Beginning couponers often don’t save the money they could. Here are common couponing mistakes that can actually make you lose money - and how to avoid them.

Buying what you don’t need

The most common error is buying things you don’t need or that aren’t “just right” for you, simply because you have a coupon for them. Avoid this trap by asking yourself the question, “Do I need this?” Remember that every single thing you own, whether you use a coupon for it or not, costs money that you worked really hard for. Do you really need to buy something just because you got a 30% off deal on it? Do you really want to buy multiple quantities of an item in order to see any savings? Do you really want to buy a color, flavor, or size you don’t want, just to save money? Resist the impulse and use coupons only for things you need!

Not combining offers

Many coupons will outright say, “full price merchandise only” or “may not be combined with other offers” or something to that effect. But not all. Read the fine print! You may be tempted to rush out and use your 10% off coupon - only to find that the item goes on sale weeks later, which could have yielded much greater savings.

Avoid this by keeping a close watch on the items you want, by reading the fine print on your coupons. If there are no restrictions, you could really hit the jackpot of savings.

Sticking to clipping

As many retailers move away from printed coupons, you’re limiting yourself if you don’t use coupon apps like GrabQpons. One reason you may be losing money clipping coupons from printed media is that it takes a lot of time - and ultimately you’re trading a significant chunk of your time for a bit of savings. Mobile apps make the process much faster, more efficient, and therefore more cost-effective.

Not reading the fine print

The simplest rule of couponing is “the big print giveth, and the small print taketh away.” Read the fine print!

Being disorganized

Disorganization is not worth the return on investment, but many beginners just collect coupons and then forget them. Your time is worth money! Don’t waste time digging through a pile of coupons. Organization encourages use. Organize your coupons in a way that makes sense for you (for example, by category and expiration date), and get in the habit of checking your coupon system every time you head out the door to go shopping. Organization is even simpler by using digital couponing apps which don’t require any sorting or sifting.

You can save a lot by couponing, but you have to play the game right. Remember that your time = money. To truly save money using coupons, buy only what you need, combine offers, use mobile apps, read the fine print, and get organized!