Couponing should be fun…not stressful! Here are 5 easy steps you can take to reduce frustration while using coupons.
1. Prepare for your trip before going to the store
This is something I have had to learn the hard way. When I first started couponing I would drag every last one of my coupons to the store and hope for the best. It usually resulted in hours of flipping through my binder in the middle of the store. By the time I got up to the register to check-out I was overwhelmed and exhausted.
What I’ve learned is that it is much easier to do all of this work before heading off to the store. I look at the write-up for the store that I am planning to visit, select the deals I would like to do, and clip and print all my coupons right in the comfort of my own home. It is much less stressful and I can take a break if I want too. Now, I do still bring all my coupons to the store on occasion when I think there might be some good clearance deals, but it is much easier to pull coupons for a few items rather than my entire shopping list!
2. Do Cashier Recon
Let’s face it, some cashiers admire our shopping savviness and others make it their own personal mission to reject any and all coupons possible. A friendly cashier can make all the difference in the world for us couponers. There is nothing worse than getting up to the register to find a grouch who is going to question every coupon you hand over.
Sometimes there are not many options, like in drugstores, but if you are shopping at Target, Wal-Mart, or your local grocery store there are usually a few different cashiers to choose from. Before you pick and isle and start unloading pause and take a good look around. How are the cashiers interacting with the other customers? Do they have a smile on their face? Do they look happy to be doing their job?
I promise that those 20 seconds that you take doing "cashier recon" will be well worth it! After you find a good cashier make sure to look for them next time you’re shopping and strike up a friendly conversation. A little bit of nice can really help to brighten up someone’s day and in return it will help the process of checking out to go much smoother.
3. Be prepared before you get to the register
You’ve just spent an hour filling your cart with all your deals and you are more than ready to get out of the store and take them all home…I hear ya! Before you rush up to the counter to check-out go through your mental “check-out time” list and get organized! It is frustrating for everyone when you’re having to dig through the bottom of your purse to find that one last coupon that you “swear is there somewhere”. I’ve been there, done that…and it is no fun.
Here is my mental check-list before a approach my check-out lane:
-Are all your coupons in your hand and ready to give to the cashier?
-Did you forget any items?
-Do you have your shopper’s card out?
-Is your form of payment easily accessible for when it comes time to pay?
-Do you have your reusable bags ready to give to the bagger?
-Do I know how many coupons I have so I can make sure they all came off?
Once I’ve gone through that list I can walk up to the check-out line with a calm cool and collected attitude. It’s show time baby…time to watch that total drop-drop-drop!
4. Keep coupon policies handy
If it has not happened to you already, you will likely be the victim of poor training at some point in your "couponing career". There are many cashiers that seem to have no clue what their store's coupon policy is. Sometimes this can be nice for us couponers because it means a quick and easy check-out, but other times "Suzy Cashier" might decide to disregard the store's coupon policy all together and try to enforce the "Suzy Cashier" coupon policy. In order to be prepared to these types of situations, it will be to your advantage to have the store coupon policy with you. That way any confusion or disagreements can be trumped by what the policy states and it makes it much easier on everyone. That way any confusion or disagreements can be trumped by what the policy states and it makes it much easier on everyone. Knowing the store policy may also be good when using a coupon for a big ticket item such as Cabelas coupons for outdoor gear.
You can find all of our local coupon policies on Bargain Blessings under Store Coupon Policies section.
5. Know when to walk away
When all else fails it is so important to be ok about walking away from a deal. After you’ve been couponing for a while you will realize that they next big deal is just around the corner. Sometimes it just isn’t worth it to go round and round and round with a cashier or manager trying to prove your point. If you do so and get the deal that is great, but you really have to consider if it is worth it if it is going to stress you out and put you in a bad mood for the rest of the day. In my opinion it just isn’t worth it.
It also helps to always keep your original reasons for couponing in mind. If your goal is to provide for your family it probably isn’t accomplishing much if you got that box of cereal for free, but it took you an hour of arguing to do so and it ruins the rest of your day. I coupon because I have a fun time doing it. The moment it starts to be not fun I have to step back, ask myself why, and reassess the situation from the point of view. Yes, sometimes that means leaving that free product behind, but I’m ok with that!
If you really feel strongly about a deal and are getting nowhere with the cashier or manager I have found that it is easier to leave the store and place a call to the store manager the following day. This way it gives you some time to gather your thoughts and calmly discuss the situation.
Moving right along…Check out the next section of my Getting Started with Couponing guide: Ethical Couponing.
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