Couponing’s benefits, beyond money saved, are the important
virtues and skills you’ll learn (or refine) to become a successful couponer. Contrary to spectacular savings
seen on TV in the space of 15 minutes of super shopping, these skills are
required before you enter the store.
Simply couponing to get a “good deal” can lead to overspending and a
pantry full of ingredients – but no meals.
Patience is needed both in the store and with your
coupons. Marketers want you to
clip the Sunday coupons – and use them sooner than is most valuable to you. Experience will show you that coupons
held until the corresponding sale occurs will save you more money. You may score further savings with a
“Catalina” instant rebate or free item.
That’s patience at work; creating opportunity with your preparation – so
you score the best deal.
Proper Organization – Clip your coupons and organize them in
a manner which is ready to go with you – where you’ll find them when you need
them. Maintained organization means
less work and more value from the time you’ve spent on preparation. Most couponers do not remain with their
initial organization methods, so choose one and be ready to revise as your couponing
envelopes for each store (with your meal plan and/or shopping list written on
An index/recipe/shoe box containing separated coupons (in
envelopes or other sorts of dividers)
Purse-size coupon file; for longevity, choose plastic
files. File coupons by common
grocery categories, alphabetically by brand name, or in order of your most
shopped grocery store – it’s your choice.
Coupon Binder; transform a zipper-closure, 3-ring binder
into an ergonomic couponing tool.
Utilize 3-ring folders and page protector sleeves to hold coupon
policies, weekly ads, etc. Pockets
are handy for calculators, scissors, pens, envelopes, etc. Many money-saving couponer websites
have photos and narrative instructions on how they organize coupons.
A ready-to-use tool that is also designed with some custom
features. This visual organizer
includes pockets for receipts, grocery list, and savings tracker. Its design is a combination between a
coupon file and a coupon binder.
You can use the included categories or using mailing labels, change the
groupings for what you buy most often.
As space allows, add files, pages or pockets for “RAOCK’s”
(Random Acts of Coupon Kindesses), coupons you’ve found along the way but have
yet to file, “CheckOut Goodies”, and “Checkout Stack” – and, perhaps a file or
pocket for each individual store on your route.
Coupon Insert Files:
As you spread the word you’re couponing, you’ll collect more inserts
than you may clip from. To utilize
online coupon databases, you’ll want to organize your inserts
chronologically. An accordion
file, filing cabinet drawer or large shoebox works well. Write the distribution date of the
insert in permanent marker on the front cover – as covers can be similar within
a month’s time. The date is found
on the spine of the insert. Where
the coupon insert came from is also on the spine, and helpful information if
you want to seek out more of that particular insert.
Other Useful Tools:
From the same websites which you printed shopping lists, you
can also find “pantry” or “freezer” inventories.
At-a-glance you can see what you have to plan meals with,
and what perhaps needs to be added to your shopping list.
Once you find an inventory sheet
that you like, expand your forms to include gift-closet lists and other places
in your life where important items come and go from.
Use of what you have on hand, (that you already spent
your money on) saves you time, money and energy over buying
it again at a higher price.
“One-item” trips to the store or last minute holiday buying blitzes we
know, can be very damaging to our savings goals.
“Good Meals, Better Deals” is our next discussion, as we
talk about how to make great meals out of our shopping trips. Please share your organization ideas –
and stay tuned for July’s series as we continue to share money-saving skills.
Labels: Couponing, Frugal Living