Coupon Capers = Organizing all those Clippings!
I have a lot of issues with coupons. Mainly I forget I have them, forget them at home and buy X without them, buy random things I don’t need just because “I have a coupon for it! what a deal!”
From what I’ve read, the best way to sale shop/buy with coupons is:
1. Clip it when you get it - there is nothing worse to having to sort through a pile of newspapers/ads/print outs everytime you head to the store.
2. Think about it before you cut – is it something you would normally buy? is it really saving you money? – like .75 off granola bars at hy vee is still more expensive than buying them in bulk at Sam’s Club. Clipping when you get things in allows you to be more discressionary about your usage than if you are carrying your ad around the store with you.
3. Double up! - when ever possible double up savings. If your store let’s you – double up those coupons. Use the store coupon and the manufacturer’s coupon when ever possible too – earn points on your card on top of that to get some cashback later through them.
4. Organize – some people put their coupons in a shoe box with dividers or a recipe box works well too. I like the binder method personally. Divide up your coupons in a way that makes sense to you and your purchasing pattern.
1 binder – I used an old Avon binder
5″ X 7″ envelopes – or if using a larger binder 8″ X 10″ envelopes
hot glue gun
The first step is to decorate your binder in a way that you like. I’m not sure why, but this always just makes me feel more likely to use it as planned if it’s jazzed up. I just used some fabric, paper bags, and paint to fix mine up. The write bike pattern has step by step instructions for covering your binder this way.
Then take out as many envelopes as you have categories and label each one. Oh you know, clear sleeves would be really great for this – some people even use base ball card holders. I didn’t have any though, so some envelopes I have had forever and never used it is.
I divided my categories as follows:
Bath & Beauty
Match up where your holes should be and punch holes in each envelope. I am using envelopes that have the little metal tabs on them, so I can close them and reopen them no problem, but even without that if you fold the flap of the envelope into the envelope you should be okay.
Put all your envelopes into the binder and get ready to save some money!
More Coupon Organizers and Frugal Living Articles
Coupon Organizer System Round up from TipNut (very good article – you should all read it)
Frugal Living Helpers - round up of frugal living articles
Coupon Organizer DIY – kind of like the one I made, but using different types of clear sleeves to put them in, very good ideas on things, I just didn’t want to spend money to save money so I used envelopes, but if you have these around I would recommend using them.
Detailed List on How to Store Coupons – a good read to figure out the best way that would work for you.
Hillbilly Housewife – I particularly liked the shopping strategies part of this site as I personally suck at that.
MSN Smart Spending Blog
So why did I catch the coupon bug so bad this month? You can read more about that on Kro Studio. To sum up though Jason and I are cutting our budget in half for groceries, eating out, and home expenses (bath and beauty and cleaning and pets). Down to $600 for a 6 month stretch actually. We are doing this because we are both pretty passionate about getting out of debt as soon as possible and also just what’s the point of spending that much on food? not much of one. I’ll be posting more about our $600=6 months of expenses project here so you can check in there for regular updates/tips/ideas/recipes related to that project. I’m going to write up a formal post just about that project soon, but I want to get Jason in on it too, so it won’t be until tomorrow or the day after.
See you soon! Happy Clipping!