For some it’s alcohol, gossip, smoking, food or even exercise that they are addicted to. For me, it’s the thrill of the hunt, capture, and bringing it home! Yep, I'm a shopaholic. There's no way around it. I love to buy things but hate to spend money. I get an irrational "high" from buying things at rock bottom prices. My heart races, my palms get sweaty, and my hands shake with excitement as I gather my "better than generic" deals.  Although, upon handing over the cash, I feel the guilt from buying those items I could have done without.

I'd be willing to guess that most of you, my fellow couponers, could be addicted too!

I recently let two Sundays go by without getting a paper or even touching my coupon binder! I knew I had to let a few weeks go because I had already stocked up at the beginning of the month.  I had more than enough to last us through the month and had already gone through my cash allotment for food. At first I got nervous thinking, "I might miss a great deal…But what if I need that item….someday? I have a coupon and it's going to expire…What if it's free?" If you find yourself spending more money couponing and buying things you don’t need because it’s a “good deal,” here are some tips to keep from going overboard.

  • Use a cash budget for the month. Keep it in an envelope somewhere safe, and only take it out when you know you'll be going to the grocery store. Use it on food only. When it's gone, it's gone. (You'll re-prioritize whether you really need that fourth box of Mac and Cheese because you have a coupon).
  • Coupon for only what you NEED or what you WILL use. If you're not pregnant, don't start clipping diaper coupons and stocking up on wipes. If you're lactose intolerant, don't stock up on yogurt just because you have a coupon.
  • Keep an ongoing tab on your stockpile. Don't wait until you have three full bags of frozen food to see if it will fit in your freezer.
  • Don’t look at the paper or the advertisements. It won’t tempt you to purchase something you don’t need.
  • Don't get caught up in the store hype. It won't be the last sale known to man. They'll have another next week.  It may even be better than this week.
  • Don't let it become an obsession! It's your job to be responsible with your money, and your family should not have to pay the price with your absence. Coupon at naptime, bedtime, or on your lunch break. Set a timer when you're organizing and looking for deals both online and in your paper. When the timer goes off, be done for the day. Saving money is not worth sacrificing family time.
  • Instead of rushing to the store to use a coupon that’s going to expire for something you don’t need, give it away. Give it to someone who will use it. I recently did this with formula and diaper coupons. You never know how it will help someone else!
  • Remember, when you are in the store, never clear the shelf. Someone else is bound to come along looking for the same deal as you. Share the wealth and settle for two jars of beans rather than eight.

This has been a guest post by Drew from Kenosha, WI
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Extreme Couponing Rehab: How to Keep From Going Overboard