Saturday, October 3, 2009

Learning from Mistakes in Couponing

Once again I ventured into the realm of couponing. My plan was to go to 4 different stores so I could benefit from the maximum savings. And I did--sort of.

I definitely stretch the bucks further than if I'd just shopped at one store. After factoring in the time (two and a half hours) and the problems (having to return to one store to get the Catalina coupon that didn't materialize at checkout), I can honestly say that I'm not sure this approach works well for me.

There are many reasons that I don't consider my trips a success. First, there is the time involved. Shopping at places that I don't frequent often means I spend more time looking for stuff and getting familiar with the store than actually putting the specific items in my cart.

The price stickers on the shelf at one store were so confusing that I began to doubt if I was getting the price I had planned to get. The sticker showed the old price, the new price, the difference between the those two and the sale price. That's a lot of numbers.

The sales fliers are great at pointing out the sales prices, but not so good at pointing out what is required to get those prices. In order to get the price in the very large type, you have to read the fine print and purchase the 10 or 20 necessary items noted in the fine print. Figuring all this out while actually shopping just adds to the time involved. I never did make it to the fourth store.

As a result of this experience, I have resolved to develop a strategy for future shopping trips that will help me get the shopping done in less time and still save large amounts of money. Since I am currently working full time and have a family at home, I have minimal time for coupon clipping, shopping, coupon blog reading, menu planning and grocery list making. Something has to give.

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