After you have been couponing for a while there may come a time when you experience what is known as “Coupon Burnout”. Your pantry is full, you cannot possibly fit another bag of free Birds Eye frozen vegetables in your freezer, your hands are sore from clipping coupons and the thought of running to the store right now with a fistful of coupons is the last thing you want to do.
Oh sure, you love couponing and chasing deals, and the lure of MORE free toothpaste is almost tempting enough to lure you into the corner Walgreens, but not quite. Maybe the weather is nice and you just want to be outside playing and enjoying the sun. Or maybe, like me, when winter weather settles in the last thing you want to do is trek out in below freezing temperatures to go to the grocery store. For some coupon shoppers, couponing is seasonal, these folks coupon hard and heavy for a season or two and then slack off for a season or two. I have found that many southern couponers tend to take a break in the heat of the summer while we northern couponers are more likely to take a break in the winter.
Or perhaps life is just crazy for you right now. The kids are sick, a new baby perhaps, new job, new house or just a really busy schedule and you are feeling the burnout. It’s OK and it happens to most of us at one point in time or another.
So how do you survive coupon burnout? It is simple, you put down the scissors, stop looking at those tempting sale ads and just take a break for a couple of weeks or however long you need to. If you have been couponing for a while you should have a stockpile and this is the time you “live off the stockpile” that means you plan your meals based on what you have in your stockpile and only go shopping to fill the gaps with fresh produce, meat, milk, bread and the occasional ingredient. And if you don’t have a large stockpile then you just go grocery shopping. You did normal grocery shopping before you learned how to coupon and you can do it again now for a little while.
And while couponing is a great way to save money, I think it is important to remember that it isn’t the only way. I am still a firm believer that couponing is only one part of the equation to being a good steward of your money. So go ahead and take a break, live off the stockpile for a while and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Because no matter what anyone tells you, couponing takes work!
Here are a couple of my tips for surviving coupon burnout without giving up on it 100%
1. If you can plan your coupon break ahead of time, you will be one step ahead of the game. For example if you are expecting a new baby or an impending move you can plan in advance that you are going to take a break before and/or afterwards. This allows you to focus on coupon shopping for the deals you need in order to feed your family on your planned break.
2. If you are just feeling “blah” about coupons right now, take a break. Tell yourself that you are going to take a sabbatical for a set period of time. Say 2 weeks. Enjoy your time off, don’t stress about it and come on back to it when your period of time is over.
3. If life throws you an unexpected loop such as a death in the family or a unexpected life emergency you may find that you just have to take a break from it. Know that whenever life returns to some form of normalcy that the coupons and deals will still be there. Sales come in cycles and coupons will come out again. You will be OK. My motto is “life before coupons.”
4. Living off your stockpile can be fun. Use this time to explore new recipes and creative uses for the items in your stockpile. Use sites such as AllRecipes.com to vet out new recipes using ingredients you have on hand. Or make up a new recipe all your own. Oh sure it may be a flop, but then again, it may be the best tuna noodle surprise casserole you ever ate! Have fun with it, you never know unless you try!
5. Instead of dwelling on the coupon burnout focus instead on congratulating yourself for being a smart shopper who has saved so much money by couponing. Whenever I am feeling a bit burned out, I go into my garage and take a look at my stockpile and tell myself that I have done a good job and that we won’t go hungry if I don’t coupon this week.
6. Sometimes all it takes to get you over your coupon burnout is to get re-organized. Set aside a couple of hours to get your coupons organized. If you have just not been feeling the coupon love lately because your coupons are a hot mess, get them organized. Maybe it is even time to consider switching to a new coupon organization method if the one you are using now is not working for you. Sometimes I feel that once I get the coupon clutter under control I am feeling inspired to go hunt down some deals because I can find the coupons I need again.
So if coupon burnout has got you down, know that you are not alone, that most of us couponers have experienced it before too. Sales come and go, coupons come and go too and as always “Life before coupons!”.
Have you experienced coupon burnout? What are your survival tips? Leave a comment below and let us know!