Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday

I actually don't have a tip today. I need help.

It works for me to use coupons. I know lots of people who claim it's too hard or time consuming or it just wont work for them. But I've been saving money. Not only saving money, but getting tons of free stuff. And with the holidays on me, I'm having to buckle down and save even more to be able to finish buying presents. SOOOOO.....

What works for you for coupon organizing? I need serious help.

12 comments:

Phoebe said...

Found you through Rocks..
Couponing is great!! I use the binder method personally. I talked about it a bit in a post I did yesterday.

Here is the link (http://gettingfreedom.blogspot.com/2008/10/couponing-tips.html).

Good luck finding a solution...and Happy Bargain Shopping!

Beulah said...

I also do the binder thing. I have a basic 3 ring binder. In it, I've placed baseball card protectors. I have everything categorized by tabbies to make it easier to find. I have a 3 ring envelope in the front for reciepts and 3 ring folders in the back for store specific coupons. I'm going to add a coupon policy section soon, just in case I run into any problems at the store. I have at CVS.

Mom2fur said...

I third the motion for a coupon binder! Of all the methods I've used, it's the best. I do mine a little differently than most people, though. I keep my coupon circulars intact.
Some of my ideas came from a blog I read a few months back. I feel bad I don't remember who that was, but here goes:
1. I got myself a cute pink binder. If you're gonna do it, IMHO, you should do it cute.

2. I already have lots of 'page protectors' from scrapbooking in the perfect 8.5 x 11 size. One circular goes in one page protector. I put the date on the front of the circular.

3. I divide the main coupon section into 3 parts--Smart Source, Redplum and "Other," which includes Proctor & Gamble.

4. In the front of the binder, I have a zipper pouch with scissors, a pencil and different colored highlights (more on those later).
5. In the back, I have a large zipper envelope (it's clear) in which I put my circulars and any 'local' coupons I might use.
6. I also have another smaller pouch for 'loose' coupons cut from magazines (or not used for some reason or other on a particular grocery trip.)

Okay, here's the 'work' part of it. I make lists every week of what coupons I'll use. I have these on loose-leaf paper. It tends to rip, so I should use those little reinforcer circles, but I just put them in the pocket inside the binder's front cover.

I divide each week's list into three groups: under a dollar, a dollar, and very high value. Nobody around here doubles over 99 cents, which is why I want to know which coupons are less than that.

Then I go through the circular and write down what I'll use in the appropriate column.

Here is where those highlighter pens come in handy: I use green for food, blue for household and pink for health and beauty. It makes it easier to find what I want!

Yes, it takes me several hours a week. But I save so much (and have such a well-stocked pantry and freezer I could go for ages buying only essentials like milk and eggs) that it's like being paid $30 or $40 an hour for my work.

Oh! And I've been doing "Grocery Game" for about 3 years now and highly recommend it.

I hope you don't mind how long my comment is!

Heather said...

I use a 3x5 note card box to organize my coupons. Inside, I use 3x5 cards with a tab attached to the top that gives the category, i.e., beverages, condiments, dairy, first aid, etc. I have found that the more specific I am with the categories, the more likely I am to think of and use the coupon. Once a month (usually at the beginning of the month, when a lot of coupons come out), I weed through the expired ones. If I am writing out my grocery list and I know that I have a coupon for that item, I place a * by the item on my list and pull the coupon to the front of my coupon box. I've left my coupon box behind several times, so I have my phone number clearly marked on the outside of my box! :)

eally said...

Hi! Found you through Rocks WFMW. I use coupon binder...zippered binder with tabbed dividers. My tabbed dividers are the plastic ones with the pockets so I can put my CRT coupons from CVS or larger coupons inside the plastic pockets. Not all the coupons will fit in the baseball card holders.

Ouiz said...

Count me in as another binder person!

I keep all the circulars in the front pocket, all the coupons I know I'll be using in the zippered pouch in the front (along with all my CVS ECBs), my grocery lists in page protectors, and then all my coupons in baseball card holders (with card stock in between each page so I don't see all the coupons on the next pages, which would be WAY too much visual clutter for me)... all nicely tabbed, and in grocery store aisle order for the main store I shop at.

The problem with this system is that (a) it's a binder, so it doesn't fit into my purse and therefore I must make myself remember to have it with me and (b) if I want to keep everything in expiration date order, I have to pull each coupon out and put it in the next pocket.

The benefits to this system, in my mind, outweigh the drawbacks. I can keep EVERYTHING in this binder, so I don't have to juggle extra pieces of paper. Also, when I turn to the proper page, I can see all the coupons I have in that category, instead of balancing my file box on the handle of the cart while I file through each coupon.

Hope this helps!

Michelle said...

Thank you all for your responses. I do have questions, so I commented on your blogs.

What a great idea to put the coupon policy in the binder.

The binder method seems the most convenient. But it's taking me FOREVER to get them filed. Any tricks?

Ouiz said...

Michelle, I am sending you a link to the post I did about my binder:

http://chezouiz.blogspot.com/2008/09/work-in-progress.html

Good luck! I can't wait to see what system you decide to use!

Ouiz said...

I have a new post on my blog that answers more questions.

I forgot to mention a trick that I saw on someone else's blog... I wish I remembered where so I could give proper credit... and that is to have a big posterboard grid with the basic categories marked out on it. Each week I take my large stack of coupons and slap them down in the proper grid, which makes it a whole lot easier to file them in the proper pages.

Heather said...

I'm writing back to follow up the question you asked regarding my previous coupon advice. Initially, it did take a while to sort the coupons, but after that, maybe 5-10 minutes a week. I only clip coupons for items that I use. The box can be cumbersome to deal with if you have a baby or toddler with you, especially one who is learning about gravity! When I take my toddler with me, I typically pull the coupons for items that are on my list and place those coupons in my pocket or wallet. I then put the coupon box in the cart away from my toddler, just in case I see a good deal on something I have a coupon for.

milissa said...

I'm so glad you asked this question...because I also need suggestions on how to organize coupons. Seems that since I started couponing, I'm actually spending MORE money. That's not the way it's supposed to work...and I know a lot of people SAVE money, so I figure I just need to get orgainzed. I just organized all my coupons into a 3x5 box with index cards labeled as dividers. The other thing I did was create a Word document...it's just a list of all my coupons. The labels on the document match the labels on the dividers. The document lists the coupon, specifics (like buy 2 or 25oz jar, etc), amount ($1.00), and exp date. It was time consuming to get it all together, but it doesn't take that long to update and it's easier for me to look at the list than try to memorize or flip through all coupons on every shopping trip. It's a new method, so I'll let you know how well it works. And I'll be checking back to see the other suggestions. Copying is a form of flattery and I will happily flatter someone with a better method. :)

milissa said...
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