Friday, March 19, 2010

Revisiting Coupon Organizing Methods

In getting ready for Southern Coupon Workshop here in Cartersville on March 27th, I'm going to repost some of my past coupon shopping break-downs and shopping post. This post is originally from December 2010

When I first found back in October, I was overwhelmed with the amount of time and energy it took for me to organize my coupons. I read several different blogs, including Jenny’s at Southern Savers and found that although everyone has their own favorite way to organize, there are really four main methods:

1. The “stuff it all in an envelope” Method
2. The Expanding File Method 3. The Notebook Method
4. and the No Cut Method
While I’ll let Jenny give you the “how-to’s”, I will give you my testimonial.

Believe it or not, I did start with the “envelope” method. I had a main envelope that I tried to keep in order according to products (dairy, cleaners, etc.) Then I had an envelope for each store (CVS, Ingles, etc). Each week as Jenny posted her lists, I would pull from the main envelope and place the coupon I needed in the appropriate store envelope. Problem was that, as time went on, I acquired too many coupons and it was a mess! I couldn’t keep with what was expiring and sometimes I would see unadvertised specials in the store and not have my main envelope!

So I advanced to the expandable file method – actually it was the DELUXE model! I purchased a hard index card file that resembled the card catalogs in the library (when I was young they had actual FILE CABINETS with card indexes, not computers!)

This worked much better. I created file tabs for each product division then put the files in order of the store isles. I created separate files for specific store coupons (such as Extra Care Bucks) and kept the coupons in each file with the newest dated one in the back. I felt a little weird carrying this thing in and it was awkward to navigate in the store – but it was better than the envelopes!

Finally, after seeing many women with their fine nice zip-up notebooks – I moved on up again.

I bought the notebook (regular priced $19.99) on sale for $12, the trading card sleeves and divider tabs for a total of $21 – but used my Staples Rewards coupon ($15) and only paid $6 out of pocket. It took TWO days to change over the coupons. Each sleeve represents an isle in the grocery store I frequent the most. Each coupon product has its own place, with the oldest coupon on top. I love it! I can scan each page to see if there are any expiring coupons and mark them with a sticky tab. When I go to the store, I use the cart with the kid’s extra seat and it fits perfectly.

After using this method for a couple of weeks, I feel much more organized. Having the notebook that zips up and has a handle on the binding is great. Nothing falls out. Nothing gets wet. Everything is easy to file.

So now, I’m thinking…..should I try to the no-cut method now that I have all my “cut” coupons organized? Maybe I should have listened to Jenny adn STARTED with this method? LOL!

I have to say the only thing that is keeping me from changing is that I like to have ALL my coupons with me when I shop. I hate to be in Publix, find an unadvertised sale and NOT have the coupon…..Guess I’ll have to think on that one a little more.

Now, tell me……what method do you use and why?

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

I am doing it right now...the same method, but a smaller version of it. I have a plain 1 1/2" binder and I ordered the 9 pocket baseball card sheets. I knew I would like this method the best, but it has taken awhile to get it set up. And since I buy two Sunday papers a week, it is not easy to keep up with, but worth it. And it's getting very full very fast!

Thanks, Kendal, for inspiring me! I'm serious, it was your posts with your scanned receipts that convinced me I had to try it. Between your blog and Southern Savers, I am well on my way to becoming an extreme couponer! Last month, I brought home over $100.00 worth of products from Rite Aid and not only did the products come out to be free at the end of the month, I MADE $24 bucks! I took that same $24 back to Rite Aid a few days ago and came home with another $100 worth of products for no more out of pocket cash! And I am saving at least 50% at the grocery store at every visit and it will only get better. That is a lot of saved money!!! Thank you for helping to inspire me.