’m not telling you to go crazy stockpiling. But I am telling you that if you find an awesome deal on pasta sauce, buy 4 jars of it instead of one or two. I don’t have a magic number for you for stockpiling either. As you get really comfortable couponing, my general rule of thumb is to have enough food to last you a couple of months in your stockpile. That said, always pay attention to expiration dates. It’s not worth it to buy 3, 4, 5 months worth of food if it expires in just a few weeks. 😉
Lastly, Take a Deep Breath and Have Fun. If you are spending hours and hours getting ready to go shopping each week then you are doing something wrong. If you are going through printer ink and printer paper every month because you are printing so many coupons then you are printing too many.