Sunday, September 20, 2009

Couponing -- How I Store My Coupons

My friend Betsy wrote and asked me to describe how I store my coupons. She made the comment that she originally didn't go "all out" with her coupon organization until she felt she was going to save money doing it. I can understand that as I also used a regular coupon organizer (the small kind you can get for a $1 pretty much anywhere) when I started. Then, I realized I was spending WAY too much time going through coupons in the store and I decided to do something different.

I'm copying an email I sent back to Betsy about how I have my coupons set up in hopes it will help others in their coupon organization. There are many schools of thought about how to organize coupons, so you may find a way that works better for you. This, however, is what works best for me. I was talking with another "newbie" coupon clipper in the store on Saturday and she indicated the person who taught her told her to just keep her coupons unclipped and then use a matching site (I'll explain that later) to see what coupons go with which product you are going to buy on your trip to the store. I told her that I supposed that was a valid school of thought and would save you time clipping, HOWEVER, I take my binder in frequently to stores and find things on mark-down or clearance that are not in sale fliers and therefore I would not know I needed that coupon if I didn't already have it clipped and ready to use. Finding something marked down and using a coupon gets me some really good deals a lot of times. Yesterday, I found Swim Diapers in the clearance section at Kroger for $2.00. While I had already tossed those coupons, I probably would have had one for at least $2.00 and they would have been FREE!!!

I have a three ring binder (recycled from Josh's "stash" from school last year), plastic baseball card sleeves (borrowed from Josh's stash too) and plastic 4x6 photo sleeves (Walmart - 20 for like $2). I also have clear dividers that have pockets in them. This way I can put clipped coupons in the right divider until I have time to file them. OR, I can use them when I want to pull out the coupons I want to use at the store that day.

I have sections for the following coupons and they are in order (pretty much) that they come in in the store.

  • Drinks
  • "Helpers" (seasonings, pastas, hamburger helpers, rices, dressings, etc.)
  • Snacks/Junk Food (cookies, candy, gum, crackers, popcorn)
  • Breakfast foods (eggs, cereal, bars)
  • Baking (mixes, sugar, oils, jellos)
  • Meat
  • Pet food
  • Health/Beauty (shampoos, toothpaste, lotions, bandaids, deodorants)
  • Baby (diapers, wipes, etc.)
  • Household (detergent, cleaners, baggies, etc.)
  • Frozen foods
  • Dairy (yogurts, cheeses, biscuits -- you know, all that stuff on the last aisle)

I clip and store them in the binder and the binder STAYS in the car because I never know when I might come across something that I'll need my coupons for.

Last, but not least, here's a tip (from my Coupon Guru, Kelly) for those of you who might have those BOGOF Reese's coupons that came out a few weeks ago. Walgreens currently has a deal where if you buy two Hershey's candy bars, you get a free Coke Zero. By using these coupons, I managed to snag SIX Reese's bars (I got the three to a pack and they worked) and three Coke Zeros for $2.74.

Stay tuned for more money saving coupon tips coming soon!!

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