I’m reorganizing my coupons this week so I thought it would be a good idea to show you my system. When friends would encourage me to use coupons, I’d grudgingly agree, buy a paper, go through and clip the 3 or 4 I thought I might use and head to the grocery store. Usually I’d be frustrated because either A) they wouldn’t have the brand that matched my coupon, or B) it was cheaper to buy something else even WITH my coupon. I was doing it ALL WRONG.
First of all, I rarely buy what I NEED at that very moment. Think of it like this. I have 2 tubes of toothpaste on the shelf in my bathroom. I don’t NEED anymore, right this second. But last week, Target had an online coupon for 1.00 off Aquafresh. Publix, who matches competitors coupons, had Aquafresh on sale for 1.00. So I was able to purchase 10 boxes FREE. Did I need it just then, no. But now when I do, I’ll have a stockpile. If I waited until I needed it, I’d have paid much more. Make sense?
Okay, I buy at least 6 of the largest newspaper available to me – the AJC. I also have a Sunday subscription to my local paper, so every week begins with at least 7. I take out the inserts and discard the rest. YES, I recycle.
There are usually 2-3 inserts in my Sunday paper – Smartsource (SS) Redplum (RP) and P&G (PG). I put them in stacks, then choose one to begin.
I’m starting with P&G. First I collate them. I take off all the covers and lay them inside each other.
Once I’ve got all the like pages together, I staple them.
This may seem like a unnecessary step, but you will be glad later when you’re flipping through and trying to find your coupons in a hurry.
I do this with all of the pages, and all three inserts, making essentially three big books of coupons.
This whole process took me about 40 minutes, but I was stopping to take photos. I usually do it while sitting in front of the tv. Now that the books are done, it’s time to file them by date of issue. Some people just drop them into a manilla envelope with the date on the outside, you can put them anywhere you like. When I first started, I used pocket separaters and filed them in a ring binder. We quickly grew into FOUR books. It doesn’t take long to accumulate a ton. I have books from early March that still have unexpired coupons in them.
Now I just use a file box. I put the date on a post-it, and separate the inserts from each other with the pocket separaters I had on hand. You can use regular file folders, or whatever floats your boat. But it’s important to separate them by DATE.
The final step is checking coupon blogs. About twice a week I go to www.SouthernSavers.com or www.Dealseekingmom.com or any of the bazillion on the web and look for the new grocery store sales. They will post a list that says something like this –
SAMPLE -Publix, BOG1 (buy one, get one) Kelloggs Pop-Tarts for $2.60 Use $1/1 SS 4/15 for 30 cents each!
See, I can use the 1.00 off of 1 in the Smart Source 4/15 insert and because you can use one coupon per item, in this case 2, it makes it 2 dollars off. Now I just flip to 4/15 in my file box, find the Smartsource and I’m ready to go! TOO easy.
You can buy tons of stuff, very cheaply, and give what you don’t want to your local food pantry or homeless shelter.
One more interesting thing…OCCASIONALLY I do have to buy something that’s not on sale. So I go to www.thecouponmom.com and click the Search Coupon Database link. I can put in what I’m looking for, and it will tell me if there are any coupons available.
There are lots of freebies and good deals available, and you will be amazed how much you save. I will try to post deals when I see them here, but google around for your area. We don’t have Harris Teeter, but they sometimes TRIPLE coupons. I may consider moving.
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions. Happy Shopping!