|A Beautiful Sight|
When you start couponing progress is slow and after some critical mistakes you may be tempted to give up. Trust me when I tell you that it will become easier, your savings will grow in amount, and it will begin to take up less of your time. I will not tell you that you will stop making mistakes or having mishaps when out shopping with coupons.
Even though I am now saving 40-50% on my grocery and drug store bills, there are still days when I want to bang my head on the table because of a mistake I or a cashier have made. But we are all here to learn, so here goes:
I try to shop during the slower hours, first thing in the morning at the start of the sale cycle for that store. That means Sunday for Walgreens and (in my area) Thursday for Publix. By shopping early the store is usually not sold out of items, plus there are fewer people for me to annoy with my coupons. Why my shopping with coupons should bother others is beyond me as it only adds a few minutes to my checkout time. I guess minutes count to some people, but I always though that was just surgeons and fire fighters.
Anywho...when I finish getting my items I check for a line with few to no people in line, thinking that I can get through quickly and, thus, irritate fewer people. Now I have got to tell you that I can get to a cashier in a deserted store and, miraculously, ten people (where did they come from?) will appear behind me.
Some days the people waiting for me to check out are good natured, interested and, basically, happy to see someone saving some money. But, every once in a while, I get a "sigher". You know, the kind that looks at their watch, shuffles their feet and sighs deeply. So, I just try to concentrate on what the cashier and I are trying to accomplish, which is to check me out with as few problems as possible. It's not like I am buying a hundred of something, it's just my groceries with a few stock up items thrown in.
If you watch Extreme Couponing you have seen the EC's unblinkingly staring at the register screen. There is a good reason for this; people and computers make mistakes and sometimes they are big ones. You must watch the screen to ensure that your items are scanned for the sale price, bogos are registering correctly and that your coupons are being read. Just recently I was distracted by someone in the store and didn't catch that the cashier had scanned an item twice. That's $3 out of my pocket and nothing to show for it. It's hard to prove that this has happened once you've left the store.
Most stores have a policy that you can only use as many coupons as you have items. This means that if you are using two coupons (manufacturers and stores) for one item you must pick up an inexpensive filler item. I usually need four or five filler items when shopping at Walgreens. Conveniently, they have a display of 25 cent candy sticks by the register. Dear daughter likes candy sticks so it is a win, win situation.
I will certainly share more tips in the future as I learn more about using coupons effectively. With coupon policies changing so rapidly, it should keep me on my frugal toes.