1. Being well stocked
Couponing lets us snag rock bottom deals by pairing sale prices with coupons, and that allows us to buy products our family uses at great stock-up prices. But once you’re stocked up for a three-month supply, it's really not worth your time. Will your family really use all that toothpaste before it goes bad (yes, toothpaste goes bad after a couple of years) and how many tubes of toothpaste do you use in a year? The basic principle of stockpiling allows you to stock up at rock bottom prices and then take a break from buying that item since you have plenty for your family's needs.
2. Time is money
Before you run out for that late night drugstore deal, ask yourself if it's really worth it. Do you really need and use that item now, or can you wait until it goes on sale again in a couple of weeks? What is the opportunity cost of this trip (what do you give up when you go)? I have many times stopped myself from grabbing my coupon binder at 10 PM and asked myself these questions. Often, I’m giving up quality time with my family, personal relaxation time, or time to take care of a chore that needs to be done. Am I going to come back from the store and still be able to spend that time with my family or get that chore done, or am I cutting into my highly coveted sleep time? Remembering the opportunity cost may make the deal not seem so sweet when you realize what you are giving up for it.
3. Watch the budget
Stockpiling is an important principle for couponing, but if you don't have the money in your grocery budget to stock up on an item, you aren't doing yourself a favor. Remember, your budget needs to last you the month and shouldn't have a majority of it spent on toilet paper or toothpaste just because it's a good deal. Sure, grab a few packages, but make sure you don't overdo it. Additionally, if money is tight and you need to make your dollars stretch, don't continue to do stock-up deals on items you don't need right away. Get your milk, bread and eggs, and leave the jumbo rolls of toilet paper for next month. The deals will come again.
4. It's enough
It's okay to take a break. It's okay to spend an extra $10-$20 on your grocery bill because you got busy with life and didn't have time to plan out your shopping trip or clip all of your coupons. Not every shopping trip is brag-worthy, nor should it be. It's enough just to grocery shop to feed your family and fill your needs. Your self worth is not equivalent to the dollars you saved on a shopping trip. If you find yourself getting wrapped up in having to grab all of the deals and trying to beat your savings percentage on the next shopping trip, it's okay to take a break and remember that it’s enough.
5. Burnout happens
I recently took about a month long break from couponing. Instead, we ate what we had in the stockpile that I had built up. I had more time to spend watching movies with my family, going for a run, and catching up with friends. With the pressure to snag every deal gone, I was able to be more present in my life and enjoy the fruits of my couponing labor. Sure, I was disappointed that we had spent more on groceries that month than we usually do, but by the time I got back into couponing I was on fire again. I was pumped to snag great deals, but also regulated my trips so that I didn't overspend or skip family time just to snag a bargain. I'm couponing to live better, not living to coupon.