Don’t Have A Coupon Conniption: 7 Ways To Find Peace

Grocery shopping

I’ve received several emails and tweets asking about coupon burnout since my post on Saturday.  Coupon Burnout is actually quite normal!  It happens to all of us.  Sometimes you just get tired of clipping and organizing, and dealing with cashiers.  Here is a post that was originally published September 29, 2008, that I think will help many of you out.  While it’s not specifically about burnout, I think the tips in this post apply to all of us, whether we are new to using coupons, or experienced pros.   Enjoy!

When I first started couponing, I would walk into the grocery store somewhat apprehensively. Coupon binder in hand I would grab my grocery cart, and glance around to see if I was getting any strange looks. “What will people think of me carrying around all these coupons?,” would cross my mind as I went through the automatic double doors. “Will I get evil looks from store employees?” It can be quite intimidating if you are new to couponing. Your heart is already racing with anticipation to see how much you will save. And you’ve spent hours upon hours preparing for this trip.
I remember getting so obsessed and excited, that sometimes I had trouble falling asleep. You’d think after spending hours sitting on the floor looking at inserts and clipping coupons, that I could put it out of my mind long enough to get some much needed rest. And then when I did fall asleep, I would dream about coupons. The mind can become bombarded with the never-ending bliss and sometimes fear of saving money.

Will they have everything on my list? What do I do if they don’t? Will the cashier accept all my coupons, or will I have to argue? You are afraid they will say something, because you just don’t think you can stand your ground. I remember at check out one time, I was so afraid the cashier would give me trouble, that I’m sure I would have burst into tears if she had said something.

For the longest time I thought, ” is this really worth all this stress?” Some days I really felt like I was having heart palpitations from getting so excited about couponing.

Does any of this sound familiar?

I think it’s actually quite normal to go through this when you first start out. It can even last several months. Trust me when I say, it will fade in time. I still get excited sometimes, but it is less often, and nothing like it used to be. You will get used to it, and it will get easier.

Here are some tips for you if you are experiencing any of this.

1. Take a Break. If you are exhausting and stressing yourself out to the point where you feel like you might have a nervous break down, stop! No amount of money saving is worth your health and safety. There are always deals to be had, so take a break for a few days, or weeks; however long you need.

2. Get Proof of Store Coupon Policies. Email or call companies asking them to send you their coupon policies. If you have proof of what the stores’ policies are, then you will feel more empowered when facing ignorant cashiers (and you will face them at one point or another).

3. Don’t Try to do Every Deal. If you are really getting into deal hunting, you are realizing that there are so many deals to be had each week. If you try to do them all, you will drive yourself crazy.

4. Keep Your Transactions Small. This kind of goes along with number 3. It is especially good to keep your transactions small at drugstores like CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid. Getting too many things will not only make your out of pocket higher, but will also stress you out more. When you are new, it’s hard to think of everything you need to do. I use to give myself migraines trying to figure everything out, and this is because I was doing too much. Keep it small and simple. If you do a little bit each time you shop, you will slowly get better and better.

5. Be Patient With Yourself. It will come easier with time. It’s hard right now. It’s hard to figure out how each store and couponing works, but it does get easier. Just keep taking it a step at a time, and it will start to become like a second nature to you.

6. Stop Obsessing! Take a break, calm down, and stop constantly obsessing. Enough said.

7. Don’t Give Up. Don’t burn yourself out, and don’t give up! Couponers save thousands of dollars every year. Keep working at it until you’ve got it. If you need encouragement and a kind word, find yourself a great coupon mentor. And keep checking sites like this for tips and motivation

What are some tips that you have for new couponers, and/or people dealing with burnout?

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  1. Oh wow! This is me!! I have a a terrible headache this morning, and was thinking the exact things you describe: Maybe I should quit all of this ‘chasing after that deal’. It’s consuming my life!!!BR/BR/Good to know that it does end.BR/BR/I think my pillows need some attention. They are being ignored lately…

  2. Amen sister! Overwhelming was an understatement when I started. But you know, ever since I’ve been viewing your site (EVERY SINGLE DAY), your scenarios, free items and shopping advice have calmed my fears!BR/BR/Thanks Crystal for all that you do. You are truly blessing others :)

  3. I can definitely relate. I’m past the apprehensive point but am still obsessing over finding deals and getting to do them “in time.” Still can’t get past feeling miffed when I find a good deal but don’t have all my q’s with me so have to miss out (I found nutripal bars for $2 a box and had $1 q’s at home that combined with my $2 cats would have made 2 boxes free; I also found airborne kids handsoap on clearance 1.99 and have a ton of $2 q’s which would have made them free).BR/I also obsess over getting q’s. I actually reached a gloved hand (long story) in a garbage can at a rest area because I saw a sunday paper in there (and got a set of *clean*inserts too)!!!!BR/Deep breath. Breathe in, breathe out.BR/My name is Monique and I’m obsessively couponing.

  4. I just found your website the other day. I have really enjoyed looking at it and it has helped me find some good deals! I am still knew at finding really good deals. I did couponing before but wasn’t that good at it. Thanks so much for the list. It will help me to remind myself not to stress out so much and rememeber that I don’t need to get EVERY deal out there.

  5. Great article!! I’m seriously trying to take it slow and just get the best deals for free or nearly free stuff that we will really use!!BR/BR/Thanks for all your help!!

  6. I thought that this was an excellent post. What a tremendous encouragement to those of us that are new. I appreciate you taking the time to prepare us for what’s ahead…..a dream-free existence. :)

  7. Love it! That is still where I am at, although it is getting better. I usually dream about my coupons and last night dreamed about the free dawn soap at CVS :) I am loving it though and am excited to continue finding more deals!!

  8. Thanks for this post. I just started getting into couponing heavily about a month ago and I thought I was going crazy when I couldn’t fall asleep at night because I was obsessing about my shopping trip the next day.

  9. Thank you so much for sharing this. I often feel alone with my obsession for perfection and not having the fun that I hear others talk about. It’s great to know all this will subside in time.

  10. I really did need to read this last night I was lying in bed trying to think of what time I need to get to Walgreens to get free soup and .49 coffee mate.

  11. I have finally after 36 years of couponing found a great balance! Do not use a coupon worth less than .50 off. I mostly look for coupons for items we use. Anything I can prepare a great dinner with not just noodles. I will occassionally buy something I don’t need in order to get rewards, or ecbs to get items we do need. If my list for my home is long and I am in a time frame (of mind) where I really need a coupon break I go to Aldi stock up and don’t worry about it until I feel ready once again to face the bargain hunting coupon game once again. This alone cures the obsessing!

  12. Thank you!!!! I just lost my job and right now is vital to our family to save money!!! I am still new at the whole couponing but I really appreciate all of the help and tips!!!!

  13. So glad to hear someone else dreams about coupons. My heart races, too. I think I nearly had a heart attack during the K-Mart double/triple event! Love this post!

  14. I have been couponing/obsessing for about three weeks now. My husband thinks I’m absolutely nuts. When I read this post, I laughed hysterically until I cried. I was so relieved to find someone who went through what I’m going through now. I read this post to my husband, and I think it gave him encouragement… that my obsession will relax after a while and I can get some peaceful, coupon dream-free sleep. While some housewives like to spend their husbands money, I recently told my husband that “he works to make us money and I ‘work’ to SAVE us money!!” I took him to Wags with me yesterday and we spent $0.27 OOP after buying what would have cost us over $15. As we walked out I asked him “doesn’t that give you just such a high after saving that much money?” and he said “no, I just shake my head.” Thank you so much for your blog.

  15. I have the heart racing everytime I go to our wal-mart. I get all hot and sweaty! It’s insane! I’ve been couponing since I was 19, but just recently learned about internet coupons. Not a lot of stores in my area accept them, but our Wal-mart does….I think that is why I get so nervous, like they might tell me that I can’t use them or something like that, I would be mortified!

  16. It is very important to make friends. This is true of life in general. How can we apply the maxim to couponing.


    When I head out to CVS with my printout from this blog and my organized coupon binder, I know that I am going to meet people I know and like at the register. Wendy and Katie are just terrific people and knowing they are glad to see me, too (after lo these many months of couponing and learning together), makes the coupon anxiety just drift away…

    I encourage you to try and get to know the poeple who serve at the register in your places of business. Some people are just jerks who don’t want to meet your smile or even your gaze, but many, I’ve found, are glad to make a new work friend. Give it a shot on your next trip.

    Look for the one that smiles a lot first!


  17. Boy, did I need this this morning, as I am sitting down to a mountain of coupons, sale papers, and menu planning to tackle. Oh, and did I mention no sleep, a sick 3-year-old, and a nasty fibromyalgia flare-up (that means a lot of pain). Thank God for my God who “renews my strength” and gives my a “calm, well-balanced mind.” Keep smiling, all!

  18. Crystal, thanks for the perspective! I have found myself getting better at this but every now and then I get upset about a coupon and/or deal that does not go the way I wanted it to. We have so much to be thankful for at my house, a great stockpile and plenty of food because of coupons and deals. I need to remember to be thankful for all we do have and roll with it when things don’t work out! Thanks again!
    .-= Kathy@Simple Savings Mom´s last blog ..Savings for the Week, February 21-27 =-.

  19. This is a great example of how money can be used as a tool, for our benefit, or it can control us (instead of us controlling it). It’s not just people who have lots of money who are tempted to love it (the LOVE of money is the root of all evil, not money itself). People who are obsessed with saving money and being frugal can also be loving it. Just goes to show the power it can have if we let it. Great reminder.

  20. just when i was starting to feel so overwhelmed with being a new mom and new at couponing… put this out! thanks so much!

  21. some of us DID bust into tears… after i left of course. the kmart checkers are the most brutal!

  22. I can totally relate. About every 6 months, I decide to walk away from couponing for a few weeks and I feel so refreshed. I have also learned that I don’t have to get every single deal. If there is something that is free, but we will never use it…no use of it sitting in my house. The same with food that might end up going bad because my family won’t eat it. I really just search for good deals on things we consume on a regular basis.

  23. Thank you so much for this post…I really needed this one, I often wonder if I’m the only one feeling this way!

  24. Ha…this is funny. It completely describes my obsession a few months ago. Luckily for me, my husband loves a deal or he would have lost his mind living with me.
    When I miss out on a deal I have to remind myself that we have food, and we have enough health and beauty products to be squeaky clean and looking pretty for months if I slack off for a bit.

    But there’s always that rush of seeing just how much you saved (any time I save more than 50% I am a very happy camper). And the money saved there pays for my groupon addiction, which means we get to go DO stuff, even on a budget.

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