Are you about to head to the supermarket—for the fifth time this week? Do you have 82 jars of mustard in your pantry? Do you spend eight hours on the weekend looking through store circulars? Chances are, you’re an extreme couponer. Unless you’re a member of the Duggar family (of reality television’s 19 Kids and Counting fame), put the scissors down and listen up. Using coupons to get deals is great, but there comes a point where your behavior can become obsessive. Here are six signs that it’s time to take a break. <em>—Sheiresa Ngo<em>
<b>1. You spend more than three hours a week on couponing.</b><br><br> “An hour to three hours a week is really all it requires. There’s so much available online that will help you match coupons to your grocery list so you can save time,” says Donna Montaldo, coupon expert as well as About.com’s couponing guide. One time-saving website is Couponmom.com. If you find yourself spending five, ten, or 15 hours searching for coupon deals, you’ve got to readjust your priorities.
<b>3. You dumpster dive.</b> <br><br>There’s no reason you should be going through trash in order to get coupons. Simply ask your neighbors if they want their coupons before they throw the Sunday paper away. Besides, it’s just not sanitary. You’ll just end up spending the money you saved on a doctor’s visit because you picked up some weird skin rash.
<b>4. You have a stockpile that could literally feed an army.</b><br><Br> No one can say it better than coupon expert Jill Cataldo: “If you’re buying more than you can use before the expiration date comes around, it’s time to stop. For example, cereal has about an 11 to 12 month shelf life. If you eat a box of cereal each week, and you wanted to buy a year’s worth of cereal at once, are you really going to need more than 52 boxes? But some people buy a couple of hundred boxes. Remember that these sales repeat. There really is no reason to go that crazy. In about 8 to 12 weeks there’s going to be another sale.”
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<b>5. You cry at the checkout counter when your bill doesn't go down by 50% or more.</b><br><br> Getting emotional over your bill because you were overcharged is one thing. Bawling your eyes out or punching the bag guy because you didn’t get a certain amount of savings is a totally different situation. This is definitely a sign that couponing has become your life.
<b>6. You steal newspapers.</b> <br><br>If you’re at the point where you're stealing newspapers just so you can get coupons, you've definitely gone too far. Stealing is never OK. "If you get overly consumed by couponing you could end up breaking the law. This is supposed to be a fun, money-saving hobby. It's not supposed to be consuming to the point where you’ll steal newspapers or try to have coupons redeemed that aren’t for the products you’re buying," says Donna Montaldo, coupon expert and guide for About.com.