How to Organize Your Coupons
Organizing Coupons Continued…
by Amy Trautvein
Today we are going to talk about clipping coupons, when to pull out expired, and how to organize a shopping trip with your coupon binder. Are you as excited as I am? Good!
I only get one Sunday paper, believe it or not. I don’t want to spend hours cutting coupons and I can get some great coupons on the internet anyway to help bulk up my binder a bit and get some coupons that you won’t see in the Sunday ads. Every Sunday night, or Monday morning I pull out the coupon inserts, have a seat on my couch, turn on the TV and cut away. As I’m cutting, I stack the coupons into my categories so it saves much time putting them into my binder. A must do! Here are my coupons after they ‘ve all been cut and are ready to be filed. Classy, huh!?
REALITY CHECK: Do NOT clip every coupon that is printed. Only clip coupons for products you regulary use, would like to buy if it was on sale, and/or are willing to try. If you’re not sure, say to yourself, “Would I buy this if it was a steal?” If your answer is yes, then clip it. I don’t have babies in the house anymore, so why clip coupons for baby products? I don’t drink coffee, so I obviously pass by the coffee coupons, there are certain products (that I won’t name) that I’ve tried and not enjoyed, and even if it were a steal I wouldn’t waste my time so those get trashed too. I know it’s just common sense, but I’ve talked to a lot of people to clip every coupon that is in the insert. Don’t, just don’t.
Internet coupons are great, but it can be overwhelming. There are SO many places you can go. My suggestion is to pick your 2 favorite coupon sites and just stick with those. My top favorite is coupon.com. They have a wide range of coupons from grocery to nonfoods and you don’t have to give your name, address, phone number, first born to print them, and it’s free. You are also allowed to print up to 2 of each one you want. I’m not a huge fan of clipping services because you are having to PAY for coupons to then save you money? Plus like I said, I’m not a shelf clearer and don’t recommend it either. Why would somone need 50 coupons of ketchup? Here are my internet coupons from this week. They reset and add new coupons at the beginning of the month so that’s why I have such a stack for this week. They had some good ones this time. :)Now back to filing your coupons into your binder… Just start at the front of your binder and go to your first category, mine is the breakfast asile. Before you add any new coupons, go through that section and pull any expired ones. Then add your new coupons into any empty slots. Do this every week! It saves time in the long run and saves you from trying to use a coupon that expired a week ago at the reigister. No need to organize by expiration date. That adds TONS of time shuffling all your coupons up to the front and adding new ones to the back and doing it all over again week after week. Remember, you only have 2-4 pages in each section to go through. Why create more work for yourself? See how nice and pretty?
*One other thing I do that is a good idea: As I’m putting coupons in my binder I keep a sitcky note list of high value coupons that I want to use, but the product may not be in any of your sale ads. That way, while you’re at the store, it’s easy to take a look at those products, see what the price is and decide, at the store, if they are worth using that day. My rule: it needs to be more than half off for me to consider, OR just a really great coupon that I don’t want to forget about. I then put the sticky note on my list for easy reference.
Now you can go through your store adds for the week and compare with the coupons you’ve got. As you find coupons to use on sale items, pull them out and paper clip them together. I only do 2 grocery stores and one drug store. That’s as much as I can handle without having to run around alot. Also, some weeks are way better than others. If I find that I’ve only found 2 or 3 good deals for a store, I scratch it and don’t even go. It’s not worth my time and gas to only save on a couple items.
First, I list how many items I want to get, then I list the product, next the sale price, then my coupon amount (double it if your store doubles coupons, which mine do) and then the final price. Once you’ve gone through all your ads, put your list into the front of your binder for east reference and marking off as you put it in your cart. Here’s what it all should look like. My list of “on sale” products with coupons and final prices, my sticky note of high value coupons, and my paper clipped piles of coupons I know I will be using this week. Just keep those in the front pocket of your binder.
**Don’t forget about digital coupons either. Most stores let you add electronic coupons from their website to your store card AND they let you also use a paper coupon fro the same item! Double the savings! The only store I know of that does NOT do this is Kroger, but check your stores coupon policy just to be sure. Also, some stores let you combine a store coupon and a manufacture coupon together for ONE item (CVS, Target to name a couple), also double the savings! So yes, please check their coupon policy, you may be missing out on saving even more than you thought!
Now you are ready to shop and save! And be organized so you can save time AND money! Just remember, this is what works for me. You may need to do some tweaking for what works for you. There’s no one right way to do it, just do it! Let me know how you coupon, I’d love to hear from you!
Love to all! ~Amy
I have been married for 22 years to my awesome hubby, Todd and we have 4 equally awesome kids who keep my young! Our favorite thing to do together is travel. I enjoy gardening and puttering around my yard. I am very active in my church and am currently serving the children, and I love volunteering at my kids’ schools doing whatever I can to help the teachers and staff.