Monday, March 19, 2012

How To Coupon Successfully: Organizing Your Coupons

Please welcome with me The Crazy Lady Who Lives Downstairs AKA Tiffany author of His Rib. I asked her to write a guest post for us, and I am very excited about the subject she chose: Coupons! Coupons are very near and dear to my heart, & my family sometimes would not have survived without them.
You can check out His Rib for Tiffany's perspective on being a stay at home wife & mom.

How To Coupon Successfully

To see the full series, check out How to Coupon Successfully: The Start of a Series, How to Coupon Successfully: Why Coupon, and How to Coupon Successfully: Where to Get Coupons.

Once you have all your coupons cut out, it is important to organize them in a useful way. This is one of the most important steps! If you have coupons, but no simple way to organize them, then you will not be successful.

Recipe/Coupon Box - File coupons into similar categories within your box.
Envelops - Label envelops with different categories and separate your coupons into the appropriate envelope. Or some people just cut out the exact coupons you need and want to use then and keep them together in one envelope. The problem I have with doing it this way, is coupons last longer than one week and you may want something in the future, or it may go on sale and you can stock up.
Expanding File or Wallet - Works a lot like the recipe/coupon box except in a file or wallet.
3-Ring Binder - Ok, those ideas are great, and you should use what works best for you, but personally, I LOVE this one!!! I will focus the rest of this post on how to get your binder ready.

Getting Your Binder Coupon Ready

• 3-ring binder - at least 2''
• baseball card holders - at least 25, may be found at local office supply store, craft store, or comic book shop... my husband found them cheaper there for me :)
• 3-ring binder pencil bag - I put restaurant coupons, scissors, and a pen in the bag
• dividers for each section

You will want to divide your binder into sections. The sections will vary for each family depending on items you are in need of and use. Keep in mind, you will rarely find coupons for fruits, vegetables, and bread, so when I get those coupons I put them in a section that is located near these items in the store. I also put my sections in alphabetical order (because it would go against everything in my nature to do otherwise!), but some people put them in order of the isles in their favorite grocery store. Here are my sections:
• Baby
• Body Wash/Deodorant
• Breakfast
• Canned Items
• Cleaning Supplies
• Condiments
• Cooking Supplies
• Dairy
• Dental
• Desserts
• Drinks
• Frozen
• Hair Care
• Household (other)
• Laundry
• Meat
• Medicine
• Pasta
• Personal (other)
• Pet
• Seasonings
• Shaving Supplies
• Snacks
• Store Specific (Like Target, Walgreens, etc)
When putting my coupons away, I make sure only exact coupons are stacked in the same slot. Stacking similar coupons, but not the same, can be confusing and you may forget about the coupons in the back.

You must use a system that works for you. Figure out which one you like, and will actually use, and just DO IT!

How do you organize your coupons?

Thank you Tiffany for all that great information!
I used to use an expandable folder to organize my coupons & it was a struggle for me to finally give up & get a binder. My reasoning was that the binder would be to big to manage, but let me tell you now that I have switched shopping takes much less time! With the expandable folder I had to rifle through all the coupons in any given category to find the one I wanted to use. Now with the binder I just have to flip pages and I can see  12 coupons at a time :)
I will tell you that I organize my dividers by how I shop. The personal hygiene & cleaning coupons are in front, then the nonperishable food, and lastly the food that has to be cold.
So like Tiffany asked, tell us how you organize your coupons, or if you don't yet did Tiffany make a believer out of you?

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