Part of that is the fact that I've graduated from one newspaper to 3 or more depending on what coupons are due out that particular week, so it's taking longer to clip the coupons and get them sorted in my binder. Part of it is I wasn't always doing my comparison shopping, just sort of going to what I perceived to be my "favorite" drug store and grocery store first, only to be disappointed when I'd make it around to the others and find a better deal.
Here's a few things I recommend:
- Have a calculator handy at all times when you're making your weekly lists.
- Don't rush it - the sales are for a whole week! You don't have to be there within 10 minutes of the store opening on Sunday. Even great deals can sometimes wait - if they're sold out of what you want ask for a raincheck. The exception to this would be the case where you have a coupon expiring and need it to make your deal work.
- Start keeping a price book. I keep mine by store and alphabetized by product name for quicker cross referencing. Knowing what the regular price is, and the recent sale prices, for items you use routinely will help you decide when an item is really a good deal. Now some of you may have better memories than me, but since I shop at 4 grocery stores, 3 drug stores, and 3 retail stores (KMart, WalMart, Target) to get the best deals it's too much for me to try to remember.
- Start your stockpile. You may not need an item today that is on sale for an incredible price but buy it anyway. Especially if it's FREE! Never pass up a great deal. When you need that item in the future it may not be on sale, and at that point you won't have to purchase it - you can just grab it from your stockpile.
- Don't think you're going to grab a newspaper your first week and save 50% on your grocery bill. It doesn't work that way. Having a stockpile allows you to purchase items only when they're free, or "near free". I have an 75% rule. If an item isn't 75% off and I don't absolutely need it then I don't purchase it. If it's more than 75% off I'll buy it while it's on sale....and add it to my stockpile for use at a later date.
- Don't buy something just because you have a coupon! Wait for the sale, wait for a tremendous deal, or wait until you need it. Having a coupon doesn't always make something a good deal!
You'll soon find that the amount of money you're saving week over week (as well as the % you're saving) will start getting bigger and bigger! That's when the excitement sets in and you too can become addicted to coupons!