Organize Your Coupons While You Cut
Like MS Do
Whether your want to organize your coupons for a box or a binder, my system should help you get organized and saving like a pro in no time. I save 40 – 60% per shopping trip. Although my directions are written for a binder, box users can still get organized with the same directions. They just need to substitute dividers in place of my coupon sleeves.
I have learned that I should go through the coupon inserts/flyers first. I’ve often printed the coupons out and later realized that I already had preprinted coupons for the same items! Then I go through and print all of the online coupons that I’m interested in. It doesn’t matter whether or not I have found a sale for it. I just print coupons that are for items that I would “normally” buy, with or without a coupon.
Next, I go through ALL of my coupon inserts, clip ALL the coupons of products that I might consider buying. I set aside the other coupons so that friends may go through them. I don’t clip them out unless I know of someone in specific that I’m going to give the coupons to. Otherwise, I don’t clip out the coupons that I know that I won’t use.
I’ve streamlined my system a bit over the years. I now purchase newspapers in quantities of 4 (when possible), because I now see coupons with limits of 4 printed on them. I put all like coupon inserts together, clipping all like pages together with paperclips. I’ve recently started using paperclips to clip together the coupons that I plan to cut out. I do this on the coupons themselves, not just the pages. This keeps the pages together so that they won’t slide around as I cut them out. It also keeps the coupons together after I cut them out so that they’re easier to sort.
I recently began using silverware trays instead of these baskets, but either one should work well for you. I have about 15 long, slender plastic baskets that I have labeled with sticky notes. I use the same categories on the sticky notes that I use in my binder. I line the baskets up alphabetically on the table beside me (while I sit in my recliner watching TV with my feet up). As I cut the coupons out, I drop them into the appropriate basket. This helps me avoid having to sort a huge pile of coupons later on. After they’re all cut and sorted into the baskets, I put them ALL into my binder. I have a variety of sections in my binder that help facilitate my shopping trips. If I know for a fact that I will be using a particular set of coupons immediately I will put them into the “Use Quickly” section or I will place them into the section for the particular store where I know I will use them. I have pictures and very specific details over on my blog, if you’re interested.
When I’m prepping to go shopping, I go through either my paper copies of my ads or through the online ads. I circle all of the items in the ad that I’m interested in purchasing, with or without a coupon. If I have a coupon, I will note that on the ad with just the amt & a Q. If I think that I may have a Q, but I’m not positive, I circle the item and put a “Q?.” This is my code for “I think I have a Q.” This tells me that I need to look for those Qs in particular.
As I search for the Qs, I pull those that match my circled items in my sales ads. I put them in the immediately into the section for that store. I then store my marked up ad behind my Q pages for that store. As I put them into the storage pages, I try to put them in according to the layout of the store. My store ad or list that I’ve made is tucked into that section of my binder as well. Store coupons and rainchecks are kept in the sections for the stores to which they belong. No way to lose them if they are kept where they belong.
Although I spend a lot of time organizing at home, it saves me a tremendous amount of time in the store. I’m able to go directly to the needed aisles and can shop according to my Qs. This helps keep me focused in the store and also helps keep me from making random purchases while wandering around the store. I have MS and it kills me to stand for long periods of time as I would have to do when I’m not highly organized as I describe. However, when I follow these steps I’m able to do TONS of quick, focused shopping and save a LOT of money! My average savings is 40-60% savings per shopping trip.