Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Saying NO to a Deal... Can you do it?


I received this email from a reader:

"I've saved a lot of money as a beginner couponer and get so excited when I can score something good for practically nothing. Makes me feel really good and just as excited as a kid on Christmas morning. With that being said, I have a hard time passing up a deal. Some deals can make you go broke. Sometimes I have a hard time passing up a coupon deal. I'm looking for ideas on how to choose which deals I seriously need and can use. Maybe your readers can help me with some ideas."

The sign above... is it calling your name?

Well, we all need to keep in mind that just because we're savings money, doesn't necessarily means we're "saving money"! I'm sure you're thinking that doesn't make much since. What I'm trying to say is that even if you score a great deal and save $50, you may still be spending money that is not within your budget. I personally think looking at your receipt and seeing the savings is great, but I think more importantly, seeing that you've actually spent LESS throughout the month is even greater.

...And remember this--A deal is NOT a deal if you're spending money you don't have!

What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you have a hard time passing up deals?

93 comments:

Saving Money in Toledo said...

It's funny you wrote this. Earlier today, I passed on a formula deal from Target. I was getting ready to push the submit button and realized that I was getting ready to spend $60 on formula that my daughter doesn't even use (she uses that spit up version)!!

Amanda Kay said...

I hate throwing big value coupons away!! But you have to think of your budget before the value of a coupon. Good sales never end, so catch it next time around.

Anonymous said...

I have only been couponing for about 2 months and am
already having a hard time figuring out where to
store all my deals. I would like some tips on this too!

Anonymous said...

I really struggled with this when I first started out couponing, but I've had to come to grips with the fact that I can't be everywhere at all times, getting every deal. I've really pared down my deal findings and have had to just be okay with the fact that I can't score every good deal. I also try to shop at the end of the week, so that I'm accumulating all the deals you and others post so that I'm making one trip and not a gazillion!!! If the store is sold out of product by the end of the week, I just assume then the deal wasn't for me. :-)

Jenn Cook said...

I totally agree! If you don't have the money it's a "No Deal"! ;-) No matter how good of a sale or deal it is, you don't want to be in debt to get the deal. Also, even with the free things - if you don't have a plan to use them or give them away - I've passed up on some of them as well since I don't want a cluttered house of all this free stuff that I have no use for...

SuzyQpon said...

I think it's harder to pass up deals when you 1st start couponing b/c you aren't used to the rhythms of sales so you don't realize that there will be another deal that's just as good or close. Once you've been doing it for a while, you see the deals roll around again and again and you start realizing that you can hold off and wait for the next deal. I think we've all given in and splurged on a great deal on something we didn't necessarily NEED - you just have to be careful not to do that too often!

Anonymous said...

It was difficult for me to pass up the Body Shop deal a day or two ago. I did the Burts Bees and need to be content.

Lisa said...

FUNNY...I was just thinking about this this morning. Thinking I need a support group to keep me from running out or being late to work just to get that fantastic deal at Kroger, Walgreens, Target, CVS...

Anonymous said...

I've done a couple deals that I wasn't very happy with, (6pm.com shoes, metrostyle coat deal) even though the items didn't cost that much, it's still frustrating that I paid for items I wasn't happy with and lost money on shipping. Now I ask myself "would you still NEED to buy this if you weren't getting a good deal on it?" Seems to curb my desire to jump on every single online sale/deal posted.

Anonymous said...

I think it really depends on the deal and if it is something you really need/use like the current wipes deal at Target do I really have the money to go get a ton of wipes no my husband has been laid off and can't get work however I have two kids one that is a newborn so do I need wipes yes will I need wipes for awhile yes so whats better spend the money now to stock up on wipes that may last a couple months that is almost 75% cheaper than regular price or still not have the money and have to pay regular price my plan get as many wipes as I can before the coupon's dead because in the end its saving me money that one way or the other I don't have

#1 Saver said...

I love this post. I had this problem when I first got started but it worked out okay...because at the time my budget was sooooo tight that I just happened to need 'everything'.

One thing I will say though is that I do try to always stock up on cleaning supplies, laundry items and paper products (toilet tissue, paper towels etc.), when I can get them free or near free. I learned the hard way that if you aren't able to score a deal on these items you can put a pretty big dent in your budget otherwise (especially for quality clothes detergent). I definitely don't go out of my way for vanity items, unless I need them. For example, I just happened to be in Target recently for a prescription refill, so while I waited I was able to score the Degree scent deal, the Glade candle deal, and some shaving cream...for $1.57 OOP. However, if I wasn't in there, I probably wouldn't have made a special trip because I didn't 'need these things'.

The best part is that once you start getting a regular rotation of samples and 'free' coupons, you can always score a deal (without any guilt or extra trips out of the house - because 'free' item coupons can be used anywhere).

*Summer* said...

This is a great topic!!! I had a Hollister Q for 20% off, well my original plans where to buy Hollister "Jake" col. for my hubby or find some clearance items. Well lets just say I got a pair of jeans & saved only $8. When it comes to retail store Qs I think thats my weak spot!!! I have the urge to use them, but am trying my best to control myself!! LOL ;)

LivTeh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

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cblanchard76 said...

If it's not free, then I always ask myself if I need it or know of someone who needs it that will buy it from me and I can get my money back. It takes a little time to really learn to Smart shopping. I used to buy stuff I just because it was on sale and I had a coupon for it and the OOP was low, but in the long run it was throwing money away because I didn't use the item. So regardless of the price always ask yourself if you will use it or know of someone who will, and you will always be ok. No matter how small or large the purchase I always ask myself that.

Anonymous said...

The only time I will not pass up a deal is if it is a freebie! LOL...but other than that I have learned to only use what I need.

Anonymous said...

I have been couponing/rebating for over 30 years. My goal is to get everything free or as close to free as possible. I am always surprised at how much I really can get for free. Like others have said, once you have a good stockpile, you are less likely to jump at paying for anything. I have a deep freezer for my stockpile and it is stocked with meats and other free/almost free items. So we are eating better and smelling better with cleaner teeth for less than anyone else in my neighborhood. We can help our adult children and still have so much left for the shelters. This is a great hobby. But don't pay for something that can be gotten free if you wait for a sale.

Jayne said...

I am there also - just started about 3 weeks ago and have been caught up in the fun and high of a bargin. I need to be careful to only get the things we will actually use :)

Di said...

I like the tip about shopping at the end of the week. I went to Walgreens on Sunday and bought tissues. Didn't know until yesterday there was an additional coupon I could have used.
I think I'm going to start waiting till later in the week to shop.
I also agree that if you're buying things that you wouldn't normally buy just because they are a good price it's not necessarily in your best interest.
I think we all go through this when we start using coupons so much.
I have definitely scaled down my deal shopping. Like others, I have accumulated quite a stockpile of things over the last few months.

Jodi said...

I personally pick the deals by will I use it now, soon, or will I have to buy it in the next month. Like the wipes deal at target I had to do that one I have a 2year old and between messes and "accidents" we go through lots of wipes so I did this deal and stocked up. Also the 6pm deal I bought the gabrieelrocha shoes)5pairs) because when christmas comes around that is what i usuallybuy so this year I got thr times as much because I spent less on each item. Makes Christmas GREAT. thanks hip2save.

fran said...

Collin posts so many good deals that it is hard to pass on them, but you have to at one point or another...like printing coupons, if it's something you know you will use, print it...otherwise, don't bother as you will probably throw the coupon away anyway. If you lose out on a coupon or a deal, just keep in mind, there will ALWAYS be another coupon or another deal...if you pay attention, the coupons and the sales keep coming around, so you will eventually be able to use the coupon or take advantage of that deal.

I sometimes like when the stores are out of their sale items...then I can get rain checks and use them when I have a $5.00/$25.00 coupon...the rain checks can help me get to the $25.00 purchase when the stores don't have such a good sale. I also like rain checks on frozen items, as my freezer is usually full (thank God), and I have to shove the new item in the freezer or take stuff out of boxes to fit them in.

Once you have been couponing for a while, and you've built your stockpile to where you want it, you will find yourself not even fretting over losing a deal...trust me!

Reiko said...

I think I'm at the point where even if it's free, I hesitate...after all I still have to pay tax! A dollar here, 2 there still adds up.

Roxanne said...

I have been couponing for 6 months now and I do not get all the bargains and I end up throwing away a lot of expired coupons....I now think twice before I buy something; "Is this an item we will actually use?" If not then I pass it up, at first it was hard but I have learned a lesson by spending too much money just because I had a coupon. On the other hand I will not pass up something if I can get it for free! Because someone can and will use it, either family, friends or donate it....

Couponing4myTacoma said...

Good question to ask - would you be buying it anyways? AS IN - You will HAVE to buy TP or diapers etc. Do we really NEED clothes unless they are almost free? Do you really NEED the non-essentials? Nope.

Interesting i don't have kids but i try to treat myself as if i were my own kid about the difference between NEED and WANT.

free is free said...

Thanks for posting my request Collin. I am enjoying the ideas and thoughts the readers have. Love the saying, " would i need to buy this regardless of the deal "
I'm going to try that. I just have always had a bit of a spending problem. I do try to stock up on things that I will use that are a really good deal or free. However I always feel the need to make trips to go get the deal, which in turn is only using more gas and probably not saving anything in the long run.

Anonymous said...

A very timely topic with the Holidays here. I was getting ready today to go to Target and pick up some great deals on toys, but I really don't need them. My kids are older so I would be buying them for giveaways. That is find but I have already stocked up so many great free or really cheap deals on toys and have a ton to donate. I'm staying home.

Anonymous said...

I started couponing about 6 weeks ago, and after the "honeymoon" phase, I made a spreadsheet with a budget. If I have spent my money for the week, I don't spend one dime out of pocket for anything else! This way I don't jump at offers without knowing it may be the only offer I can jump on for the week! Then, if other offers come up, I instead pass the info to someone who CAN use or needs the deal!

Shelly said...

I think it's hard starting out and you feel that you almost have to get everything but then you get over it. Now I think that I'm getting a better deal if I don't buy it at all especially if I don't need it.

Chrystal said...

I too have a hard time passing on a sale. But, I've always been that way even before couponing. Now it's just worse. :)

The thing that has helped me the most (in saving time, money and my sanity) is limiting the stores I go to. For example I only grocery shop at Publix and only once a week. I wait for things to be on sale at "my store" and then buy them so that I'm not running to 3 different grocery stores each week. Same with the drug stores. I only go to CVS and Rite Aid - I don't even look at the Walgreens ads so that I'm not tempted to make that extra trip. Most weeks I just pick the one that has the best deals but there are some weeks that I go to both because there are good deals at each one.

That's just 3 sale papers each week I have to look at. To me, saving the time is just as important as saving money. Now if I can figure out a way to stay out of the mall... :)

Angela: mom2girlsgirlsgirls: said...

I'm an on-again-off-again couponer who gets overwhelmed at the time it requires as well as the amount spent on "deals." I've decided this time to allow myself a specific weekly budget for "deals" that is separate from my weekly grocery budget...we'll see.

I like what SuzyQpon said: the sales are cyclical and it's good to learn the rhythm.

Renae said...

It is not what you save, but what you spend! That is our motto!

Amber said...

I was forced to think about this last night when I was at Staples about to buy some things that really weren't in my budget. I know that just because something is a good deal doesn't mean that I have to take advantage of it! Goodness, I'm glad you spoke on this!

The Economical Manager said...

Since I don't have to pay tax on grocery items in my state I will jump on it if the item is free. Also, like the free wipes at Target, we have a messy 3 yr. old and go through wipes like water. I did that deal b/c we are always using wipes. However, I only did one game deal at Target b/c they are not in the budget but the theory was that one game could entertain us for a few weeks and maybe keep us from going out. Instead cooking dinner in and having game nite would be better.

Anonymous said...

Great post. In response to spreadsheet: We just found a free budget tool called mint.com through my neighborhood association newsletter that allows us to set-up a budget for the month for free....once we hit the budget line it is beans and rice, rice and beans for the rest of the month...

Michelle said...

lol. I always think when I read posts from readers on this site..how do they have money to buy all of the shoes, games, clothes and everything else talked about on here. Personally, we have been able to purchase more extra things thanks to the savings we have from couponing. But there are several deals we see and dont get b/c we dont need it. (c: I am interested in reading the rest of the comments.

Casey and Kimberly said...

Great post! I have been thinking the same thing lately! It's so hard to pass up great deals...but we are also hitting very tough money times for our family..with that being said..do I really need a stock pile of razors, shampoo, toothpast...I actaully did say for one week I will not "do any deals" unless they are totally free. Even if it's .20 I am not going to to do it for one week. It can be addicting for me! LOL

starla said...

I have problems with this when it comes to Walgreens and CVS. The deals list them as free but they are not really. Starting out you still have to pay OOP.

Anonymous said...

I do the Wags deals where I get back RR and Im only out of pocket at max 5 bucks.. Ill get 30 boxes of tissues too if that means I dont need any for awhile and its stuff I do use.. papertowels.. im doing the wags deal for the cold stuff because I do get sick and its better having then going to the store when you are sick nothing worse! I'll usually do a wags deal if my bucks are goign to expire.. but if you are buying stuff that you use i dont think its a waste of money as long as its not sitting in yoru pantry just looking at you

Anonymous said...

Starla yes you start out of pocket but when you the RR back you start building like a bank.. Its kinda like going to the casino if that makes any sense.. basically in the end you are playing with their money with little to none out of pocket..

I did the almay deal

heres what i got
3 almays
3 mascaras
2 3pk papertowels
2 packs of gum
3 bottles of Lubriderm
2 bottles of arm and hammer

oop I spent 12 bucks but I still got back RR and I have 20.00 to use which i will with the cold stuff.. the above I do use so its not a waste

The Hansen Family said...

I agree with waiting until later in the week to see what others have posted. I was running to different stores almost every day with my 14 month old and it was getting crazy! On one hand, it got us out of the house, but on the other hand, it was stressful. Planning all those trips, finding and clipping coupons, trying to figure out if it was in my budget.

We pay cash for everything so I know, if I don't have the cash, I don't need to make the trip. Now, I usually make two trips per week. One to Albertsons for my groceries and one to Rite Aid (only if it's a smoking deal). I will sometimes throw in a Target deal or Fred Meyer if there is something that is really worth it. I refuse to go to the store for one item, because as I'm sure most of you have noticed, a lot of times these sales/coupon deals are out of stock by the time you get to the store. Packing up my son and getting to the store is enough of a chore to make it not worth it.

That being said, I do have a great stockpile in our pantry and second freezer (also toiletry items). I recommend spending a month or two really stocking up, then take it easy. Only go out when it is something you really need or rarely goes on sale.

For all these Christmas toys, books, movies, etc, we have a strict cash budget for everyone on our list. If I can't fit it in the budget or can't figure out a person who would really enjoy it, I pass it up. It is awesome to have Hip showing us all these great deals because some of them are very useful and I have been able to stockpile some awesome gifts for friends/family. But if you do not have someone that would really enjoy it and are just buying it for the deal, it's still a waste of money no matter how much you spent.

Rebecca said...

Once I'm stockpiled on a certain item, I am refusing to buy anymore of them, no matter how great the deal!

I also joined the Yahoo! Coupon Exchange round robin, so coupons I don't want go to other people who can use them (and theirs to me, etc.). I also joined Coupons For Troops so that my expired coupons don't go to waste either.

Anonymous said...

I just left the $5 Brita coupon at Walgreens sticking out of the last Brita pitcher...some lucky person who actually wants a Brita pitcher will get a great deal! I know it is hard to pass up, but I leave the coupon so at least someone will get the benefit!

Anonymous said...

There is a $3 coupon off Snuggle softner, at walmart they are priced at $4.37 so after Q $1.37 is this a good deal if you haven't tried or use this?

Anonymous said...

I no longer do walgreens. At one point I had over 100 dollars in RR. I have found I spend less if I only buy the things I NEED even if they aren't free. I may not make money anymore but my credit card bill has gone down.

Christmas toys...my kids get gifts that I get good deals on. There is always plenty of deals on things they would like. I don't shop for certain toys, I pick toys from deals.

Katie said...

Such a great topic. My mom and I were just discussing this because we have been couponing for about 2 months now and are already stockpiling everything. Last night I bought 4 Mr.Potato Heads for $4 and when I got home my husband asked what I was going to do with all of these Mr.Potato Heads??? Well, I guess that was the first moment when I realized I was going a little overboard but at least with the holdiays coming up some of the toy deals will be great for toys for tots donations. Although the adrenaline rush of saving money is great I need to really start conserving what I buy and see the savings that way!

San said...

I'm fairly new to couponing and initially, I would buy each & every item I had a coupon for. But now, I have started restricting myself by not printing out/clipping coupons for items that I already have or wouldn't use. This way I wouldn't be tempted to buy them when I reach the store.

I somewhat agree with Starla. I usually avoid CVS and Walgreens ECBs and RRs coz I'm not good at rolling them and found that I was paying OOP everytime just because it was on sale or had a coupon.
But I like RiteAid for this matter. Even if you pay OOP you will get the money back as check which can be used for something else rather than spending it in the store again.

Anonymous said...

I only go in on a deal if:

1. I was planning to buy the product and need it

2. It is free or near free and I can use it or donate it

Anonymous said...

anyone have any tissues.. sniff sniff

Anonymous said...

Great post and advice! I personally am addicted to kids.woot.com!!

Jeff and Sheila Capell said...

I have to comment...

I have only been doing this for about 4 months and my husband and I sat down to run some numbers. My first month I tried to get ALL the deals thinking I was SO GREAT saving all this money. I was WAY over budget for the month and have since had to pick and choose between deals to still be living with-in our means. We DO have a great stock-pile of certain things (we had to convert our spare bedroom closet to a second pantry!) and I can tell that in the future we will save money by not having to purchase those items. So I've learned to pass up on some deals...there's always another and it WILL come along again. I CAN'T, however pass up on a deal that will cost me practically nothing!!! (Duh!)

Anonymous said...

One thing that helps is to keep track of your gas! Yes, you might be getting a stockpile of free razors if you hit every Walgreens in town, but I've found that running out for every deal was murder on the gas budget, so it wasn't really a deal. Now I just plan two trips weekly for my shopping, and try to plan out which stores have the best deals that week and will price match for me, then those are the ones I go to. Less stress and we still have what we need.

Matt & Kristin said...

When I first started "couponing" I was skeptical about getting deals on a bunch of stuff that I wouldn't use. Then I got caught in the Coupon High trap and wanted to go to every store every day. I wasted so much time, not to mention money! Like some posters have mentioned, you're not saving money if you are going over your budget. I had to take a complete break from couponing all together for a while. What a breath of fresh air. It helped me to recognize what things I really needed, what things I should buy to stock up, and what things I should really pass on. For the month of October I am happy to report that I stayed completely within my budget in all categories using coupons to complement what I was purchasing. By the end of the month I did have to pass up some deals to stay within budget, but it was totally worth it. And guess what, I'm sure there will be another deal on razors, right?

Annalee said...

If you don't "need" it and it's not in the budget...There will ALWAYS be another 'great' deal!

Anonymous said...

It's extremely hard for me to say NO to a good deal, but here lately I've had to do just that (many, many times). As you all know, times are tough and money is tight. So, I've had to pass up many great offers. It's especially difficult when all I receive are coupons in my mail and e-mail 24/7!

Kate said...

I even pass up free stuff because I don't want to pay the tax! =P

If I have a major stockpile, I don't buy more unless it's a super awesome deal. At this point, I would not even take free deodorant. =)

If I won't use it, I don't buy it unless it is totally free (not even paying tax!) or a moneymaker (and truly a moneymaker after tax!).

I think the only crazy purchase I made was the Wii games, but I KNOW my husband would have gone out and bought a few of them at full price eventually anyway. So it's kinda like we got a few free. =P

Anonymous said...

I know that there are a lot of deals on this site that have medicine involved. As a family we are blessed with good health and rarely have a need for medicine. Sometimes it's hard to pass on a great money-maker but it's silly to pay for something I won't use or can't give away! I have given myself a set out-of-pocket amount to spend each week at CVS and Walgreens and I pay cash for everything so I rarely take advantage of deals that have to be ordered online. It really is hard to pass up a good deal but I agree with some of the other post once you have been couponing awhile you know whether you need to take advantage of the offer or let it go.

Nicole said...

I had this problem when I first learned what I call the "grocery/clearance game." It was like a drug and I had to buy it... had to have it. Although I was saving a ton, I was going broke clearning the shelves when finding great deals. My husband finally had to tell me to STOP. He said look around you and tell me what we NEED and I will understand if you need to go back out there to buy those items we NEED. It hurt to hear it but he WAS right! I had gone crazy ... no MAD with the couponing. We have a million of everything and it's only the two of us. I had to dig deep, take some deep breaths and let it all go for a couple of months. Instead I finally created a 'stockpile list' of brands we actually use or would use in our home. I inventory our item using this list. So when we get down to 2 of that item, I start my stockpile again until we have the amount my husband and I set for each item.
For example, We only keep 10 to 15 toothpaste in our home. We do give away a lot - so we run out in just a few months.
Come up with a stockpile list, create a weekly budget just for your couponing (mine is $20 and I roll over what I don't use to the next week).
Some sales are too good to pass up, but think about IF You REALLY need it or just don't want someone to find it. It's ok to walk away from a good deal. Especially when you know you already have a million of that item at home. Not to mention, once you get to the know the sales cycles, you will know just when to shop for that same again for the same deal or better! I said all that to say, couponing it great but it does require work and MONEY. Therefore, it is a good idea to take a break for 30 days, collect your coupons and organize your current stockpile in this 30 break period. Hope this helps!

Tawanda! said...

I think it takes a while to figure out what works for you admist the adrenalin rush of getting a deal. I have a growing stockpile of items, items that I tried because I had a coupon for it or items that someone in my family likes. I don't try for every deal beacause it may not be the deal FOR ME. Simon and Garfunkel sang it best, to everything there is a season.

Kelli said...

Oh....this is something that I totally struggle with. It's not something that I fight with as much as I used to when I started couponing, but I've had to stop and think a little bit more about my purchases. Even on the really, really good ones! My husband has helped keep me accountable and has worked with me on our budget to include some of the too-good-to-pass-up deals.

Anonymous said...

At first, I tried to get every good deal. Now, I go to basically 2 stores a week, where I would shop anyway and only use coupons for items we need in amounts we can use. It took me one time to realize, for example, that Walgreens RR's are not a good idea for me since I rarely shop there and it tied me to spending money I would not otherwise spend. I also watch the food coupons... there are lots of deals on things my family would not usually eat for whatever reason. If I would not normally feed it to my family, then I can just let that deal go.

Anonymous said...

I think we've all had this issue. I did a benefiber deal when I first started and I don't even use it, need it and it still sits in my bath cabinet. It's my weekly reminder. Now I only buy what we will ABSOLUTLY use and I pick only one store for the week; CVS or WAGS.

Make your list and scnerios, collect all coupons and STICK to only the list......that's the only way I get out of the store on my budget.

Anonymous said...

if you stil have the benefiber then donate it.. I clean out my pantry and clean out the stuff that i dont use and let someone else have it.. local shelter or senior center paying it forward :)

Amber said...

A couple of people have mentioned that their DH have helped them gain some persepctive and I totally agree. It helps to have someone play devil's advocate, because couponing IS addicting and it's easy to lose persepctive.

You will get to a point where it's easier to pass on deals - It gets to the point where the treat is taking a break from it all and relaxing. I sure love couponing, but I also love taking a break from it too occasionally. And I CAN take a break because I've got a good stockpile.

A good saying is: if you can't afford it or don't need it, it's not a good deal no matter how inexpensive it is.

Mom who cares said...

I always tell my hubby - we're not spending less money, we're just not spending more.

This helps us to keep our finances on better track. I have to admit - I was a take all deals as they come girl and thought I was saving loads of money. BUt, then I saw my accounting ledger and realized we were spending more than we would normally spend if we weren't using the couponing system.

How is that possible?
Well, like you and that lady said: You wind up buying to much "coupon items". So, that $10 here and $5 there adds up in a hurry. Especially if your on a $300 a month food and toiletry budget.

The worst part is - we had it in our heads we saved so much money - that we would eat out more - with coupons of course and then that added up too.

So, I started to skip deals and keep my purchases with-in need and we stay in our budget now. We now know - we are not spending less, just not spending more.

This means - we keep aware we still are buying more items with coupons and stocking up. But, we keep in our budget of spending.

With out coupons we'd be spending more for those extra sotkc up items. With coupons, we stock up and spend with-in our budget.

:)

The Wagner Fam said...

Alas, I was also thinking (and agonizing) over this just this morning. I went to Target to get the Up and Monsters Inc deal. But in the back of my head I was rationalizing why I needed these items. I don't NEED them. I WANT them. And the silly thing is, I already have Monsters on DVD. But together they are cheaper per movie, so I should do it that way, right? And then give it to someone. Target did not have Monsters and they only had the Up with journals. I felt a little relieved to tell you the truth. Thought about driving 10 more minutes to the other Target, but now I'm glad I didn't after reading this. I did get the Potato Head Spud Buddies though. ;0

Belinda said...

I have had the same problems in the past, well and present too! I must have bought 15 benedryl at wags when it was a good deal. It expires in 1 year, I don't think we will be using it all by then. I will be donating it but I have learned I don't NEED to buy it just because it's a GOOD DEAL. It's hard but keep trying.

Anonymous said...

Love all the comments!! This was a BIG help for me: I found some coupon buddies who use slightly different things; I pass the info/coupons on to them for things I wouldn't use. I get the thrill of knowing SOMEbody will get that great deal!

AJ said...

Amen to everything! I keep saying I WILL NOT buy 1 more toy for Christmas. I have more than my kids need, and the deals just keep coming. Then I start thinking I could use them for presents. But in reality, I already have more than enough to last at least the coming year for birthdays.

I'm over the shampoo, deoderant, etc. and like a previouis poster, I won't even take it if its free. When our pile is used up, I'll get more. But the toys are killing me.

Here's another way to think about it too (ps, I'm trying to convince myself while writing this ;)). I have decided that even if I buy 5 toys for $3, that's $15 I didn't need to spend that I could either use to buy my husband something better (because he totally deserves it!) or to just cut our monthly grocery budget.

Bringing Basics Back! said...

:) Sometimes when a deal is too hard to pass up (ie: freebie, or pennies on the dollar!), but it's not something I usually use, I donate it to a local homeless shelter or other non-profit in need... especially easy to donate when it'll be a moneymaker, ((like at RiteAid!)).

Anonymous said...

Although I only "couponing" six months ago I learned very quickly that I was not going to score every deal. Yes some things might be nice but do we really need and will we really use it. I started to get depressed and unhappy bc I knew I was not saving much and ending up with things we might not use.
I learned that it was better to have a good supply of essential food and keep the freezer stocked with meats that I can use over time.

I only go to Publix for groceries once per wk and either CVS or Rite Aid when necessary. I go to Target every other wk but only for things that are essentials like wipes, diapers, or laundry detergent.
Currently I am sticking with free or almost free things and I find that I am doing fairly well with just that:)

Anonymous said...

To curb the temptation to get things that we don't need, I get rid of the coupons. When I clip the coupons I put all of the "junk food" and other things we don't need in my trade pile. Then I can swap them for q's we do need. I also use the 6 month rule; once we have a 6 month supply of something I don't buy anymore of that item unitl it is used or donated. If something is free of super cheap I will still get it to donate. Someone will make good use of it!

Erin said...

Great post! It's interesting that so many couponers admit to being borderline shopping addicts. (I count myself among them!) I always wondered how much couponers truly save when overbuying (not much to hear my husband tell it!).

It is hard to pass up deals, but it's much easier when having so much stuff is a psychological burden. My husband doesn't want our home to look like a department store, so I do try to keep that in mind and use products so that they don't linger and make new purchases accordingly.

Also like others have said, I limit the stores I patronize. I used to go to Rite Aid, CVS, and Walgreens. Between ECBs and RRs, it was a burden keeping track of expiration dates and rolling deals. I dropped Walgreens, and used up a bunch of my ECBs so I wouldn't have so many to manage. I "roll" my Rite Aid single check rebates each month; the proceeds must cover all drugstore deals for the month.

I also think before paying tax on free items; sometimes it makes sense to buy them (with $X/$XX coupons), sometimes not. Ultimately, I don't think the drugstores are saving me too much money when gas and time is factored in; they're simply allowing me to indulge in my bargain shopping hobby and to try products I'd never otherwise buy or that I'd buy but use sparingly.

I also shop later in the week to try to capitalize on everyone else's deals that are inevitably posted earlier in the week. This helps eliminate extra trips (which means fewer impulse purchases) and sometimes it helps get you to your minimum purchase on $X/$XX coupons without buying extra stuff you didn't want or need. The downside to shopping later is that the "easy" deals will be wiped out. Stuff doesn't fly off the shelves with the more complicated deals.

I rarely do online deals because I like the experience of shopping in a physical store, and I rarely do the toy deals because oftentimes the featured toys are junky spacewasters. (I did do the Tag, which was a hit with my three year old, and I will probably do the games at TRU.) Right now, we have more toys on the floor than I care to pick up, so it's real easy to say "no" to those deals.

One thing that many others have said can't be emphasized enough: There is always another deal that's just as good, if not better! I really didn't believe it, but it is so true. I knew grocery sales were cyclical, but deodorant? Toothbrushes? Cleaning products? Soap? Razors? Yes, yes, yes!

Cydne said...

Most items seem to go on sale at least every 6 months, so I figured out how much we need of each type of item to last 6 months (or 12 months if the sales only occur yearly, such as cold medicine & soups). Then when things go on sale, I look at my stockpile & figure out how many of the item I need to re-stock for the next 6 months.

I only buy things we can use & would purchase anyway; I even limit what I buy to donate, because I still have to pay tax & take the time to deliver the things. I have a snack container that I put things in, so that when we would actually buy snacks (going on a trip, holiday times, campouts, etc) we pull from the snack box instead of going to the store. That way those things are not consumed in our normal day to day life & we don't have to pay full price when we do need them).

I do make an exception to my inventory rule on things that I actually make money on or if they are totally free, but otherwise, my limit keeps me in check.

Andrew and Lori Stewart said...

I have that exact same problem. It is very hard to pass up good deals.

Lisa in WV said...

My Ex-husband told me once ...(when I came home all excited about a good deal...) "I WISH I HAD ALL THE MONEY YOU SAVED US!"

free is free said...

At what point do you have a good "stockpile"?

Emily (Laundry and Lullabies) said...

When I'm considering a deal, I go through a mental checklist:

1) Is it free?
2) Do we need it?
3) Does someone else need it (homeless shelters, crisis pregnancy centers, etc.) and can we afford to give this?
4) Do I have the time/space necessary to actually go get it? (This is a big one since I have three children ages 4 and under!)

For me, running through this mental checklist helps me stay grounded. Yes, it is easy to get caught up in deal chasing, but the BEST feeling isn't seeing the "savings" on your receipt, it is seeing UNSPENT cash in your budget at the end of the month!

Anonymous said...

I have been full blown couponing with a binder for 3 years. when I started out I bought anything and all stuff that way cheap cheap & free. I wasted alot of money of money now no matter how cheap if I don't truly need it I don't get it even if it is free.

Anonymous said...

I have been couponing for about a year now. I have finnally gotten a great stock of personal and food items, I can't fit anything else in my freezer or the pantry. I still take out the same amount of money every 2 weeks for the grocery budget, but now I have at least a 3rd to half of it left every check. I have been stashing it to get my husband a xbox for his birthday/Christmas. Since I am paying cash he will have a real surprise for Christmas this year. I will continue to do this for the following years too hopefully. I am so glad that I have learned to pass up even the 50 cent items to make my money strech in other areas better!

Anonymous said...

It's really hard to pass up deals, but if it doesn't fit into my
budget, I don't get it. I love Rite Aid shopping because I get the rebates back in a check that I can CASH!!! So if I need the rebate money for bills, I can use it for that, or roll it into another deal that makes me money.

I notice that people are talking about diaper wipes & I have a solution to saving money on those:

You need:

Coffee container (empty big red folgers coffee container works best)

1 roll of Viva paper towels

a saw (borrow your hubby's)

2 1/4 cups of water

2 tbsp of baby shampoo

2 tbsp of baby oil

1 gallon ziplock bag

Take all wet ingredients & pour into ziplock bag. Pour half of the mixture into the coffee container. Take the paper towel roll, & saw it (or cut it somehow) in half. Put half of the paper towel roll into the coffee container. Pour rest of mixture over the paper towels that are in the container w/the paper towels. Remove cardboard center. Pull your first baby wipe out of the center & TA DA!! Baby wipes! You can make a little cut in the lid so you can pull your baby wipes out of the top when you put your lid back on.


There's all kinds of blogs & places to find out how to save some money, or make your own stuff. I even found some things on you tube. Hope this helps :)

Angel

Charley said...

I have been couponing since I had my first child 4 years ago but only got into it seriously about 2 years ago. I would get upset with my husband if he went to the store for something and I had a coupon for it and he never realized why until a few months ago. I took him with me to Publix and he saw my savings. As strange as it is for me to write it (for myself!) I was a die hard Walmart fan till a friend of mine sat me down and showed me how to deal shop with Publix!!!! Now I hate Walmart (with a passion)and it is all because I never knew how bad they can rip you off if you don't shop around some. I typically shop there a couple of times a week as we go through milk like a mad man! My savings are almost always triple what I am spending and through several blog sites I have learned how to maximize what it is we need and what it is I want just because it seemed like such a good deal. I built quite a large stockpile and it started to make my husband go crazy till he went that one day to Publix and saw how little I spent that enables us to give to others who need it at such little OOP. From what I have learned and what my stepson calls my coupon OCD! I have shared coupons with 5 families at some point with tremendous savings within it and I have taught my sister how to shop once a week on $30 for her and her husband and still have great dinners. I am currently building a stockpile of free items that even if I won't use them I can use to give to my neighbors who otherwise find themselves making a trip to the foodbank but I have helped her not have to. To some people it seems crazy that I carry around a 3 inch binder with coupons, and it isn't even big enough, but when they hear what all I have done for free or nearly free they want to know how I did it. I am grateful I learned how to stretch my money and it is enough to help others even if others think it is obsessive and wasteful. I even tend to get dirty looks from others in the store while they wait on my coupons to get done but when they see my savings they are amazed and want to know how I did it and it helps my self confidence!

Evan&Amber said...

I use a spread sheet to track my spending. I try to beat the previous month's expenses. Also I gave up Walgreens!

Anonymous said...

I'll buy anything they will pay me to buy:) But I have set limits on what I will pay for other things. For example I'll only pay up to $0.25 for deodorant, but I'll buy it at that price even if I have 10 in stock because I know it is something that the homeless shelter or the pregnancy crisis home always needs. I also only go shopping once a week so if the deal isn't there when I get there or if I don't know about it before I shop I just figure I don't need it. I also stopped buying the Sunday paper unless it is supposed to be super full of coupons. I usually only end up buying one every couple of months now. I have so many freebies with internet and mailed coupons I don't bother with the newspaper. If I got the newspaper too my stockpile might take over my house :)

Shelley said...

I think it's also important to do the math a bit more.

Here are two examples. I went to Albertson's and did a ton of work to get coupons and figure out transactions for the $15 off your next purchase deal. I needed flour. I was so excited that it worked out to be about $6.00 for 25#. My husband had just spent $12.14 at Walmart for 25# of flour. So here I was thinking I was going to save $6.00 or 50%!! Then I went to WinCo and saw that they have 50# of flour for $15.00. So it is is $7.50 for 25#. So my real savings was only $1.50 for each 25#. Knowing that would have calmed my enthusiasm for "such a great deal"

Another thing about the deals (especially Walgreens) where you get a coupon off your next purchase. You can't forget to factor in the cost of the next purchase! Here's what I mean. I bought the chapstick for 2.99 and got a $3 Register Reward. Yeah the chapstick was free! Right? Wrong! I have to spend $3.00 to use that new coupon. So I really saved $3.00 on transactions that total $6.00...$3 for the chapstick and $3 on whatever to use the coupon. That is a savings of 50% not 100%. So I look at is as I will spend 1.50 on the chapstick and that isn't a good deal. I could have bought carmex for 75cents without a register reward or coupon deal.

Hopefully, I haven't confused you, but think of it this way, would you spend three dollars to buy a three dollar coupon? What if I throw in some free chapstick? The free chapstick isn't worth three bucks to me.

Anonymous said...

I never look at it as "how much am I saving?" It's always "how much am I spending?" I have a $20/week cash budget. Once it's gone, the deals are over for me that week.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only one! I started couponing in May, and since then it's been quite a learning curve. I find myself going strong for about three weeks then I'll feel really burnt out for a week! I am proud of myself and love having free stuff, but I'm a shopoholic anyway, and live within a mile of two Rite Aids, Wags, and CVS, so I was going almost every day! Now I only let myself go twice a week. And I can pass up deals that are too much trouble - Like this week, even with all the free Wags stuff, I'm really not interested because of having to find and stack three or four coupons. Then you have to find filler items, and you still have to pay tax. I may go for the free Nexxus, but that's about it.

Anonymous said...

Shelley - that is an excellent point about RRs and ECBs and out of pocket cost - that's why rolling them is really the only way to go - that way you get a lot more than double your money!

Heather said...

I have learned to pass on those deals that are really great, but get me to spend money on something I don't really want and don't need. Like candy deals. I've never had so much candy in my house. Do I really need 10 more bags because they are 75 or 90% off? NOPE!!! Picking and choosing your deals is about what you need, not just getting something cheap.

Honey said...

I think this happens to all new couponers. It did to me. But now that I have built up a stockpile I am much more likely to only get the things I need and to stick to the budget. I mean even if the toothpaste is .25, I just don't need anymore (for years to come-heehee).

Anonymous said...

I've been couponing for awhile and you have to set rules for yourself and follow them. For me if it's something I don't need I have a price limit. I'm stocked up for life on toiletries so I don't let myself get more unless they are free or better than free. For non necessity food items I wont get unless it's under .50 and then only get if it really is something we will eat. and then as far as other shopping deals go, I really think the secret is being very disciplined. You have to really be able to assess if it's something you NEED or you will honestly use, and use A LOT. Also it helps if you have a budget set BEFORE you even set food in any stores. I use the envelope system, and put what is allotted per week in an envelope and once that's gone, that regardless of an awesome sale, I have to wait till next week. That really puts a cap on spending.

Erin
alderson.erin@yahoo.com

Erin said...

One more piece of advice: know the rules of the game inside and out before shopping, and think your order through before checking out (in case you had to alter your game plan on the fly). I just got back from Wags and ended up spending $6.99--all to get some free mousse, tissues, and juice. How did I screw up? I got some butter to cover the overage for the tissues, but then I saw the clearance Soleil, so I threw two in my order. I didn't realize that I'd only get one $3 RR. When I asked for a raincheck for the Ocean Spray, the manager said they had some in back, so I finished checking out. The Ocean Spray had peelies--yay!--but the Wags coupon only came off once, so I ended up paying .98 for both. Not a bad price, but if I had tossed the second razor in with this order, I would have done much, much better. Always know the rules! Now I remember why I dropped Wags--now if I had only stuck to my own rule, I wouldn't be out seven bucks--all because of razors I really don't want nor need!

Kate said...

Angel, I love your post! When I had young children, we were on a very tight budget. Sometimes now I think back to those times and feel I've gotten pretty soft. I never bought paper towels or tissues--use a cloth for the towel and tp for the tissues. I don't think "wipes" existed then (the 70's), so I used damp washcloths, and my 2 children grew up to be lovely healthy adults. And I didn't spend all my time doing laundry. I also can't use a lot of the convenience foods the coupons are luring me to buy--partly because I like to cook, and because I think the time spent cooking balances the time spent couponing/shopping. And because I'm pretty sure my home-cooking tastes better!
That said, I enjoy couponing, and have tried some new things (some I liked, some not) and gotten good deals on things we really use, and little luxuries like candles. For me, the illusion that I "saved" money by spending money I might not otherwise have spent has always been pretty clear to me. Just mentally put that "saved" money in your wallet, and realize it's an illusion. I really enjoyed reading all your comments--women work so hard to do the right thing! Cheers to all of you, Kate

Alma said...

This is what I do...
I keep a notebook in which a write down my deals for each store each week. I visit the important stores on Sunday(or whatever day works for you). I visit the others during the week. That way I can see EXACTLY how much I'm spending each week and where!
Hope This Helps.