It’s easy to get really excited about saving money with coupons. When I look back on my earliest couponing days, I realize now that I was addicted to watching my total balance plummet at the register. It’s so thrilling and incredibly satisfying to witness your clipping and coupon-printing efforts make a difference in your bank account. There’s certainly nothing wrong with being moved by your savings, but make sure you’re utilizing your time and money wisely. Avoid making these common mistakes, and sharpen your skills so you can be the couponing boss that you are.

1. Misunderstanding your store’s coupon policy

Don’t head into a store blindly without knowing what coupons a store accepts and to what extent. Some grocers double coupons, while others limit discounts on Buy One Get One deals. Be the expert when you approach your checkout lane and have a printed copy of the policy for reference.

2. Spending money on items you don’t need

Just because you clipped a coupon for it doesn’t mean you have to buy it. If you already know your cat hates Fancy Feast, don’t buy another five containers hoping that he’ll develop a taste for it just because it’s on sale.

3. Going to the grocery store without a list

Stay organized and prevent yourself from straying down an aisle you would like to peruse but don’t need to go down. Shopping without a list is like inviting a hungry money monster into your bank account to indulge in impulse buys. Taking a list with you will also save time since you’ll set aside the coupons ahead of time.

4. Not setting a realistic budget

If you have a coupon savings goal in mind and don’t meet it after the first couple of shopping trips, you’ll probably get burned out and discouraged. When you get burned out and discouraged, you quit. Don’t set goals without first analyzing your grocery bills after a couple of months of shopping, then set goals below your average for a realistic spending budget.

5. Forgetting about coupons because items are already on sale

Manufacturers offer coupons to persuade consumers to try their product. They really want you to purchase their merchandise, which means they’ll promote a product in many ways—including simultaneous offers. So the next time you see a sale, don’t forget to take advantage of your coupons, as well.

6. Using debit or credit cards for purchases

The savviest of couponers make shopping lists and stick to them using their already-set-aside coupons. When you plan ahead, you tend to stick to your goals—unless you’re going to rely on your Visa to pay for purchases. Bringing a set amount of cash instead will help keep you within budget.

7. Not stacking coupons

Fully take advantage of all the coupons you can. If a store offers a coupon for a specific product that you happen to have a manufacturer coupon for, don’t be shy—use both. Doubling up store and manufacturer’s coupons during a sale is what gets KCLs all those amazing deals!

Don't Make These 7 Couponing Mistakes