Clip those Coupons! You hear about it everywhere, you see people at the checkout in the grocery stores with their coupons, but you figure it is not worth your time and the headache of cutting coupons. Besides, they can’t be saving enough money to really make a difference! That’s exactly what I thought a few years ago. I had a young family and I worked; where would I find the time to cut and organize coupons? If only I knew then, what I know now.
I have always been frugal and watched every dime. But I was missing out on huge savings and the excitement and challenge of coupon shopping. Yes, it does take a little of your time, but it is worth it! We all shop a little differently and therefore can learn from one another. Let me share with you my method.
I am a little obsessed with organization, so I can’t begin anything without a plan of attack. I searched around the house until I found an old 8″ x 11″ three ring binder that zips closed (save money by using what you already have). I made a trip to the office supply store and searched for the perfect inserts for the coupons. I found a box of 24 multi-colored flexible CD holders–perfect for what I needed and cheap!!
I started by punching holes at the bottom of the CD holders ( I will now call them coupon holders) and alternating them in the binder. Take a piece of tape and cover the rings so that the coupon holders will not slip through the rings when your notebook gets full. Notice the picture I included as a visual. I used file labels that I already had and labeled the coupon holders as follows:
- Grocery Store Coupons
- Household Cleaners
- Misc. Household Items/Batteries
- Paper Products/Baggies/Foil
- Beauty Products/Lotions
- Soap/Body Washes
- Laundry Products
- Dishwashing/Dish Soaps
- Deodorant/Shaving Products
- Health Products
- Hair Products
- Teeth/Mouth Products
- Peanut Butter/Jellies/Syrups
- Baking Products/Oils
- Canned Goods/Soups/Pickles
- Ice Cream
- Candy/Health Bars
- Frozen/Misc. Foods
- Dog Food
This system works well for me, but you may want to change it a little to suit your shopping preferences.
My husband subscribes to two newspapers, so on Sunday we end up with three newspapers, that gives me 3 sets of coupons. You can buy extra papers just for the coupons or ask family and friends for theirs if they don’t use them. Sunday is my big coupon day, so I cut and organize to be ready to shop on Monday. I cut everything out even if I don’t think I will use them. You never know when an item might be free with a good sale AND coupon.
I have tried a couple of methods of organization. You can file the coupons (uncut) in a file folder dated for each Sunday, then pull and cut when you need them. This method didn’t work for me. I like to have them cut and ready to go. I put the like sheets together and cut all three at the same time. I organize them into piles according to my list above and then add them to the coupon holders. There will be a few coupons that are large in size, I just fold them in half to fit into the coupon holder.
Before I place the new coupons into the holders, I check the old ones for expiration dates. Toss the ones that have expired and remove the ones that are about to expire. You will want to take advantage of these coupons, especially if they are for an item you use frequently or if it is a $1.00 or more off coupon or a free coupon. Not all are worth using just because they are expiring. You want to use them in conjunction with a good sale to maximize your savings.
I will stop here to allow you some time to get yourself organized and your coupon binder or system set up. Watch for my blog on Get Into the Coupon Game – Part 2 where I will continue sharing my shopping methods and tips. In my opinion cutting and organizing the coupons is the most time consuming aspect–everything after that is the fun part! Stay with me, it’s worth it!!