Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Coupon Organization

I have become one of "them". You know...the ones who enter the store armed and dangerous. Not because they want to steal stuff (well, ok...maybe they do), but they are just generally out to squeeze lots of product from a few pennies and a stack of carefully trimmed pieces of bar-coded paper.
I will admit that I have stifled a giggle as I have watched the coupon queens drape their carts with humongo binders, and carefully scour the shelves matching up sizes and prices. I was proud of my discreet "method", which included my $1 accordion envelope safely hidden inside my purse.
But, as one can imagine, it wasn't long before frustration overtook my money-saving efforts. Digging for evasive coupons isn't my idea of a fun technique.
My next move was to envelopes labeled with my 5 favorite stores. I would make my lists, pull from my little accordion file, then head out with my envelopes. I quickly found that list-making was eating way too much of my time because I was still digging through coupons searching for the perfect match. I hate wasting time!
There had to be a better way, but I needed something that was time efficient, simple, and fit for my lifestyle.
After a little online research, I concluded that a cute binder (because looks matter...lol), sorted by item type (rather than brands, expiration dates, etc.) would be the best for me.  Although I had no clue how difficult it would be to locate baseball card protector sleeves, I was able to find enough to get started.

My essentials are pretty basic:  pen, scissors, calculator, notepad

I have had people ask me about couponing, and most are turned off by it because of its seeming complexity.  They don't feel like they have enough hours in the day to complete basic household tasks, let alone focus on clipping, matching, stacking, and organizing.  And some people are really feeling defeated about the fact that they can't "get it". 
Here's my advice:  Don't make yourself do something simply because it seems like everyone else is doing it.  Fads come and go, and there will likely be a time when brands are much more restrictive in the distribution and usage of coupons.  In the meantime, if you want to cash in on some free or nearly free stuff, start small.  Pick one store, and get a few things each week that you know you will use.  If it gets to be a fun challenge and you feel confident, add another store and pick up the pace a bit.  If you don't ever become comfortable and your budget is such that the added headache doesn't feel worth it, then let it go. 
Happy Tuesday!

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  1. Go girl! I need to learn the whole couponing process. I use to cut out some but would find they were for items I wouldn't normally even purchase. Your post reminded me of this show - http://tlc.discovery.com/videos/extreme-couponing-videos/

  2. You're moving up in the world, lol!! I started out same as you, $1 accordian file in my purse, then moved to a binder. I use 4 x 6 photo pages instead of baseball card pages, a little easier to maneuver coupons into. This is what I've found after almost 2 years of couponing. I LOATHE spending SO much time cutting out, sorting, and filing. It took up so much time and at the end of the month I would end up with a huge stack I didn't even use. Then I'm thinking, "Wow, that was a lot of time wasted cutting those and filing them." So, now I'm going to do a combination of the cutting system and the whole insert system. I'm going to cut only the ones I know I'll use, the rest will stay in their inserts and be filed by date. Then if there's a great deal I can't pass up, I'll just use the matchups that the blogs provide to go find that specific coupon I need.

  3. I am really getting into the coupon thing...but still am learning how to manage my bill once I reach the register. But with time I know I will get the hang of it. I have tried many different sites to help me accrue more coupons..but I always seem to run into SPAM. OH well, I will work it out. Happy couponing!!! I am loving the little "Stock pile" I have already started in my garage...will help and have been happy that I can even help out in our Post office food drive and also make a nice College Going Away bag for our Pastor's son who will go to GBS this Fall. :)

  4. I, too, loathe the cutting time! I send my extra coupons on over to my co-worker (uncut, of course!) who is able to pull what she can use. I am looking forward to summer, when I intend to organize my laundry room for better stockpiling. I might begin to file uncut coupons at that point. Right now they would just add to my never ending clutter! :(
    The most annoying thing is when I will be really excited about a deal, only to find that my region was not given a coupon! Ugh! What's up with that, anyway?

  5. Stephanie I love the coupon organization! That is wonderful! How are you feeling? I miss you pretty bad. How is your mom and dad and your WONDERFUL husband ;o) I still couldn't believe how big your children are getting.

  6. I've thought about using the binder but for now a plastic shoebox with envelopes for different categories and stores works for me. I sometimes have used an empty envelope to write my grocery list and then as I pull a coupon I have a place for it. Nothing more aggrivating than losing a coupon along the way. I have found that cutting my coupons with a paper cutter reduces the amount of time it takes to cut them out. I then sort them according to my categories and put them in the envelopes. Every now and then I go through them to pull out the expired ones. It just hit me that I need an expired envelope to put them in if I find them when I'm in the store. I don't do this although I should, but if you know a family on a military base, their stores will accept expired coupons.


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