Let's be honest, coupon shopping can be pretty frustrating, especially in the beginning. I consider myself to be a “coupon newbie,” having only "successfully” done it for a few months now. But, there are a few simple things I wish I would have known in the beginning that would have made those early shopping trips a little more pleasant, not to mention successful. Through trial and error, here is what I have found to make shopping with coupons a softer, easier process.
1. Make a shopping list with a note of any coupons you plan to use next to the items on your list.
2. Organize your coupons ahead of time so that you are not fumbling through them in the checkout line, frustrating both you and the people in line behind you.
3. Read your coupons carefully ahead of time. Double check the expiration date, read the fine print, and if you plan to double them make sure they don’t say “Do Not Double” on top (unless the store permits it).
4. Bring the store ad with you to cross reference, as stores frequently run out. Often times the store doesn’t have their sale items marked or the sale price doesn’t ring up on the register. Having the ad in hand to show the cashier if need be is very helpful.
5. Try to shop when it is not busy if you can. I prefer early mornings or late evening when people are either at work or at home. Cashiers are generally more patient during these times and you feel less pressure when you pull out that huge stack of coupons!
6. Try to know the store policy. You can find Target’s policy on line here. Many bloggers have coupon policies on their posts. The Krazy Coupon Lady has several posted on her site (here). You can always ask at customer service, but unfortunately you may get innaccurate information there.
7. Watch the cash register as your items are being rung up. It is the fastest way to get errors corrected, and I have found they do happen frequently during checkout.
8. If you run into a problem with the cashier who is checking you out, don’t be afraid to ask for the manager. I have often found that I know the store’s coupon policy better than the person checking me out does. The manager is usually knowledgeable and can help with any problems.
9. Don’t go shopping when hungry. This can lead to impulse shopping that you will later regret!
10. If at first your coupon shopping trips don’t succeed, try, try again! I had many unsuccessful shopping trips in the beginning, where deals I so carefully planned didn’t work out or the cashier was completely rude and made me feel like a criminal for using coupons (yes that does happen from time to time.) But, I have kept at it and am happy to report the bad “couponing” experiences are few and far between now. The amount of money I have saved my family has made it all worthwhile!