We're reader-supported and only partner with brands we trust. When you buy through links on our site we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Learn More. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date and time indicated and are subject to change.
We all make mistakes!
But when it comes to couponing, if you make these mistakes, you won’t stick with couponing long term because you’ll get frustrated and burned out.
So, make sure you’re not doing these things if you want to save 50-75% on your groceries over the long haul.
1. Not being realistic about savings goals.
When I first learned how to coupon, it was painful to buy anything unless I could stack a coupon and a sale and get it for dirt cheap. But the reality was I needed to keep buying things even when I didn’t have coupons. (My family can only handle eating my stockpile of cold cereal for so long.)
It can take months to build up a good couponing stockpile, one that has a variety of food and household essentials.
Instead, I should have shopped around the sales to save at least 10% (instead of the 50-75% I save with coupons). At least until my stockpile could feed us.
2. Not taking a picture of my receipts with the Ibotta app.
Ibotta will give you free money when you buy items they offer rebates for. It’s so easy to do — you just “unlock” the offer by tapping it and then scan your receipt or upload a picture of it to the app. Ibotta will pay you through PayPal within 24 hours.
It’s a total mistake to pass on Ibotta.
3. Chasing down every deal that pops up throughout the week.
Don’t do it unless you want to give up couponing after about a week.
The reality is that stock-up worthy deals you see that you don’t think you can pass up will come around again. I promise! Especially deals for household items like Tide deals, diaper deals and toilet paper deals.
In order to make couponing a part of your life, choose one store to master and then add another store as you feel ready. And don’t try to do every stock-up deal you see!
4. Buying things just because they’re cheap.
I’m talking about buying 25 boxes of Pop-Tarts when your whole family hates them and justifying it because they were $0.50 per box.
It can be really hard to pass on items that are practically free, but it’s important to think through whether your family will actually eat them. And if you’ll be able to eat them all before they expire (if you decide to stock up).
Don’t worry — if you made this mistake already you can always donate your couponing stockpile to charity.
5. Not paying attention to a coupon’s fine print.
I bought some Chocolate Special K cereal when the coupon was for regular Special K. I didn’t realize the coupon specified a difference.
You must buy the exact item, quantity, size, etc. that the coupon states. It’s actually considered coupon fraud if you do this and get away with it.