Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Coupon Organization

I like to coupon.  It's true.  However, when I watch a particular show about people who are extreme in this area I have a difficult time wrapping my head around the fact that they spend 35+ hours a week cutting coupons, planning, etc.  I will soon have three girls three and under -- I don't have that kind of time to spend and if I did there are other things I would rather do with that time.  That's just where I am with things.  However, with the increase in food prices and our growing family I want to make our dollars stretch.  I have to find a happy balance.  So, I appreciate the coupon service that I subscribe to and the websites that do many of the coupon to product match-ups for me.

Another thing that was taking up a lot of my time was clipping the coupons.  I would tend to clip almost ALL the coupons (minus things like make-up or pet food or other things that I knew we would NEVER use, etc) -- I clipped because I thought, "If I don't it will be on super sale or free and I will miss out!"  It may not have been such a big deal if I only had one copy of each coupon insert.  However, there are week that I can end up with three or more of the inserts.  I didn't want to cut ALL of them out just in case.  Because then after they are cut they were entered into a spreadsheet.  UGH.  Drive me bananas!!

So, I streamlined it a bit.

I purchased a portable file box and some hanging folders.  My simple system was ready to put in place.  I mark the coupon insert boldly with a marker with the date on front.  Create a label for that date on a folder.  Slide them in and there you go.  When I get to where I need more folders I will return to the front of the folder and check those inserts for coupons that may still be good.  However, odds are they will all be expired.  Toss the old inserts in the recycle bin, create new label, and we are good to go.

Honestly, I have over a month's worth of inserts to file.  I have just been lazy lately.  Although, I think with about 30 minutes after the girls go down for nap I will be all caught up.  Easy peasy.

The downside to this method is that you are not as familiar with what coupons you have on hand.  I'm okay with that right now.  However, I can also look through the inserts before I file them to help with that some.  For those that like having ALL their coupons with them in the store just in case this is not the method for you.  I generally just take the coupons for the items that I will buy.  If I find a great deal at the store, I can always go back.  This just helps me stay on budget a bit better.  If I am looking for a particular coupon or if there is one available I simply consult a coupon database that is available through my coupon service and most sites that match up coupons for you.

This saves me the most time right now.  I may go back to the other way some day.  But for now, I really like the simplicity of this method.


  1. Now I know your secrets ;-P. I'm still SO very bad at this. I swear, I can't seem to save more than 30%. And usually it's less than that. I have to be day.