When I first started couponing, I used a little coupon organizer that looks like a wallet. It worked well until my coupon stash outgrew it. I started seeing these coupon binders on the internet and that seemed like the way to go. So, I got a big three ring binder and some plastic page protectors and organized them all into it. I used this method for a few years but it seemed like so much work to keep up with. Filling all the little slots and then going through and removing the ones that had expired. I was spending way too much time putting coupons in and taking coupons out. Now, if this method works for you, I am more than happy for you. It just didn’t work for me. I kept doing it for so long because I felt like it was supposed to be the “best” way. After all, everyone else was doing it. I thought I outgrew that back in my school days but maybe not!
Finally, I just got so sick of it and started looking for another method. I found this little plastic box in my kids’ stuff and started thinking about file cabinets and dividers. That seemed like the way to go. I made a list of all the categories that I use to separate my coupons. I printed my list and cut them out individually. Then, I cut some pieces of cardstock to fit. I taped each category to a piece of cardstock. I used packaging tape so that I would cover the labels and give a little protection (almost like if they were laminated).I tried to stagger them so I could see them easily.
These are the categories I used if you’d like to try this method yourself.
Fresh Produce Meat & Deli
Canned Goods Baking Goods
Pasta, Rice, Etc. Cereal
Cookies,Candies, Etc. Chips/Snacks
Dairy Products Condiments
Paper Towels/Plates Ziploc/Foil/Etc.
Dish Detergent Cleaning Products
Toilet Paper Air Fresheners
Dental Care Feminine
Makeup Shampoo, Etc.
Hair Color Shaving Products
Pet Products Household (Other)
I like the little box because it’s easy to carry and I can put it in the front of the cart and easily open it up and see what I’ve got. I can quickly go from category to category. I used to hate stopping in a store, flipping through page after page, trying to find the right page for that one certain coupon. It closes up so nothing falls out and it has a neat little handle to carry it with. You could probably find another similar box in any big box store or probably even at the dollar store. I think this was originally a makeup case. A plastic shoe box would work just as well.
If I plan my shopping trip well, I can go ahead and pull the coupons from the box I know I will use and put them in a baggie. The baggie goes into my purse and I don’t have to look for those while shopping. I still take my little box thought just in case I stumble upon an unadvertised deal or something that I might be able to get some additional savings on.
Every week when the Sunday paper comes, I clip my coupons and sort them out right away. From time to time, I check my newspaper recycling bin and pull out coupon inserts that other people have thrown out. I don’t climb in dumpsters or anything extreme like they do on TV but it is a good way to find multiple inserts. For these, I sort all of like ones together and put them in a folder arranged by type and date. If you look on the fold of the insert it has the date so you can tell.
I put all my Smart Source inserts together, all of the Red Plum, etc. I put the most recent on top. Then, so I don’t have to cut all of these coupons out (because I already have one set in my box that I clipped on Sunday), I keep my eyes open for a deal that might score a free item. For example, maybe my store is having a sale on a particular brand of toothpaste for $1. I remember that I clipped a coupon for 50 cents off that toothpaste (which my store will double). I check my inserts and discover I have 5 more of these. So, I clip just the toothpaste coupon out, head to the store, and get 6 free tubes of toothpaste!
I am not an extreme couponer and I don’t have a crazy stockpile at home. I buy just what we need and use. We live on a very tight budget and have a large family of seven people. We usually get by on about $100-$150 on groceries per week. I could probably do better if I worked harder at it but I don’t want my whole life to be consumed with couponing and grocery shopping. I hate grocery shopping but it is a necessity!
The coupon box works for me and helps keep me organized. It may work for you too. It may not. Do what does work for you. Grocery shopping and trying to save money is hard enough without struggling to keep coupons clipped and organized.
Sew Much Ado
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House Of Hepworths
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