When I was starting out couponing and learning how to save money — and I mean REALLY saving money — I thought that the only way I could do so was to catch every single deal. I would sit down on Sunday morning with my ads in hand and work hard to try to figure out which deals were the best and write everything down. I would then make trips all over the place — CVS, Walgreens, Target…the list goes on.
Sure, I was saving a lot of money and getting free products, but then I realized I was no longer having fun doing it. It turned into an obsession. And quite frankly – not a good one. So, one Saturday evening, I decided that I wasn’t going to even touch the ads on Sunday morning. I needed to take a break.
So, Sunday morning came around. When I picked up the newspaper, I opened it and pulled out only my coupon inserts. I put the rest of the ads immediately into the recycling bin. I almost felt as if I could relate to the cigarette smoker breaking cigarettes in half and throwing them away.
While it was a hard thing to do, I did survive! Who would have thought that I could miss out on more free toothpaste and live to tell about it!? Quite honestly, I wasn’t sure I could. I had become hooked to finding the deals. I was fearful that I would miss out on the “deal of the century” and kick myself. Since I didn’t wan this to happen, I started to do some research.
I started to watch the fliers for products I used and when they were free. I quickly learned that Diet Coke would have Extra Care Bucks attached to it about every 4 – 6 weeks at CVS (at the most). I paid attention to Walgreens and noticed that if I missed out on a deal at CVS the week before, I might find it at CVS the following week – or vice versa. It was then that I had an epiphany – “IT IS OK TO NOT RUN EVERY DEAL.”
Once I realized this and started to let go, I started feeling better. I felt on edge on Sundays. I felt that if I didn’t get to the store soon enough, the products would be gone and I’d miss out and be angry. I do look through the ads and plan my trips. However, they aren’t every single week — or even every two weeks. In fact, there are times I have to MAKE a trip to CVS or my Extra Care Bucks will expire.
If you find yourself trying to run every deal, here are questions to ask yourself:
1. Am I spending more time trying to run deals/save money than with my family?
2. Do I really need one more tube of toothpaste to add to the 14 I have in the closet?
3. Does your heart palpitate at the thought of missing out on free laundry detergent?
If you answer yes to any of these, then you too might suffer from DSS (Deal Searchers Syndrome). The cure? Do what I did — don’t look at the ads. Stay out of the stores. Sure – it is hard, but you’ll actually feel better and learn that it is OK to let a deal pass this time and catch it in a few more weeks.