Coupon Mistakes to Avoid

I have went shopping twice this week and both times have made mistakes that I shake my head at.  I’ve been doing this a while, I need to be more focused and get back into the game.  Not shopping often, has made me off my ‘game’ so to speak.  Here are some things to remember to do while on your coupon shopping trip.

1.  Have a copy of the shopping ad.  It is good to compare your list to what is on sale, to ensure you are getting the right quantity of items. Not buying enough could mean, no extra $ off or Catalina’s printing.

2.  Write on your list how many of an item to get.  If there is a special Catalina that will print out after a certain # of an item is purchased, make sure you buy that amount.

3.  Multiple transactions in one trip.

a.  Write out your transactions so you know what to get in each transaction. separating transactions wrong, could potentially miss out on savings (having a copy of the ad helps too).

b.  Sort out your coupons by transaction.  This will avoid missing on using a coupon.

c.  Use envelopes for each transaction.  Write down on each envelope what to purchase for each transaction.  Put the coupons for each transaction in the envelope (separating with your fingers does not work, trust me).

d.  Don’t take your kids if possible, or bribe them with donuts so you can concentrate while checking out (I usually do the later).

4.  Read your coupon.  Make sure you have the correct quantity of items to use the coupon.  Making a mistake and throw off your purchase calculations and if doing multiple transactions, mess them up.

5.  Count and recount your items.  Make sure the quantity in your cart, matches the quantity needed to use the coupons you have.

6.  Cashiers.  Find one that is coupon friendly.  You will learn as you shop.  Who to avoid and who to go to.  I do a lot of self check out and have found those cashiers are very friendly.

7. Timing.  I have found it is easier to shop on off hours.  Early in the morning late at night and in the middle of the day during the week.  This takes stress off of you to go through the crowd and lines.  Cashiers will be less stressed too.

8. Mini Trips.  If you frequent by the store you shop at often, it may be easier to stop on multiple times, to pick up multiples of items, versus getting everything in one trip.  The store I go to will double 2 like coupons.  So that means multiple transactions or multiple stops.  sometimes I get 10 of an item.

a.  I like to break this up on seperate trips for a few reasons.

b.  I’m not clearing a shelf, giving other opportunity to purchase items.

c.  I shop at a couple stores, to spread the out my spending and the amount I’m purchasing.

d.  I’m able to use my coupons and maximize my savings.

e.  If we are trying something new, I can buy one, try it and if we like it, go back and get more.

This doesn’t mean that I’m traveling all over on purpose to shop mulitple times.  I already drive by the store 5 times a week.  I might stop by 3 times if needed, most weeks twice.

9.  Review your list before you check out to make sure you got everything you wrote down, got the right quantities, and have all the coupons you need for each item.

10.  Dont’ rush.  Shop when you have time.  Unless you are getting a few items.  Trying to rush through the store with a long list, is bound to have a mistake, mistakes cost money.



  1. Good tips! Thanks for stopping by my blog :)


  2. I am in awe of your talent and organization ::bows respectfully:: I’ve always wanted to coupon like this but it seems. so. hard. Thanks for breaking it into steps – it almost sounds like I could manage it (on a small scale) by dedicating a few weekend hours to getting all my ads/coupons together and formulating my plan of attack!

    • Awe thanks. Couponing is like eating an elephant, one bite at a time. And I’m hoping you got the Elephant on sale! :)
      Do a little at a time and get good at that, then add a little more, jumping all in at once is hard. I shop 2-3 stores now, and when I started, was going to 5-6 (insane for me as I was traveling all over 2-3 cities for deals).

      I try to show the good/bad, so you know I’m human and learn from what I did wrong or what didn’t work for me and why.

  3. This is a VERY good post! Thank you for all of the tips. I definately need to get my act together, too! I didn’t know you could predict what coupons will print. Do you know of a web site that describes that really well? I tried googling Catalina but am not sure which one is best.

  4. Great tips! I’ve just recently started to try to use coupons to my advantage. I think the biggest one is NO kids!!! I tried one time and being that they are 3 & 2 it just didn’t work well for me. Thanks for helpful hints ;)
    Laundry Care

    • Thanks for stopping Amanda. I have to be very strict to my list when the kids do go shopping with me (4 and 7). I try not to have a huge shopping list as I know by the end of the trip, when we have to check out, they melt down a bit if we are in there too long. So if I can shop when I don’t have them, it is much faster and better. Though I don’t mind shopping with one of them at a time.

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