Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Saving Money With Coupons

This is part 2 in my coupon series. I can't believe it's been almost 3 weeks since I started it! I'm so sorry! I meant to wait a few days then do this post and I completely forgot! Oh well, I guess you will all forgive the forgetful mommy!

Keeping Your Coupons Organized

There are several ways and methods to keeping your coupons organized and almost everyone has their own way. I am going to touch on some of the most popular and show you what I do with my coupons.

1. Coupon Organizer System- This uses the accordion-type holder that can be purchased at most stores. It is a great tool for beginning or light couponers. If you are a hardcore couponer like myself you will quickly realize that you don't have enough room or enough space to organize. There are usually 6 or 7 pockets to the organizers so you can put your coupons in categories like Health and Beauty, Refrigerated/Frozen Food, Box/Packaged Food, Meat/Dary, Etc. You make your own categories according to what you want to use. I know a few people who even use this as an add-on to their other couponing systems and label each pocket with a store and put the coupons that they know they will be using that week in the pocket.

2. Envelope System- This system uses regular envelopes that you have around the house to organize your coupons. Many people use this system to put the coupons in that they think they will use at the store they are going to. It is handy because you can even use used envelopes from all that junk mail or bills you receive. You can write your shopping list on the outside of the envelope, put your coupons inside and you are good to go.

3. File System- This is one of the first system for real hardcore couponers. If you are like me and you get anywhere from 4- 10 newspapers a week, cutting them is very time consuming and many people frown upon cutting all those coupons that they never use. Filers write the coupons insert name (i.e. SmartSource, RedPlum) and the date on the front cover of the insert in marker so they will be able to find the inserts they need easily later on. Some store them in files, some store them in a pile, that is all up to your own personal preference. You can even print out a list of every coupon inside the insert to staple on the front of the insert from sites like Taylortown Preview or The Coupon Clippers. When I am giving my Weekly Round-Up deals, I always put the insert name and date for the file system people. You can also look up coupons on Hot Coupon World's coupon database. After you log in you just type in the name of the product and it will tell you the name and date of the inserts that contained a coupon for that product. You then go back and cut the coupons you need to use every week and use one of the above systems to take them to the store with you.

4. Binder System- This is the system that I use. On Sunday or Monday my wonderful, amazing, supportive of my coupon addiction husband cuts out all of my coupons. I then file all of them into my 2 binders. That right, sadly I have 2 binders, most people only need 1, but I have WAY too many coupons and had to expand in an extra binder. (I can hear all of my friends laughing at me right now) I use baseball card protectors and page dividers. Each baseball card protector has 9 slots on it. For me, that holds 8 different coupons (all like coupons are in the same slot, with the earliest expiration date in the front) the bottom right hand slot is used as a label so I know quickly what page I'm looking for. I have a 3" binder that includes main categories of Household, Health and Beauty, Baby Needs and Heath Care Items. I have a 1" binder for food. I used to use normal binders that I carried with my ads in a cloth bag. I recently upgraded to zippered binders with shoulder straps. (my husband in embarrassed to go to the store with me, but he does it because he loves me) These binders have pockets for things like my ads, ECBs and Register Rewards, scissors and new coupons that I pick up while walking through the store. Each major category is divided into smaller sections like Cleaning Supplies (brands with a lot of coupons have their own page and there is a misc. page for all others), Paper Supplies (toilet paper, paper towels, paper plates all have their own pages), Laundry Detergent, Fabric Softener, etc. I'm REALLY organized with these, most people aren't into the subcategories like I am, but this is the way my brain works. Some people organize their binders to follow the path around their favorite store, aisle by aisle and some just put each coupon in alphabetical order according to the product name. This is one of those things that you just have to figure out what works best for you.

5. Box Method- This method is similar to the binder method, except coupons are held in a box. You can use any box you want to use, I have one friend that uses an oblong Rubbermaid storage container, I have heard of people using briefcases and my mom used an old shoe box. You can make dividers out of anything you want to- note cards, cut up cereal boxes, anything. You can have as many categories as you want or as few as you want; a huge box or a small box. This method, like the binder method is very flexible and allows you to do whatever you want to do.

These are the top 5 (at least that I know of) methods of storing your coupons. If you use another method and you want to tell us all about it, please leave a description in the comments section.

As always, please feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me if you have any questions!

Happy Savings!


mom2dixiechirps said...

I've really enjoyed your post on saving money through coupons! And thanks for sharing the details that you did! I really gleaned a lot!

Saving Sherry said...

Thank you very much! It's always nice to know when someone else finds my ramblings useful!