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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

How Do I Store My Coupons?

Coupons are just like money and you have to figure out what's the best way to store your money so why not do the same to get the most out of your coupons? It took me a few different systems to finally figure out what worked best for me and storing my coupons and it's still kinda complicated but it's what works for me. Just because you see other people using a binder, the binder might not be for you! I was asked to write up a few different methods to give ideas on how to store coupons because we can always learn off from each other! 

For the ultimate beginner:

When I first started out couponing I did nothing more than buy my local paper each Sunday and cut out the coupons of products that I use on a regular basis. So it was a simple envelope and off to Walmart I went where oh look I feel like Oreos, I have a coupon, sweet saved a buck. I soon saw my bi-weekly Walmart trips of $300 go down to $200 so decided I needed to start looking more into this whole thing.

I will say that I STILL have something like this because I don't do the binder thing but I don't want to miss out on clearance sales. I have a little clutch separated alphabetically with coupons of products that I use on a regular basis and my free product coupons. It goes into the store with me at all times so I'm not lugging around ALL of my coupons and I don't miss a nice clearance or unannounced sale on something that I always use! 

Team Binder: 

Ahhh the binder. Idolized by many people on Extreme Couponing and they carry it around like their children.  I personally cannot do these because it will take an organized person to keep it up to date. The binder is separated either into categories (pantry, cleaning, personal, pets, etc.) or some go further and separate it into their grocery store aisles. Using the baseball card holders you place your coupons inside so that you can see exactly what you need. So if you are looking for Lysol, you'd flip to your cleaning section look for the Lysol coupons and grab them out of their pocket. 

A good binder should be one you can zip up. You don't want to be the person with a 12 lb. binder that falls onto the floor with coupons flying every which way. In the front pocket or in a zip up pencil case you can include a calculator, scissors, highlighter, shopping list, a baggy to store your coupons for the cashier and extra pens/pencils. You should also include your coupon policies inside of your binder as you never know when it might come in handy at your stores. 

Pros of Team Binder include you have all of your coupons when you head to the store. So when you see something unadvertised or on clearance you have the coupons there for you to grab those deals. You also have less prep work in preparing your shopping trip because your coupons are already clipped and ready to go compared to team insert. 

Cons of Team Binder are more organization to keep together. Pulling expired coupons and clipping coupons to sort into the binder means it needs to be done weekly or more. Falling behind will quickly put your binder system into a downfall. 

Team Insert:

This is for those who are not the best at keeping up on coupons...like me. I order 5 extra sets of the paper each week. I separate these out and staple the like coupons together and then fold back into the top part and write the date on the front. You can easily store these in files or in an accordion style folder. So when you are looking at ad matchups and you see Smart Source 2/7, you simply go to your Smart Source from Feb. 7th and look for the coupon you need, clip the number you are looking for and put it back into it's place. 

Even when I get behind (which I do...a lot...) because my coupons are shipped to me I have the date on the packaging so I can easily see the date on the front even with the coupons not sorted together. I can see the date and pull out that envelope (or file if I wasn't using the mailing envelopes) and pull out the coupons I need because it's still sorted by date. 

Pros of Team Insert include not having to be completely caught up with coupons week to week. 

Cons of Team Insert are not being able to see each of your coupons flipping through them as often as a binder. Plus you have to spend more time clipping coupons before your shopping trip each week. 

Some Final Tips:

Regardless to which method you use, you should also head to the store with a shopping list ready to go. Team Binder can be hard to stick to that shopping list when you have all the coupons at your fingertips. I talked about an additional clutch that I carry with coupons of products I use so I won't go crazy buying something that I wouldn't use just because of a fantastic sale. I am all Team Insert so I have an additional clutch that I have the coupons pulled for each store for that trip. Inside each of the sleeves are my reward cards, ECBs, UPs, etc., and the coupons for each store, leaving my first spot open so I can pull coupons to the front ready to hand to the cashier when checking out. 

It make take a few tries to figure out what works for you and even tweaking some of the ideas about might be what works best! I know some people who do both but use the binder for those products that they use regularly and keep their inserts sorted together for the just in case products.

What about you? What system do you use and what are the pros/cons of it? Or did I miss anything above? 

Leah Shumack is the voice behind Clair's Freebies. Born and raised in ski country Western NY where I still live today with my beautiful 8 year old daughter. When I'm not tending to her or out scoping deals I enjoy entering giveaways and trying out new things in the kitchen!

5 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting these helpful tips :)

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  2. I am so unorganized when it comes to couponing, and because I am a beginner it makes it twice as hard. Thank you for your VERY useful post! I will be putting your suggestions to good use!

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  3. Thanks for the good ideas; been battling how to store my coupons for a while!

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  4. Great ideas....definitely will help me-I need to get my stuff organized.. thanks!

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  5. I was just talking to my mom about us needing to get serious about couponing. Now I can show her this post so we can decide how to go about it Thank you!

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