Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Snow Days and Coupon Burnout

Last week I started to feel like I had "couponer's burnout."  My last straw was when I went to Target, got $155 worth of stuff for about $40 but was disappointed because it should've been closer to $20 (my biggest trip yet).  I was right, there are a few things I have to take back that didn't ring up correctly which will take my total to about $24.  But at the time, I felt a little distressed because I blew my weekly budget with that and other shopping.  Plus my in-laws were coming that weekend and I needed to clean.  And it was going to snow again.  It was time to take a break.

I searched online and found others who had experienced Coupon Burnout.  Many of the big coupon
bloggers had at least one article talking about it.  It's a part of couponing, just like in anything you do in life.  The important thing is to recognize it and then do something about it.

Signs of Coupon Burnout:

  • Not wanting to clip coupons and check deals
  • Had bad store experiences whether it's the cashier, shelf clearers, that have gotten you down
  • Losing perspective on how good you are really doing (like me above because seriously, saving 85% on groceries is really good)
  • Overwhelmed by your stockpile
  • Envious of other people's hauls and feeling like a failure
  • Denying you and/or your family of favorite items because they aren't free or cheap and feeling the pressure from it
  • Other feelings of listlessness about couponing

Ways To Cope:
  • STOP shopping and couponing for as long as you need.  A few days, a week, or longer.
  • Stop obsessing about getting a great deal on everything, your savings percentage or stressing about missing the best deal in the sales cycle.
  • Live off your stockpile for awhile and enjoy the fruits of your labor
  • Congratulate yourself on the great savings you've already gotten and review the really great shopping trips you've scored.
  • Talk to a couponing friend about this.
  • Cut down on the amount of time you spend looking for deals and printing & cutting coupons
  • Cut down the amount of stores you shop at
  • Don't buy every good deal, even if it's free or a moneymaker.  Especially if you have over a year's supply of it at home already.  And don't feel guilty about it either.
  • Adjust your expectations.  Some savings is better than none.
  • Delegate your shopping especially on essentials and don't worry about not having coupons.
  • Shop without planning ahead and get things you really like and haven't had for awhile .
  • Give stuff away to friends, family and/or charities and enjoy blessing others.
  • Reorganize your coupons.  Get a new binder or holder or something pretty and fun.  
  • When you're ready to think about it again, make a new coupon plan - how much time you spend on sorting, putting lists together and shopping.  Basically, restarting your couponing process.
  • Be gentle and patient with yourself.  
Realize that you are in this as a lifestyle change, not a hobby for just awhile.  This is the time that your coupon high is wearing off and what you have been doing has maybe been too much.  Just take a break in whatever way you need to and then slowly start in again.  

For me, I've decided to cut out some stores from my regular weekly rounds.  I'll do Walgreens on Sunday or Monday, Target in Monti for my groceries on Thursday and then a "swing store," whatever has deals that I can't pass up.  I've also decided to pass up on deals for things that I have at least a year's supply on unless it's a moneymaker AND I will be going to that store anyway.  I'm also only clipping 2 sets of each insert (I used to clip them ALL), except for really good coupons I know I'll use.  The rest are filed in my coupon files. 

One last thing that I'm going to try to do is take a week off every month.  The first 3 weeks I'll shop like normal, but the 4th week I'll take off.  This also means that there will be no budget for the 4th week so anything I get has to be free somehow whether that's with store credit, rewards, gift cards or rebate money I earned the previous three weeks.  

This week I'm laying low and will just shop when I feel like it.  We have enough to get us through another week except for some yogurt and cheese.  I may or may not have a coupon for those things, but oh well, I have plenty money in the budget for this week. 

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