I knew that it couldn't be like the show all the time, and that t.v. often twists and edits show for the ratings, but I didn't realize how HARD it was going to be to do this! All those people on the show make it appear effortless. Yes they all talk about how much time they spend and yadda, yadda, yadda, but what they don't talk about is the starting point. So here are a few of the truths that I have found so far myself.
- It Takes More Money To Start: Luckily I was somewhat prepared for this, having read in a book that it sometimes takes more money to start than you originally spend. Well, I have to say this is completely true! I know it sounds nuts at first, I mean the whole point of couponing is saving money off your groceries, and you are right. Here's the catch, until you're stockpile is complete, you will be buying the "sale items" AND the regular weekly groceries you/your family consume. Even if meat and toilet paper aren't on sale, and you don't have a coupon, you still have to have them. Which kind of leads into my next lesson.
- It's Easy To Get Carried Away: I will admit that I spent too much extra in my first month. I had visions of a big and beautiful stockpile dancing in my head when the reality is that kind of a stockpile takes a lot time, effort and the patience to wait for the best deal. Don't get me wrong, I've gotten all this stuff so far much cheaper than if I'd paid retail, and we did need , well most of it, but I shouldn't have stretched my budget has far as I did to do it. I recently ready on another couponing site the advise to budget into you grocery bill X amount of dollars a shopping trip that will be dedicated to your stockpile. They suggested $25 week, I found this to be very good advice, and fully intend to start doing this my next month of couponing. I will let everyone know how well this has worked for me.
- Like, Follow, and Friend As Many Sites As You Can: I think I have around twenty facebook pages that I have "liked" in the past month that have to do with couponing. Plus I follow a couple different blogs, and have a couple other websites that I visit. Granted a lot of the information I get is repeated over, and over from all these sites BUT. I have also found little nuggets of information and wisdom that is unique to the one place. Whether one describes the coupon lingo better, offers better beginning tips, explains how they use the coupons, or even leads you to other websites that help you would be surprised how much you can get from a lot of different people.
- Do What Feels Right For You and Your Needs: You will ready a lot of different advise on how to start. Most of it basically the same, some of it completely different. Don't be afraid to try something, and if it doesn't work, try something else. Heck, as far as that goes don't be afraid to just take what they say and make it yours. Don't forget that most of these people you will follow, and use live in completely different areas of the US, and have different needs based on that. Someone who lives in a big city with 15 stores right around the corner, has different needs than the rural person with 5 stores in 30 miles.
- Be Considerate To Other Shoppers & Stores: If you watch the show, and you know which one i'm talking about, they almost always show the shoppers clearing at least one shelf as if it were an everyday thing. Funny thing is if you notice, most of them have put in orders, and I think the show asks them to clear a shelf or two just for the sake of the show. Nothing is more frustrating then walking into a store for a good deal and finding that someone has come in already and taken them all. Yes, rainchecks exist, but if it's a store like Walmart, and it's not a sale item, just an everyday you have to wait forever for it to get restocked. (If anyone from Salina reads this please take it to heart, there are some terrible shelf-clearers in that town!) If you're to new, shy or nervous to ask the store people if they do that.... call. That's what I do, that way if they do say no, or heaven forbid I get a jerk, it's no biggy. I just hang up the phone. Try to remember that, especially now, there are a lot of people out there on tight budgets looking for good deals themselves. Whether they want to use coupons, or just get a good deal on sale, it can be a big thing if that deal is gone, because someone thought they needed 100 things of hand soap.