I have mentioned before that I’ve been unsuccessful in recruiting even my closest friends and relatives into using coupons. I understand that there is so much information and misinformation out there that even the idea of beginning the process might seem daunting. Habits are hard to break. New stuff is scary. But … has anyone noticed that a one-pound pack of coffee is now 11 ounces and three times as expensive, apples are $4 a pound, and a lamb or beef roast is upwards of $30?
Are you ready to give yourself at least a CHANCE of eating well and having peace of mind about it?
Some aspects of couponing that I advocate will cost money. At least up front. I mean, to cut coupons, you at least have to own a pair of scissors. And it’s easy to go overboard or be wasteful, to follow a bad deal and have regrets, or just to simply miscalculate. I still miscalculate, as regimented as I am, I still re-evaluate and re-think strategies regularly. Focusing on the up-front costs may be a result of a) mistrust – you don’t trust me, the process, or yourself to follow it through to the reward; b) an excuse to not make changes; or c) generalized anxiety or fear based on the stress of your current situation.
We all make our worst mistakes under stress. However, if your non-specific fear of starting this lifestyle change is due to a stress response, you can be assured your stress is not going to go away. The more you waste money, the worse your situation becomes, the more stressed you become, the worse your next decision is … and on and on.
Do this one thing first, before anything else, and it’s free. And nothing you do will work until you do this.
First … simply BELIEVE that you can solve this problem.
Already, I feel resistance and skepticism from you, but don’t misunderstand me. I do not mean that in a left-coast, touchy-feely, We Are The World kind of way. I don’t mean it to be an extension of any kind of therapy or religion or mind control. I’m not trying to get you to join a cult or cluck like a chicken when someone says “Basketball”. I’m giving you the first, and most important, preparation in your journey to get what you want out of life.
Stress creates and amplifies obstacles. If you are under stress, then if someone even makes a suggestion, instead of being open-minded to the suggestion, you are thinking of all the ways it won’t work. You defeat yourself before you even give yourself a chance. Most of this happens inside your head, so start there. If you are focused on your problem, then it’s all you can think about. You aren’t open to the solution. If you shift that thinking, so that you are at least focused on the idea that there IS a solution, then you can go about finding the solution. Believe that a solution exists. Yeah, this next suggestion that someone gives you might be the answer, and might not, but a solution exists.
Things are not that bad. It’s solvable. Everything is fixable and an answer does exist. You might find the answer here, or not. My ideas might not work for you. But SOME idea … SOMEWHERE … does work for you. If you at least start with the belief that the answer does exist, and the solution is out there, you have a chance of finding it.
Next, we’re going to get outside of your head, and back into your hands and discuss a few more tangible ways to start couponing for free.
- Every store you enter, go to the customer service counter and ask if they have coupons. That goes for every store – grocery, shoe, mall, outlets, department, anything. They’ll give you a flyer or actual paper coupons.
- You already have a computer since you are here … so go to product and store websites and sign up for their free newsletters. Many will overwhelm you with newsletters, coupons, offer codes, and random crap, so DO NOT give your personal email address that you use all the time. Create a free email account on a free service and give that one out, and check it when you want to scan for offers and coupons.
- Call toll-free numbers on the products you use and ask them to send you coupons. It’s that easy. They enjoy customer feedback and I can’t tell you how many coupons I’ve received for FREE items just by calling, saying “I really like your shampoo! Can you send me coupons?” and coupons will show up in the mail. Only call the toll-free numbers.
- Every store you enter, get a loyalty card, and ask about rewards programs. This does not mean get a credit card! I never get the credit card offers. ONLY a store loyalty card, one of those with a membership number that you swipe for points when you check out. And keep track of your points and coupons so you don’t miss out.
- If you shop online, you need to be a member of an online rebate program. I use Ebates. There are others. It does not change the price you pay for the product – it’s just an incentive through the rebate program to shop more online.
- Use a search program that offers rewards or points. I use Swagbucks. There are others. Swagbucks searches might net you one to twenty points randomly during your searches, and every 450 points is a $5 gift card. Keep track of them and use them.
- Use an app on your smartphone that shows digital coupons so you don’t have to print them. I use Retailmenot. There are others. It’s a free app, and you type in the name of the store you are shopping in and it will display if there are coupon codes, or even a scannable coupon to use at the register. You’re there anyway, wouldn’t it be great to pay just a little less for that thing you were getting anyway?
These are my go-to tips for an easy way to start the couponing process with no money out-of-pocket to start. If you can get in the habit of doing these things, you’ll catch the bug and want to do more. You’ll see how easy it is to get started. It’s YOUR MONEY. Keep more of it for yourself and the things you want out of life instead of the things you have to have.