When I talk with people about shopping with coupons, many say that they cannot use them because they take too much time or will make cashiers angry. Here are a few strategies for making shopping go a bit smoother.
- Know what you plan to buy before going to the store. By reviewing sales papers and coupon match-ups on blogs, you should have a good idea of what you need to buy before you enter the store. Look at your pantry, fridge, and freezer and see what you might need for the week.
- Have coupons you plan to use stored separately. Since you now have a list ready for the store and know what you aisles you will be going to when you get there, pull the coupons you will be using and put them in a separate part of your coupon binder. You will not have to look through a pile of coupons to find the few you need for that trip.
- Have your coupons ready for the cashier. Take 30 seconds and make sure that your coupons are neat and ready for the cashier before you get to the check out lane.
- Shop during off peak hours if possible. Less people in the stores and less distractions mean that it will take you less time to get in and out.
- If you have multiple transactions, let others go in between. Why should the guy behind you with a drink and bag of chips have to wait while you go through transaction after transaction?
- Go to a less used register if possible. The cosmetics counter at Walgreens is my preferred counter because I do not feel as rushed or that I'm causing a long line.
- Be courteous, be direct, be ethical. Smile at your cashier! Get to know the people who work in your stores. If there is a problem, deal with it directly. Remember that you draw a lot more flies with honey than vinegar. Use coupons in the manner in which they are intended. Folks who use them otherwise give the rest of us a bad name.
- Put any “free with coupon” items together so that prices can be recorded on the coupons. This makes it easier for the cashiers to jot down the pricing.
- Be a “coupon fairy”. Share coupons with fellow customers in the stores if you have extras. Spread the love.
Shopping with children
- If at all possible, make sure they are fed and rested.
- Bring a few snacks and toys along to make the trip more entertaining for them.
- Let them be your helpers. Our daughter loves helping to pick out vegetables and to help put the items she can reach from the cart to the check out belt. A friend of mine would have her son hold the grocery list for her.
- Play games. "I Spy" is perhaps our favorite. We also practice colors and letters by looking at the goods in the stores. We almost always go through the floral department to look at and smell the flowers and plants.
- If at all possible, choose at time of day that is better for them. Morning shopping works better for us.
- Let children participate in meal planning and execution. This step is most useful for older children, but even younger ones can participate. Older children might plan the entire meal, but a younger child might decide between corn or squash for a side dish.
Please post any other tips or ideas which you find helpful in the comments section. Happy Shopping!