To keep your budget, sanity and savings at optimum levels, you’ll want to make sure your couponing adventures avoid these 16 mistakes:

 

1. Don’t forget: ‘One coupon per purchase’ means you can use multiple coupons.

When a coupon says “one coupon per purchase,” that means you can use one coupon for every qualifying item being purchased.

So, if you have 3 bottles of Tide and 3 coupons for Tide, you’re good to go. Check the fine print for limits, though.

 

2. Don’t photocopy coupons — it’s illegal.

While you want to get a “steal,” I don’t want you getting in trouble with the law. Copying coupons is considered counterfeiting by law, and you could be prosecuted.

If you really need more than two copies of a coupon (the max number of prints allowed on Coupons.com), ask a friend or family member to print the coupon you need, or simply buy extra newspapers for more inserts.

 

3. Don’t throw away your receipts just yet (and enjoy up to 40% savings)!

In addition to keeping receipts for obvious reasons (like, in case you need to return something), keep those proof-of-purchases!

Use them to make money with rebate apps — like Ibotta and Checkout 51 — or with earning apps like Receipt Pal and Receipt Hog. Ebates will get you up to 40% back!

Receipts often have invitations to take customer satisfaction surveys, which could lead to additional freebies or savings! Learn more ways to earn with your purchases here.

 

4. Don’t forget to stack coupons — it really is the best way to save.

If a store offers a coupon or loyalty-program promotion for a specific product that you happen to have a manufacturer coupon for, don’t be shy — use both.

Stacking store and manufacturer’s coupons during a sale is what gets us all those amazing deals!

At Target, you can stack a dollar-off manufacturer coupon, a gift-card promo, a percentage-off Circle offer, a rebate app offer and a REDcard discount all on one item!

 

5. Don’t ruin your day (and others’) by shopping during rush hour.

Pulling out 20 coupons in the checkout line at 6 p.m. — when people are picking up their dinner after work — might not be the best idea.

Try shopping in lite-traffic hours: first thing in the morning, midday, or late night. Couponing is more fun when everyone’s in a good mood.

 

6. Don’t forget to download your store’s app to save up to 50% without paper coupons.

Many stores offer discounts, price matching and coupons via their apps. If you frequent a store and you’re using only printed coupons, you’re missing out on a world of savings.

For example, Target’s free Target app saves you 5-50% on products paperlessly — just have the cashier scan your unique barcode at checkout

While you’re at it, log in the store’s public WiFi to make sure their app doesn’t struggle to get a signal at checkout.

 

7. Don’t skip price matching and competitor’s coupons.

We have a list of 27 stores that will either take competitors’ coupons or match the best price in town. Take advantage of the competitiveness and bank the savings.

Don’t forget to bring a competitor’s ad (or other evidence of lower pricing), make sure the details match and be aware of store’s price matching policy.

PRO TIP: Use the free Amazon app’s barcode reader to quickly compare online and in-store prices.

 

8. Don’t argue with a cashier without checking the deal details, fine print, or coupon policy first.

You’ve got to be the expert as you hit the checkout line.

Be prepared; make sure the coupons you have in hand match the products you’re about to buy — to the ounce!

It’s also important to know each store’s coupon policies — it’ll keep you and the store honest!

 

RELATED: 15 Couponing Mistakes You’re Making at Target

 

9. Don’t assume cashiers know you’re about to do multiple transactions — tell them in advance.

While you’re at it, let any customers waiting in line behind you know, too. It’s the nice thing to do!

10. Don’t be preachy with your couponing; brag with us instead!

I get it — couponing is exciting! And you want everyone to experience it! Despite your good intentions, not everyone wants to be “preached” to about couponing.

If curious people want to learn more or how to get started, tell them what you know or refer them to your favorite resources (like The Krazy Coupon Lady *wink*).

Save your brags for the bragging section on KCL instead.

11. Don’t miss the opportunity to speak to a store manager about issues — it may help in the long-run.

Talk to the store manager about concerns first (rather than going straight to corporate). It’ll teach you about store policy and start a beautiful friendship with local managers.

For instance, Walmart gives their store managers the power to make final decisions about coupon usage in their stores. No frustrating corporate call needed.

12. Don’t have a bad attitude, because kindness goes a long way.

We don’t want to give couponing a bad name, right? Be kind and unobtrusive. Smile! Thank store employees excessively. They’ll remember that!

 

13. Don’t miss mail-in rebates, either!

Rebates are a time-tested way of saving money after purchase. Check retailers’ websites for information on how to get mail-in cash rebates.

You’ll probably have to wait a few weeks for the cash, but when it comes, it’s glorious.

 

14. Don’t go to the store without a plan (or the KCL app).

Know what you want to buy, where you’re going to buy it, and how you’re going to buy it.

Download the KCL app, add your favorite deals to a shopping list, and stick to the plan. It’ll save you time, money and sanity.

And that said . . .

15. Don’t buy items you don’t need — unless there’s a purpose!

Just because you clipped a coupon for something doesn’t mean you have to buy it.

If you already know your cat hates Fancy Feast, don’t buy another five containers hoping he’ll develop a taste for it just because it’s on sale.

That said, you could always use those extra/unnecessary items to help people in need.

 

16. Don’t lose heart — set a realistic budget.

Expectations can be a killer. If you have a coupon savings goal in mind and don’t meet it right away, discouragement could set in. Don’t worry; it takes time to set proper expectations.

Analyze your shopping bills after a couple of months, and then set goals below your average for a realistic spending budget. You can do this!

 

UP NEXT: The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Couponing