How-To Organize Your Coupons!
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Ever wonder how in the world we always find coupons or what to do with all the newspapers? This is no longer the age of your Gramma’s little coupon file or plastic recipe card holder that you put clipped coupons into! With getting multiple papers, (and multiple inserts!) clipping coupons has become a chore and can take quite a bit of time. I do have a friend who is kid-less, lives with her parents and is a crazy insomniac and she uses a binder simply because she has no outside distractions and she doesn’t sleep. I should clarify, she has 2 binders, 5″ each. One for food and one for non food. They are huge. Just huge. I could never imagine maintaining, clipping and cleaning like that! If that doesn’t sound like something you can handle doing, then take a crack at my way! It will take you less than 2 minutes a week and is super easy!
Now, I can’t be bothered with those crazy binders. For one, I definitely do NOT have enough time in my day to put that much effort in. I don’t want couponing to take up ALL of my time. As I said before, you should be getting 4-6 papers. Do you want to sit around and clip ALL of those coupons and then try to find a spot for them in your binder? I sure don’t! Instead, I take manila folders, label them with the date and the name of the insert and put the whole, uncut insert inside. For example, I write on my folder 2/5 SS (that would mean it is the SmartSource insert from the week of 2/5). A great place to store these is in a milk crate or a desk drawer.
When I am going through the match-ups on the website or searching for a coupon in the Coupon Database, I know exactly where to find my coupon. Say I do a search for Gillette Body Wash, the Coupon Database is going to tell me there is a coupon in the 3/2 P&G. All I have to do is pull that folder and clip the one coupon I need! How easy was that? Any coupon blog it is going to tell you how to find a coupon based on date and insert… not by the page in your coupon binder. That’s another GREAT reason to organize your coupons this way. Is couponing starting to sound a bit easier to you?
The one question I always get is “What about those deals that are unadvertised that you could get if you took your binder with you?” My Answer: The amount of “deals” that I run into that are unadvertised are few and far between. Maybe I saw 6 deals last year that I knew I had coupon for at home. If the deal is that great, I will ask the cashier to hold the items for me and I will run home and grab my coupons! That saves me hundreds of hours of “work” a year and I would rather waste a few dollars in gas than hundreds of hours. How about you?
Now, I do actually own a coupon binder but I use it completely differently than you could imagine! Instead of having it set up in categories, I have it set up by stores – Grocery Stores, Drug Stores. For each store that I shop at, I have a zippered pouch/pencil case labeled with each store name. For example – CVS. Inside of my CVS pouch I have my CVS Card, all of my CVS coupons, and ExtraCare Bucks. When I make a list for CVS and clip my coupons, I can easily throw my coupons and lists right inside of the pouch and put it in my purse. No crazy binder to carry into the store, and I have everything I need for that store right at my fingertips!
I know some of you are just in love with the idea of having a binder or actually want to take the time to clip and take care of your binder. Some of the best coupon binders I have seen are made from a company called Case-It. Just remember before you go and start a binder, that you have to keep up with it! It is a job within itself and many people who have one will tell you the same thing. The positive thing about having a binder is you don’t actually have to sit down and make a list. You can just grab your binder and head to the store flipping through your coupons and pulling coupons as you shop. The best way is to have your coupons in plastic baseball card holders and have plenty of dividers for different categories such as frozen, health and beauty, pet, baby, etc. You get the idea. No matter which organization method you choose, it’s important that it works for you. What works for one may not work for another. Once you figure out which way is best for you, couponing will become so much fun!
Coupon inserts can be found in most major newspapers Sunday issues (and sometimes the Saturday evening edition will have the coupons… and are cheaper than the Sunday edition!). Some papers may not carry all inserts or variations of coupons. This varies by the area the consumer lives and which newspaper is purchased. Also, the actual coupons can vary regionally as well. For example, a $1.00 off coupon on the East Coast may be a $.55 coupon on the West Coast. I recommend getting at least 4 papers!
• Smart Source (SS) – most common insert
•RetailMeNot (formerly RedPlum) (RMN) – second most common insert
• Proctor & Gamble (P&G) – . Insert comes out once a month and the coupons are only good for 2 weeks to one month. Brands include Bounty, Charmin, Tide, Covergirl, Olay, Gillette, Old Spice, Clairol and more!
• Most inserts are not available every week of every month
• Inserts may not be available on some holidays
• Not every newspaper has the same coupons or the same inserts.
• It is beneficial to have at least 4-8 of each coupon! This way, when you are headed to the store for a FREE item, you can get 4 or 8 instead of just 1!