Feeling Stressed Over Couponing? 4 Ways to Take It Slow



Kay attended my last Couponing Workshop and reported in that she had a great shopping trip however her “brain was fried” after trying to figure out her shopping trip.  That got me thinking back to when I first started couponing and working deals.  I remember how my mind was everywhere and nowhere at the same time.  There seemed like so much information to process and so many deals in a million different directions. I too felt like my brain was fried.

I started couponing out of necessity.  After some unemployment periods, my husband and I realized we had to change our spending habits.  We started on the Dave Ramsey Cash Method and we had to cut our budget a lot.  The only thing I could cut, at the time, was my grocery budget.  So, I had to learn how to coupon and fast.  And, I barreled through that brain frying period because I had no choice.  But some people may not make it past the beginning adjustment period.  So, I wanted to give you some tips to help you through it.

1. Take Time to Get Adjusted to Your “New Job”

Do you remember the first day at your new job?  You felt a little overwhelmed and had so much to learn.  First there was learning co-workers names, then learning the companies policies for your health benefits or how to get in the building, etc.  Then, you had to learn how to actually do the job.   It took a couple of weeks but eventually it all started to fall into place.

Couponing is very similar to this.  You have to get used to the new couponing lingo, learn the coupon policies and then you have to figure out how to actually do the deals.  After that adjustment period, everything will start to fall into place.

2. Commit to Learning One Store

Each store has different policies and deals.  The best way to get started is to begin at just one store and master that store.  I started at CVS because it is a simple store to work the deals in.  You can build up a nice stockpile of health and beauty aids and even food from just doing the deals at CVS for a few weeks.  Once you have mastered CVS, you can then move on to another store such as Rite Aid, Walgreens or your local grocery store.

3. Don’t Try to Do Every Deal

As you may have noticed, there are a lot of great deals to be had.  Don’t try to do them all.  You can’t and you shouldn’t.  Start small and don’t overwhelm yourself.  If there is one deal that is very interesting to you, do that one.  Next week add on to that and so on.  If you try to do every deal you will burn yourself out very quickly and you want to do this for the long haul and not have to give up on it because you tried to do too much too fast.

For more information on this topic, what my Facebook Live Video on “Why You Don’t Have to Be an Extreme Couponer to Save a Ton on Groceries”

4. Use Resources That Do The Work For You

Living Rich With Coupons, makes it so much easier for you to take advantage of the deals.  It’s all laid out for you from where to get your coupons, where to use your coupons to how to work the deals.  So, use these resources because the best part is they are free.

Couponing and saving 50% or more on your groceries is truly life changing.  It has been for me and I want the same for each and everyone of you.  Don’t waste your hard earned dollars when we can be saving so much.  So, take your time, get adjusted slowly and please, don’t fry your brain….I’ll fry mine for you 🙂

New to Couponing, We’ll Show You How!

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  • AnonCoupon

    Thanks, I needed this. This sight is the best by the way!

    • AnonCoupon

      *site, see I’m fried 🙂

  • Michelle

    Hi Cindy..just wanted to throw a big “Thanks” your way. I have been using your site for about 3 months now and appreciate all the hard work you put into it so I can save my family money. Keep up the great work!!!

  • Sonya

    Thank you for caring! Everything you say is so true.

  • Alice G

    Amen – thanks for your guidance & this friendly reminder that to make this second nature takes time!

  • Jen G

    Agreed! Your site is so awesome, I look forward to the match ups every week. Thanks to your time and effort, I’ve saved (and continued to save) a ton. Just wanted to say that you are appreciated!

  • BB

    Thank you! I have been couponing for many years, but never to this extent and would not have been able to do it without you! The last 8 months have been amazing. You have helped me start preparing for my upcoming unemployment.

    Thank you for everything and keep the deals coming 🙂

  • Meghann

    I started couponing to save for my wedding. Soon after getting married, my husband last his job so it became a case of necessity. What you are saying Cindy is 100% true. I too started with CVS, then got comfortable enough to work Shop Rite deals. It was researching Shop Rite deals that I found your site, which has been so helpful. I recently started doing Rite Aid, but honestly it’s getting to be too much. I felt like my weekends were spent just getting all the deals and not enjoying my life. I think I’ll take a break from Rite Aid for a while but may visit if they have a great deal. I have such a great stockpile that I let others come over and “shop” from my shelves. I love this site and how easy it makes organizing everything. I have saved enough money to help pay for our wedding (almost 2 years ago), help get us through almost a year of my husband being unemployed, and now just do it because I know how much I can save. I would never go back to not using coupons! It is some work at first but once you develop your own system, it doesn’t take long to plan out your trips. And I look at it like a second job. I spend an hour or so organizing my shopping trip and save $50 or more, that’s time well spent! Not many jobs pay $50 an hour! Thank you again for all you do!

    • Cindy

      Meghann, thank you for sharing your view. I couldn’t have said it better myself. You are at a great place in your couponing and my goal is to be able to get everyone to that same place. It’s rocky at first, but it smooths out and becomes easier before you know it.

  • Becky

    Your site saved my brain 🙂

    Seriously, I started couponing when I stumbled onto your site the week before ShopRite’s dollar days last spring. It seemed to good to be true, and I got lots of free stuff by following the matchup and deal scenarios–even as a total rookie. Since I’ve moved away from Shoprite 🙁 and have to work a bit harder to put together deals.

    But my brain still gets fried over… toilet paper. I mean, when there’s a real steal I can recognize it, but I haven’t seen one for a while and am mired down in x sheets per roll vs double rolls, and triple rolls, and extra strong, and cheap brands that don’t stretch as far vs expensive brands… yeah.

    Thanks for all your deals!

  • Alicia

    Love you Cindy….your site is the best!

  • Claire

    Cindy, Thanks so much for your site and laying it out there for us. When I first started (going on maternity leave and then down to part time rather than full-time) I thought I have to get the best deals everywhere. Well needless to say I did get fried. I was running to CVS, Walgreens, Shoprite, Pathmark, and RiteAid- All on the same strip so it wasn’t alot of driving, but to much planning and thinking. After realizing I was going crazy carting a 4 month old everywhere..I just decided that CVS and Shoprite are enough..and the occansional trip to the produce outlet..and lo and behold my brain stopped sizzling! I make use of my now 7month olds 1 hour naptime on one of my days off from work and get all the planning done and then we make only 2 stops a week. Ehhh…except this week…making a few extra runs to Shoprite (on my way home from work) to take advantage of the close to free TP. Plus my Shoprite has the Kelloggs Frosted Flakes on clearance for 2.29 a box. That’s .29 cents a box after my 2 of my $5 off 5 coupons from the other week and the 10 dollar days catalina for buying 10. Maybe I’m back to a simmer…hehe…but definately not fried anymore! Thanks again!

  • AnonCoupon

    Thanks to everyone who finds/reports the various deals as well.

  • James

    Cindy is completely right. Sometimes I would get to the point where I the numbers on the page would begin to spin. I focus on Shoprite and CVS and the Mrs. focuses on Target and Walgreens. We do hit up Stop N Shop or Rite Aid, but only for a great deal and only when its something we can’t pass up. We don’t go there regularly so we don’t lose our focus. It helps keep the chaos from taking over. Looking forward to taking it easy over the next few months before getting ready to hibernate this winter!

    In all honesty, since Shoprite’s Dollar Days in the Spring, I have barely been there. We have more than a year’s worth of just about any health and beauty product, paper plates, cups, alum. foil, ziploc bags, garbage bags, detergent, fabric softener and paper towels. I will be picking up a year’s worth of toilet paper this week and then using catalinas to get free stockpile of chicken and frozen veggies. Other than a couple of free/low-priced, I will barely be in there over the next 2-3 months. I did this last gas deal at Shoprtie, but had skipped the first one. We have made a pact that no health and beauty or cleaning unless it is completely free and then we are donating it because we don’t need to have that much in the house for just the two of us.

    • Jules

      James how great that you and your wife are both into couponing! my husband left his job in January and had been working all kinds of hours at the new company he started…so im on my own with couponing. He does love the money i save, must i must admit his eyes start to cross when i start explaining my deals lol!!!!!
      I agree with Cindy you dont have to do every deal, and sometimes if im overwhelmed i take a small break from it…it will still be here when i want to do it.

      • Jules

        * but i must admit. oops

  • Miss Iris Unicorn

    I also started with CVS. And I also found your site by looking for Shoprite deals. I LOVE your site and tell EVERYONE I know about it! Thank you Cindy!!!!

  • Thanks so much for this. I just recently started couponing. I’ve been a SAHM for over a year now so we’re a family of 4 one 1 income. But couponing is making it a LOT easier now. My parents and my sister are now going through the same thing, just living off the husbands’ incomes. I’m trying to get my mom and sister into this but they are getting overwhelmed so I’m going to have them read this. It really bothers me how much money they are still spending on things that I get for free or dirt cheap…

  • Lisa

    I looked back in my cashbook and saw that I spent around $400 a month on food from grocery stores for me and my husband. Then when I started couponing in 2009, it started to drop — $350, $300 — and in 2010 it continued to steadily drop — $250, $200 — and for the past few months I’ve spent around $170 per month. I’ve been a more than daily visitor of your blog for…. I want to say close to 2 years… can that really be? Has it really been that long? Time sure flies when you’re having fun saving money. For the past month I’ve been overwhelmed by online classes that I’m taking and I barely been to the stores, except for the basics. I’m a bit worried about going through my carefully built up stockpile, but some of the stuff desperately needed to rotate and what better time to do it than when you’re super busy with other things and, to me honest, I’ve been a bit tired of couponing lately — a break is nice. But I’m definitely going to get back into it soon. Thank you so much for all the work that you have put into this website for many years! 🙂

  • Tara

    Fried Brain?? YES absolutely I do have one too!! lol I started about a yr. ago because my husband has a seasonal tree business and 2 winters ago we ran so low on money we couldn’t even afford to buy milk, bread etc. for our family. I don’t and can’t work as I am handicap so he is the only provider. We got three months behind on our mortgage and it was going into default. It was very scary, stressful oh there’s really no right word or words to describe the awful feeling. I know we aren’t the only ones and some of you can probably relate. Our Mother-In-Law sometimes brought us groceries, God Bless her. But not b/c we asked, she knew what was going on and wanted to help. In the Spring when business started to pick up I ran into a sweet lady at a checkout in my grocery store, didn’t know it at the time that she would forever change our lives. I was buying a few things and ALL except for a box of cereal was store brand b/c I couldn’t afford name brand. When the cashier rang everything up , the total exceeded the amount of money that I had in my purse. I frantically started digging for change, totally embarrassed, I still didn’t have enough and started giving the cashier things back to take off my bill. ONE of them was the cereal. That’s when the woman behind me stopped me and handed me a coupon and said “Here sweetie this will make that box of cereal FREE” I didn’t know what to say or even understand how that was possible. She then explained to me how it doubled, in turn making it free. I thanked her up and down, holding tears back. Went out to my car and as I was putting my groceries in the car she came up to me and explained to me a little about using coupons and how much they can help. I then went home and did lots and lots of reading on how to use coupons, and every time I shopped my savings got lower and lower. I will NEVER buy anything again if I don’t have a coupon for it (unless it’s absolutely necessary) Only problem is that I guess you could say that winter scared me, so I started extreme couponing, and found myself trying to get every single deal I could find only because I didn’t ever want a winter like that one again. Cindy you are so right!! It will burn you out, It happened to me to, as I think it does alot of people for various reasons. I recommend taking Cindy’s advice…start slow…don’t run yourself in the ground, there are sales every week and if you don’t get it one week it will come around again. Thanks Cindy for your advice and all you do.

    For all you newbies, please listen to her…you will burn out, in more ways then one!!

  • Alicia

    I could not agree with you more Cindy! I started back the end of last year (I have to admit that the show got me interested to try couponing again)…we are following dave ramsay to get out of debt and save for our next house. at the time we were drowning in debt and living paycheck to paycheck. I stumbled upon this site and it has dramatically changed our lives. i always shopped sales, but now i have name brands, most of which i get for free. my stockpile is huge and i have tons MORE money which is going towards our debt. I too started with CVS and then moved along to Shoprite. About a month ago I tried Walgreens but it got to be wayyyy too much for my brain since I also work fulltime and have 2 kids.

    Really, thank you so much for all you do. We are finally on the right path and you are a huge part of it!!!

  • Lovingmynewhobby

    It literally makes me tear up when I go back to the times that we had very little of everything at home..We, too, live off of one income and as a family of four every little dollar has to be stretched to the max…but since I found this website I have been hooked ever since…now i dont feel bad when my children (2 and 7) ask for things because now i can get them…good thing they love all the products i have coupons for lol. Cindy, from the bottom of our hearts and to all the ppl that take the time to help look for deals as well..thank you all…my family is so much happier now. I love the feeling of not having to break the bank to make them happy and get all the things they love…we will never worry about going hungry or not having enough…Sure our brains get fried on a daily but if you pace yourself and focus on one or two stores…it becomes a walk in the park..thanks to LRWC

  • tat

    Okay, so I have the toothpaste, shampoo, pain relief & any drugstore bargains down pat. I still struggle with grocery deals. I price match & match coupons but still not quite where I want to be. I found your site when I began couponing on August 2011 & I am very grateful for the time & effort it takes for you to do this! Now, if I could just fill my small freezer with beef, chicken, …