10 Coupon Mistakes To Avoid While Shopping

More and more Americans are getting into coupon-cutting because of shows like Extreme Couponing. Everyone wants to get a good deal and the bigger the deal, the better the feeling you get. If you are making the right choices by using your coupons well, you may end up saving a lot more money than you expected.

Couponing can make you feel overwhelmed with emotions such as competition, stress, excitement, and thrill. Sometimes, shoppers overindulge at first, and some even get frustrated when they cannot purchase $500 worth of items for $5.00 like they planned. It is easy to make an assumption that by using coupons you are getting a good deal, but that is not always the case. Here is where common coupon mistakes occur. Let’s talk about these mistakes in order to avoid them in the future.

01. Buying Things You Don’t Actually Need

Because of the surge of emotions one feels with couponing, the tendency is to buy even things you don’t need if it’s a good deal. Instead of saving money, you are already spending more, which shouldn’t be the case for couponing.

Try to avoid buying things that you don’t actually need or don’t have real value. A good rule of thumb is to only buy discounted items already on your shopping list.

02. Buying More Than You Need

As we have mentioned earlier, couponing makes you feel a surge of emotions. This tempts you into buying more than you actually need.

First, it may require you to purchase more than what you actually need to qualify for a certain discount.

For example, if you purchase a lot of perishables using your coupon deals, you may end up throwing away a lot of food, if you don’t consume it fast enough before it goes bad.

Buy only what you need, in quantities that you can confidently use before they reach their expiration dates.

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03. Change Your Healthy Lifestyle

Another mistake that is common with extreme couponing is the urge to buy things that are not good for you. A study shows that the habit of buying what you think is the best deal can lead to terrible life decisions, as most coupons are intended for unhealthy food.   

This move may cost you even more than the savings you get from the coupon, as health care bills take out a lot of money. Be safe and discard those junk food coupons.

04. Buying the more expensive brands

With coupons, you are easily tempted to buy the branded items that still cost more even with the discount. Save yourself, and do the math to see if you are truly getting a deal.

05. Not Understanding Your BOGO Coupons

Most BOGO coupons don’t actually say “buy one, get one free”; they usually offer a 50% discount when you purchase a second item. Thus, this is just a 25% off coupon. You can wait for a sale to earn bigger savings.

In addition, BOGO coupons can also lure you into buying two items when you only need one. Some of these coupons have additional stipulations that can add to the cost. Better read the fine print.

06. Using Your Coupon to Go for the Larger Size

You might be lured into buying a large bottle of shampoo or cleaning supplies, thinking that you are saving the same money irrespective of the size.

However, you should know that you regularly get a much lower cost per unit using the coupons for the smallest size of the item.

07. Buying the Wrong Variety or Size

Again, when you are too stressed by the competition of couponing, the tendency is to forget to read the fine print on the coupon. With this, you go to the register, check out your items, and then realize that you cannot use the coupon because it can only be used for a specific variety or size. So, you end up paying for the items without a discount. Therefore, read all the fine print on the coupon to avoid committing this mistake ever again.

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08. Not Watching the Register while Checking Out

Some cashiers will not tell you when your coupon doesn’t work, and you will only realize it upon seeing the total bill, especially if you are not looking at the register while checking out.

In order to avoid this mistake, watch the register closely at check out. Also, place your coupon discounted items toward the end, so that you can easily check and return them if your coupons will not work.

09. Not Looking at the Expiration Date

One of the most common couponing mistakes is not looking at the expiration date of the coupons. Before going out to the store, you must first carefully check for the expiration date. Throw away coupons as soon as they expire, so you don’t plan to use them by accident.

10. Spending A Lot of Time Couponing

When you are doing the things you love to do, you don’t mind spending time on them. Couponing can become addictive and take time away from other people and things you love.

Keep it simple and efficient, and don’t spend your whole day looking for the best deals and arranging your coupons.


Now that you know the common mistakes with couponing, try to avoid them as much as possible so that you end up saving more and getting the best deal.

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