Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Beginner's Guide: Organizing Your Coupons

To clip or not to clip... the answer is up to you. Really whatever organizational system gets you to use your coupons is the best way! I'll share a few ways that I've seen. You can use one of them, a combination of them, or find your own way.

If you're not sure where to get all the wonderful coupons, check out my first post.
The Non-Clipper
I personally am not a clipper. I shouldn't completely say that... I clip cereal coupons, and I highly recommend it. Cereal goes on sale by company -Kellogg's or General Mills- but it's not always all of them, so if you have all your cereal coupons, you'll be able to pick out another one if the one you planned on using isn't on sale.

I hang on to all of my inserts and write the date on the front. I keep the newer ones in a cubby hole above my desk, and the older ones in a file bin underneath my desk. I find this works for me, because when I use sites, like Pocket Your Dollars (described in my third post), they tell me to look in the 4/10 SS (the Smart Source insert that came in the paper on April 10th), so I can pull out that insert and cut out the coupon they are referencing.

After I have cut out or printed all of my coupons and made my list, I put all the coupons in my store envelope  (except the cereal ones... they have their own special envelope). As I am shopping, I take the coupons out that I am using, paper clip them, and set them on my purse (if you do that make sure they won't fall out of your cart!) Then when I'm ready to check out, I can hand the cashier my nice stack of coupons.

Well, what if you cut out a coupon, and don't use it at the store? Then I have my handy-dandy coupon organizer. I've seen people use a variety of things for this. I have a cute little keeper that I had gotten from Target when the hubbs & I made our wedding registry a couple years ago. Then inside I keep "junk mail" envelopes with different labels (cereal, baking, frozen, female stuff, baby, etc.) This way if I cut out a coupon, but don't end up using it, I have it filed. I also find that it keeps the coupons that I get in the mail (from free samples or what-not) all in one organized place as well.

The Clipper
Now I know quite a few people that clip their coupons, and use a similar organizational system that I use for the coupons that I do end up clipping. They clip the coupons that they know they will use (for products that they know they'll buy, or ones they know will result in freebies). Then most of them throw their inserts. If this works for you, then great! Use it! (It's all about finding the system that works for you, so that you keep using your coupons & don't get frustrated trying to find them.) I found that I didn't cut all the coupons that I would end up using, plus it makes my coupon-organizer way to big, and the thing won't close.

Read more about how to start using your coupons.

These are the methods I have seen... I would love to hear what works best for you, as it may well work great for another reader!

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