This post is a guest post from Lisa, a self-certified coupon mom who loves to save money while providing for her family. If you are interested in writing a guest post for Smart Money Hacks, contact us with your idea.
One of the worst feelings in the world is the feeling of not being able to provide for your family. Before we started couponing, we would stress about the price of everyday family items like toiletries and groceries. Our life changed when a friend of mine introduced me to couponing. She was a self proclaimed ‘coupon mom’ who was saving her family hundreds of dollars each month by stacking coupons. I was desperate to have the freedom she had, so I soaked up as much as I could from her.
Now, when other people hear how my family saves hundreds of dollars each month, they ask me if I’m one of those coupon moms. It’s a good feeling to say ‘yes’ because I know that it has brought my family financial freedom.
It can seem intimidating for someone just starting out with coupons. My advice: start small and work your way up. Don’t expect to save hundreds of dollars right away. Set small goals and have fun. If you don’t enjoy yourself, it’ll feel like a job and will slowly feel like it’s consuming your life.
Couponing takes time, but there are ways that you can streamline your efforts and make the most of your time.
1. Learn the Store Policy
You’ll figure out pretty quickly which stores you want to focus on when you start couponing. Our family finds a lot of great deals at Walgreens, so that was the first store I tried to master. Take some time to print out the store coupon policy and read through it. Get a good understanding of how the store rewards program works (if they even have one) and how they handle returns and other details. This will save you time in the long run, so invest a small amount of time now to save a lot of headaches later.
2. Add Store Ads to Your Reading List
If you want to get quick with coupons, keep up with the ads as they come out. Start planning your shopping list throughout the week and you’ll avoid sitting in front of your computer for an hour looking through each ad for a few good deals. If you’ve been diligent in keeping your coupons organized, you should have no problem at all when it comes to pulling the right coupon for each week’s deal.
3. Combine Trips to the Store
One of the worst time wasters is making separate trips to the store throughout the week. It’s tempting to rush out to the store as soon as you hear about a deal, but it’s not economical in terms of time, or money. Spend more time with your family and conserve your car’s gasoline by planning your trips ahead of time. It sounds obvious, but in order to be an efficient coupon mom, you need to manage your time wisely when it comes to couponing.
4. Buy Items You’ll Actually Use
There’ll be times when a deal seems too good to pass up. Before you let the excitement of a deal get the best of you, make sure you ask, “Is this something we’ll actually use?” If not, then you probably shouldn’t waste your time with it. Save your storage space for products your family will actually use, and don’t invest any more time and money on free things that just take up space on your shelf.
How do you save your family money? What tips would you give for an aspiring coupon mom?