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Start and Stay Small: Though it's tempting to go to eight different stores every week to get all the great deals, stick with one or two when starting out. Learn the coupon policy, and focus on those weekly rock-bottom prices. Even with know-how, you should still keep things on a moderate scale. Seasoned coupon shoppers may frequent one or two grocery stores and a drugstore each week. This saves on fuel, time, and a big headache!
Sale Cycles: Remember that this is not the one and only time that toothpaste will be free or pasta will cost a quarter. The industry standard for coupon and sale cycles is three to four months. Instead of buying a three-year supply of spaghetti sauce all at once, just get enough to get your family by for three to four months. For non-perishables, having a year supply is a good target.
Stockpile: Once you gain a reasonable stockpile, you'll be heading to the store less often. You'll already have all the shampoo and deodorant you need for the next year, and your cereal stash will put your neighbors to shame. A stockpile also frees you from having to run to the store every afternoon to buy what you need for dinner. Instead you can go "shopping" in your stockpile and spend more time cooking, studying, or having family time.
Set a Pace: Couponing is not a sprint, so there's no need to dash about to every store as fast as you can to beat everyone else. Your worst enemy is yourself if you take on too much. Set a pace you can maintain. Sitting down and scheduling couponing time (clipping, organizing, planning out trips, and shopping) can be very beneficial. Know when to slow down and focus on other things, and you'll find couponing to be a relaxing, enjoyable, and profitable hobby!
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