Missed Savings

If you're a shopper (and most of us women are), then you light up just like I do when a coupon for one of my favorite stores arrives in the mail (or email). You know, the 30% off Friends & Family sale at Gap, or the Bloomingdales Insider Coupons for an additional 25% off anything in the store or the infamous 20% Bed, Bath & Beyond Coupons... With the recent nose-dive in the economy, we can all use a little money back in our pockets so coupons are a good thing, right?

About 6 months ago I found myself at a children's shop buying a gift for my friends' new baby. I was excited to have finally gotten there and to check that item off my To Do List, but then it hit me...I had a major coupon I could use...but I didn't have it on me...and I couldn't guess where it would be at home. So I ended up buying the items anyway (knowing it might be a while before I could get back!) and missed that opportunity for savings.

The challenge for me (or for others I presume) is keeping track of those coupons and remembering when they start and when they expire. That together. with coordinating a trip to the store with my two young kids and I'm lucky they ever get used. But I've figured out a plan. It has started to work for me; perhaps it will work for you too.

  1. Keep all retail coupons in one location. I use my Jane Marvel zip pouches for these too, mentioned in a previous posting on packing, since they're cute, flat, water-resistant (remember I have two toddlers) and they zip closed. However, you could keep them in something as simple as a quart zip lock bag. When a coupon arrives in the mail (or email) that I think I may want to take advantage of I pop it into my zip pouch. This way, I always know where to find them. Challenge 1: Can't find the coupon when you need it... solved.
  2. Keep your bag of coupons on you at all times. I toss mine in my handbag so it comes in the house with me (and I can put new coupons in as they arrive) and leaves the house with me when I head out. You never know when you'll be popping in a favorite store and you'd hate to have to make a decision between not buying what you want (or need) while you're there and have it in your hand or buying it at full price, knowing you have a coupon sitting somewhere at home (gasp!). Challenge 2: Don't have your coupons on you when you need them... solved.
  3. Make note of the expiration date on your personal calendar. I have a family calendar in my kitchen, but prefer to put the date in my iPhone calendar so a reminder pops up a couple days in advance and says "Gap 30% coupon ends Sunday!" For some, seeing it visually written down on a paper calendar is better, however, I like my handy iPhone reminders. Besides, if my husband saw all these store coupons written on our family calendar (that I may or may not use) he'd think I was shopping way too much. Challenge 3: Missed the window to shop before coupon expired...solved.
For those of you who still have the freedom to shop on a whim without chasing down a toddler, God Bless You. But for many of us moms, we'd rather walk on hot coals than brave the mall for more than 15 minutes with our beloved offspring. So for the last challenge, I'd suggest either getting Daddy (or Grandma) to take over for a few hours one weekend or suck it up and hire a sitter for a few hours and assume the savings from all your coupon shopping will be just a little bit less (but remember you'll gain your sanity!). Either way, you'll have all your favorite coupons on hand and you'll be one step closer to becoming a Well Planned Woman.

1 comment:

  1. It never hurts to ask the cashier if they have a coupon you could use. Most major retail stores have to give you the discount if you ask.


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