Anyone who has been couponing very long has surely experienced coupon burnout! The classic symptoms include:

  • You aren’t having dreams about scenarios and match-ups anymore.
  • You start feeling rebellious about your coupons and oddly want to pay full price for a candy bar.
  • You dread looking at your pile of uncut coupons, or even worse, your bundle of newspapers that you haven't even sorted through for two weeks.
  • You have no idea where chicken is on sale this week, and you don't really care.
  • You actually run out of deodorant.
  • Your husband asks you, "When are you going to start couponing again?" and he goes to buy a razor HIMSELF from Target, because YOU just can't stomach spending ten dollars on something that should have been less than $2!
  • It finally comes to a head when you look at the groceries you spent $100 on, and they fit in 3 little plastic bags. You know you should have gotten more than twice that much food for your money!

This happened to me toward the end of last year. I was tired of clipping my coupons every week. I was tired of seeing empty shelves at my favorite drugstore. I blamed my busy schedule, my kids, the TLC show, shelf clearers, and, of course, I blamed myself. I needed a system that worked a little better for me. I had a coupon binder and was using KCL's system with baseball card inserts, but the coupons were long ago expired, and it was discouraging to get it out. I needed an overhaul.

I knew that if I threw ALL of my uncut coupons away, I would kick myself the next time a deal came around that used a coupon from an older newspaper. However, I didn't want to cut everything out, or even look through all of the inserts I had.  So this is what I did:

  • I decided to look through a website like SundayCouponPreview to decide which coupons I wanted to keep. They list the coupons by insert and date.  They also include the expiration date. I wrote a pretty short list of which coupons I wanted to keep and made pretty short work of it. Everything else went in the recycle bin. It really felt good to get rid of all that dead weight.
  • The next week when my papers came, I sorted through and clipped what I thought I had a good chance of using. I decided I would definitely clip coupons for food items we normally eat. I got picky with other coupons, especially ones that I don't usually see amazing deals for.
  • I saved the coupons I didn't clip, marked the insert with the date, and slipped it into a page protector in the back of my notebook. I've learned from experience that keeping unclipped coupons anywhere else is unprofitable. You might meet someone else in the store with her binder, and she shares an amazing deal, but your coupons for that deal are at home, in the car, or who knows where! This way, I know what I have. Having it clearly marked by insert name and date in my binder makes it easier to find.
  • I also decided I would try to do KCL's "Extreme Couponing $5.00 or less" deals for Rite Aid every week. I love my local Rite Aid, and I love earning the points toward the 20% discount. So far, I've only missed going a week or two this year. My coupons are up to date. I don't mind bringing it in the store with me. I can quickly flip through and find an un-expired coupon to share with a friend.  I did an impromptu run to Rite Aid where I printed a scenario from KCL and quickly located the coupons I needed. It took me less than 20 minutes in the store, even with a toddler and a preschooler in tow!

Don't be discouraged if you're behind. Try your best to start fresh with your next batch of Sunday papers. Get something fun to pamper yourself. You'll be bragging about your deals to friends and family again in no time.

This has been a guest post by Denise from Spanaway, WA
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Chin Up: How I Recovered from Extreme Couponing Burnout