As a veteran couponer, I recently found myself in a predicament. I have a well-defined stockpile and a coupon notebook with all coupons up-to-date and filed. There was nothing I really needed to add to my stockpile, and I was getting bored. Instead of staying bored and adding more stuff to a stockpile that didn’t need anything, I opted to take 14 days off of couponing so I could refocus and polish my couponing skills in new ways. Consider taking your couponing break today—and here’s a plan to fill the next 14 days so you can sharpen your money-saving skills too!

1. Focus on freebies or moneymakers

During my couponing break, I decided to only shop for freebies or purchase moneymaker items. Take advantage of stacking coupons, using store rewards, and increasing your app use! Perfecting your couponing skills during a less hectic time in your schedule will help you make more money in the long run.

2. Develop improved couponing habits

As much as I like a challenge, I still get stuck in a rut doing everything routine. My goal is to set my standards much higher! Just recently, I went to Walmart and purchased Shout for the Checkout 51 and Ibotta offer. My Ibotta was accepted, but my Checkout 51 receipt didn’t scan well and was rejected. Now I can’t find the receipt so I’ve missed out on a dollar. I ended up paying $1.87, instead of $0.87. Check out this article on how to keep your receipts more organized.

3. Thank your favorite store clerks

There’s one clerk at my favorite store named Karen (she’s the best and a fellow couponer). I know about her life, the two jobs she works, that she lives alone, and that she loves to bake. I intend to speak to the store manager or send an email to my local store and give her a “shout out” for being a great store clerk and always having a smile on her face. Another way to show your gratitude is to share a basket of freebies such as trial sizes or goodies with your favorite employee! KCL offers some great tips for showing a little love in this article.

4. Scout out a new store to conquer

My go-to store is Harris Teeter. I very seldom venture to other stores because Harris Teeter saves me the most money and it’s closest to my home. Plus, I’m familiar with the store and that saves me a lot of time. Within the next two weeks I’m going to introduce myself to the Kroger grocery stores in my town by immersing myself in their sales flyer and coupon policies. I also plan to conduct an introductory visit to get familiar with the store and take advantage of items that my local Harris Teeter may not offer. Here’s an article that can help you start couponing at a new store with ease.

5. Get creative with your stockpile and plan future gifts

I have a big family, so that means I’ll be purchasing a lot of gifts in 2015. Throw in a couple of weddings, two babies on the way, and my budget will be spreading itself pretty thin! This is why NOW is the time to get started on my gift list for the year. My daughter recently returned the large pink tub that I fill for her every year with everything from makeup, razors, hairspray and even socks. Plus, she added a red crate container so I could fill it up with personal hygiene items for her husband. Believe me, this will take a while to fill. My plan is to inventory the stockpile I currently have, start filling up the containers, and then shop for moneymakers and use my store rewards to fill my gift list. KCL offers some helpful hints on making gift baskets from the stockpile you already have in this article.

Take a Break from Couponing: 5 Tips to Maximize Your Time