Now, you must get out there and try one deal.
Since not all deals are made equal (some are more complex than others), I recommend that you find an easy deal that you fully understand, gather the coupons needed (if any), go out there and give it a shot.
I still remember my first couponing trip. I was so nervous, I was shaking! I must have walked through every aisles of the entire store 3 times before I had the guts to go checkout. LOL! True story.
I was scared to make a mistake, scared they would refuse me, scared I will screw something up, etc. 🙂 But I made it out alive, and from that point on I was hooked!
Here are some newbie tips for your first (or first few) couponing runs:
1. Avoid Extremely Hot Deals
Some hot deals (ones that many people desire) may not be the best deals to try as your “first run”, because they may likely be all sold out and I don’t want you to leave disappointed. 🙂 So, if you had planned on doing a hot deal, keep in mind that it may be sold out and prepare to have a backup deal to do.
2. Pick Easy Stores
For your first run, I would avoid Walgreens just because it tends to be more complicated than other stores, especially to a newbie. If you have a Target, that’s a good store to start.
I’m not saying don’t go to Walgreens. In fact, if you understand it based on our tutorials, there’s a hot Walgreens deal, and you feel up to the challenge, then do Walgreens. But if I was teaching my best friend how to coupon, Walgreens wouldn’t be my first pick to send her off on her first run.
3. Nothing is 100% Smooth
…except a baby’s bottom. 🙂
In couponing, its pretty common to run into bad experiences. Maybe, your cashier gives you a hard time. Or you made a mistake in your math. Or the item for the deal you want to do is sold out. Or you *something* doesn’t quite go as planned.
While these experiences will feel discouraging, frustrating and even painful, know that this is completely normal. It’s especially normal for newbies that are just getting into something. It’s not going to be 100% perfect right out of the gate and that’s totally okay!
4. Read Coupon Policies and Coupons
Its a good practice to read and even print out store coupon policies to take them with you to the store. Sometimes, stores will refuse a coupon saying that its their policy, while their coupon policy states otherwise. Stay calm and point it out on their policy if you need. If they still refuse to accept a coupon, you can try taking it up with management or (if necessary) contacting that store’s corporate office. Keep in mind that most coupon policies do state that coupon acceptance is at the discretion of the manager. Either way, you’ll catch more flies than honey! Try to stay pleasant and polite; you’ll get better results (I promise)!
Its also important to read coupons. Coupons usually have limits written on the coupon. Know this number. Stick to the limit and you shouldn’t have any problems.
Tip: The most common issue for a newbie has to do with the verbiage “Limit Per Purchase” vs. “Per Transaction”. Limit 1 per purchase means you can use at most one coupon per item of the product, not transaction. Limit per transaction or per visit or per person is the total number of coupons you can use per transaction/visit/person.
Some inexperienced cashiers will confused “purchase” with the meaning of “transaction”, and try to limit your coupon usage to one. When this happens, point this out to them, and if they still refuse, ask to speak to a manager.
5. Take it Easy on Yourself.
When you feel discouraged, give yourself a virtual pat-on-the-pack and say “Great job! You are still learning and already doing so great! I’m proud of you for trying! On to the next deal!” Remember, even $1 saved is $1 you didn’t have before!
Truthfully, looking back, I only have one regret, and that is being too hard on myself when things didn’t go well. Whether that’s messing up the math, or picking an unfriendly cashier, mistakes will happen because we’re all human.
Also, take it easy. When I started, I would get so stressed out over a deal that I would lose sleep over it, and then I would get sick from lack of sleep. Horrible, I know. That’s why I give this advice from personal experience: take it easy. It’s just a deal. Your health and well-being is MUCH more important.
So, learn from my mistakes. Be nice to yourself. If you’re finding yourself becoming too stressed out, take a step back, skip the deal. There’s always a new deal just around the corner – I promise.
Also remember that mistakes create the foundation for learning any new skill. When mistakes happen, write them off as being part of the learning experience. Every single person that ever started couponing started at a mistake-making newbie at some point in time. You’re not alone!
Go out and do your first deal. Go get ’em, Grasshopper! I wish you great success.