I recall starting out using coupons and learning how to save on the things we needed. I remember thinking that the only way to really save was to try to catch every deal I found. 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 spend several hours then chashing the deals. I’d to go CVS and then Walgreens and end up at Target — for starters.
Of course, I was saving money and getting many items for free. However, I began to realize that I was no longer having fun. I had passed the fun aspect and it had become an obsession. And quite frankly – not a good one. One Saturday evening, I decided that I wasn’t going to even touch the ads on Sunday morning. I needed to take a break.
When Sunday came, I picked up my newspaper and – dare I say it – threw all of the ads into the recycling bin. I kept only my coupons. 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.