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Baby steps to start using coupons
Take the complications out of couponing
Organize for your life!
So you have decided to coupon...
How long have you been at it? Do you have a system in place or are you being attacked by mobs of newspapers and clippings? It takes a while to really find a routine and you may have to try a few frustrating things first, but once you have the right one it can get really easy!
These where the stages that I went thru. Maybe it will help you. Feel free to skip these steps!
First I went clip crazy. It didn't take me long to figure out that this was not going to work for me. I got scissor cramps, which I didn't know existed. I cleverly kept them in dated envelopes, filed by month in my hanging folder filer. Then it came time to search for the coupons. It was cool because it was already clipped but the small clippings were hard to navigate thru. Some tried to fall out of the envelope. It had taken me a long (LOOONG) time to clip them initially and honestly I was not going to use all of them. Since I donate coupons, this method was nice, but the coupons didn't have to be so perfectly clipped for donations. Well, the cons (scissor cramps, falling coupons, and looong clipping process) out weighed the pros and out went that method. Then, I tried putting the entire coupon book in plastic sleeves in a binder. That huge binder filled up really quickly in just 2 or 3 months. That would mean 5 or 6 binders to go thru. Plus, the books slipped out of the sleeves and I had to go thru each individual book to cut coupons. What a mess. Next please!
Finally, I learned that combining a few things would be right for me. I decided to make one coupon book out of the 4 repeat books I get each Sunday. I don't want you to cut them out all together at the same time. I learned that they shift and you can cut the barcode or expiration date off of the ones in the back without noticing and then you may as well trash it. It is VOID. Yep, trial and error. See why I share? You can't imagine how excited I was to learn that one. Besides, there is something called gang coupons that merchants are weary of and do not get reimbursed for. Gang coupons means that you cut a bunch together (in a gang pile). By taking a few minutes to combine the books I save time when searching for a coupon. I know I have 4 and they are all back to back. I then take this one big book and place it into a plastic sleeve with a piece of paper identifying the date and source (i.e. Red Plum, Smart Source, etc.). I put all the same source, same month coupon books together in one hanging file. I have 2 hanging files for each month. I have a file for my Publix store coupons, buy one get one coupons, one for free items, one for grocery coupons that came in the mail or that I have printed, and one for non grocery coupons that I have gotten. You can make a file for anything you prefer. Needless to say, a small or portable hanging file container may not be big enough for this method. This method really makes it simple for me especially when combined with my super simple shopping binder method.
In one extra file, I have loose scrap paper, scissors, and pens handy. Since everything is together, I can easily store it out of site under the living room end table and pull it out when its time to clip coupons or add new coupons. I keep a small box or manilla envelope that I got in the mail in the past on top of my filer so that I can take out expired coupons as I see them. About once a month, I mail the box/envelope full of expired coupons out to Troopons for donation. That is the bulk of my home system.
I have to say that this method is really husband friendly and takes a lot less time. Now, couponing is not a part time job for me. Since I am not trying to get hundreds of dollars of groceries for ten cents, this works best for me. I get the papers, I can read thru one and see what I want and use it as a guide for the others. I quickly toss it in the recycle bin, no clutter no worries, drop the coupons and ads in the filer and come back to it when I have my shopping list ready. You may be different, but I hope you enjoyed the article and at least got some ideas.
Wishing you peaceful savings!
Click here for a quick coupon 101 post.
Have a question, comment or email me and I will cover it!