Avoiding Couponing Distractions

Example of an American grocery store aisle.
Bargains are everywhere which causes distractions. Image via Wikipedia

The couponing stars are not aligned for me this week and it has to do with too many distractions. 

Distracton #1: Bargain Hunting

After leading a successful Couponing 101 class–suddenly I’m coupon challenged. Last night I tried an experiment at Stop & Shop. I took ALL of my coupons to see if I could snag unadvertised deals. The store was empty and quiet, but I was distracted by searching for deals and matching coupons. I ended up spending more than I would have otherwise, only saving a measly 38% on my bill.

I do better (savings of 50% to 75% or more) by taking a tightly controlled envelope of coupons and a list to the store rather than venturing out with every coupon. But others, as we learned in class, do better by taking all their coupons with them on a shopping trip.

Distraction #2: Debit Card

It’s not about what you save, it’s about what you spend. So another distraction I plan to eliminate is my debit card on grocery trips. By using a debit card, I tend to “nudge up” the total by getting an extra item or two that is not on my list. Next week I begin my cash-only project for groceries. I’m giving myself an envelope with a generous $75 a week in cash to stock up on groceries for my family of four (which includes my eating machines– husband, 12-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl) and two ravenous pets.

An HSBC Solo debit card issued in the UK in 2007
No more debit cards when shopping! A huge distraction which allows you to spend more when you’re trying to save. Image via Wikipedia

That’s not easy to stick to in this expensive town without using sales and coupon strategies while trying to eat healthy whole foods. My goal: get down to $50 a week in cash only for groceries. It can be done — I’ve done $30 a week before (including produce)– but I’m driven to eliminate my distractions.

Distraction #3: Kids

It goes without saying that bringing kids of any age with you on a shopping trip can be distracting. My 13-year-old daughter has an strategy when she comes shopping with me. She’ll choose something not too expensive, but not too cheap and I fall for it. She knows I won’t buy junk, so she’ll find a hair accessory or something she “needs.” Other times she grabs extra fruit or vegetables, which she knows I can’t say “no” to, but, of course it’s never on sale! On the positive side, she’s learned a lot about how to shop well with coupons!

Stay tuned as I try to turn off my distractions.

~Marilyn, TFF

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One thought on “Avoiding Couponing Distractions

  1. I understand what you mean about the coupons and distractions. We started putting the coupons we knew we were going to use ina an envelope and our binder in the cart. If something caught our eye we would go into the binder. If not then all the coupons we needed were in our envelope. It saved us alot of time and kept our tight budget in check.

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