Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. This is both true in life and couponing! Sometimes I get extremely frustrated when a scenario so thought out does not go according to plan, or if I can't find a coupon I swear I had. My family can attest to my coupon craziness at times! In the end though I find it extremely rewarding and fun...when things go my way!
Here's some things to make your shopping trips go smoother, and mistakes I made this week which caused me to overspend at Walmart.
Eat before you shop: Make sure you eat something before you go out, being hungry at the grocery store will make you spend more...trust me :)
Go without kids and husband whenever possible: Trust me, I work full time and have 3 kids....rarely do I get to shop without my children. But, I have definitely noticed my extreme coupon trips are alot less stressful, quicker, and less expensive when I am doing them solo. It's sometimes hard to resist getting the kids candy at the checkout when they have been so good.
Meal Plan and Make a Grocery List: Making a meal plan can be as complicated or as simple as you want it to be. In our house, we go with simple. I typically list 7 meals for the week and my husband and I cook according to what we're in the mood for. Breakfast and snacks are pretty standard in our house, the girls know what they are allowed to have.
Here is a meal plan with a section to make your grocery list at the same time. Meal Planning Chart
I try and make my meal plans based upon what is currently on sale and what's in my pantry. Currently I know that I have stuff to make taco's, spaghetti, hamburger helper, chicken and rice soup, shake n bake with rice, frozen pizzas....the list goes on and on! Technically I could just go and buy a few things and be done. Which is what I should have done this weekend!
Always carry coupons for items you know you will buy! I always buy baby food....so why I went to Walmart without baby food coupons was just ridiculous! If you have certain items/products you buy consistently and there is coupons for them, keep them with you always! I also try and carry an "expiring soon" envelope in case I find a good price on a product that the coupon is about to expire.
Clip your coupons and carry the sale ads: When preparing to go shopping, I usually clip the coupons I am going to need for that trip and paper clip them to the sale ad. This way I can compare the shelf tags to the sales flier to make sure I am buying the correct product. I have lost too many times by trusting the shelf tag! You might like the envelope system if you are planning on going to more than one store.
Shop Early: If your doing major shopping, try and do it in the off hours. I prefer early morning, like before 8am, but I know that's not for everyone! It seems the stores are less crowded, the cashiers more friendly, and products are freshly stocked!
One thing to remember is it takes awhile to get started and really notice the savings adding up. Another thing is it might take you awhile to figure out the best way for you personally to be organized and get the most out of couponing....keep trying! Saving $1.00 here and there is better than throwing those dollars away!
Later this week, I am going to try and talk about other stores that I love to use coupons in. Target and CVS come to mind!