How to Handle the Embarrassments of Couponing
I am not a very out-going person. I don’t talk to strangers. I’m always worried what others are thinking or saying about me. It’s sad to say, but I actually DID care about that split second thought of theirs and would even dwell on it all while knowing they didn’t give it a SECOND thought.
I try to work on these ‘flaws’ of mine everyday but with couponing they can be much more cumbersome than just a typical flaw. They can actually keep you from doing what you need to save money and that is where I had to draw the line. I can’t save any money if I’m embarrassed by my coupons.
My biggest embarrassment hurdle to jump was my binder. At first I would take a small accordion folder for my coupons and quickly learned that this was making my shopping trips too long when I had to search through it looking for a coupon I would swear was in there. Then I moved to a small notebook with a folder pocket to take only what I wanted to buy and would even write my transaction ideas so I could mark off those I had done and to know where I left off for my next trip into town. This helped but is the reason for my jump to a binder. I went to Walgreen’s one day and found clearance Color Wonder’s that would have been FREE if I had my coupons WITH ME! I went back the next day to find someone else had found them too. They were no more. So, it was time for a binder. I don’t take it in for EVERY shopping trip, but I have it in the truck when I need it which could be at any moment or in any store!
My second hurdle is the cashiers and one I’m still trying to cope with at times. You will find argumentative cashiers wherever you go. Remember they are people with issues and problems just like us and if they have a bad day they can also forget to leave it at home. Just keep in mind that you catch more flies with honey and if someone isn’t cooperating with you, ask to speak with the manager. That’s why they are there! I’ve actually read posts from other blogs that say that a cashier said they were unable to do something with their coupons and asked to see a manager who did whatever it took to ring it up the way it was advertised (with either adjustments or voids). The managers understand that, coupons or not, you are a customer with your hard-earned money that spends equally here or there, and they don’t want to see a sale walk out the door due to a difference of opinions. There is no reason to find yourself engaged in a screaming match over a coupon, especially with someone who has no final say in the decision. This makes YOU look bad and the goal here is to help them see that we are not crazy coupon hoarders, just normal folks trying to save a buck. Kill them with kindness; works every time.
Some things to remember to help make your experience easier:
1) You have all week for the deals – Take your time and spread out your transactions. I know gas is high right now but if you have an errand that will take you by a store, stop and grab 1 or 2 of your transaction scenarios each time you go by there. By the end of the week you will have all you wanted and you didn’t have to hang out in the store for 4 hours in one afternoon.
2)Write out your transaction ideas – Going shopping with a shopping list, crazy! This way if you find yourself running low on time or funds you know what you can get today and put off until tomorrow. You don’t have to make them detailed or even legible to anyone other than yourself, as long as you know what you meant, you’ll know what to get.
3) Pay attention to your coupons – This one seems like a given but it really helps when a cashier wants to try to argue coupon usage with you. Some state one per purchase (you can use as many coupons as you want, 1 per item, but no stacking MQ’s), one per transaction (multiple transactions for multiple products), and pay attention to what item a coupon is being attached to for multiple item coupons. Some say Buy ‘this’ get $1 off ‘that’ and this means you can use a coupon on ‘this’ item too but not on ‘that’ item since that is what the coupon is giving a discount for, it will attach to ‘that’ item at checkout but ‘this’ is still coupon free. Some say $1 off ‘this’ AND ‘that’. Coupon will attach to both at the register. So pay attention to the fine print and you will know when you can use another coupon or if you need more than one transaction.
This will not solve all of your ‘beeping coupon’ nightmares but it might cut down on a majority of them. I used to have coupons beep on me EVERY time I went to the store. I haven’t had one in over 2 weeks now which is something else to be just as proud of as my savings since it’s letting me know that I’m learning!