It is a new year and time to pick back up the Simple Budgeting Series. Last month I talked about Organizing Yourself. I wasn’t sure if that theme would continue but it will for February.
I am not the expert in this area but the topic this month Organizing Your Coupons. This is a result of a few responses to the Quaker Oatmeal Coupon giveaway. Why do I say I am not expert because I honestly am not. So I will tell you what I have tried and what I do.
I tried the save the whole insert method. During the time I did this, I rarely used my coupons. I had no idea what coupons I had/didn’t have. It was a mess to be honest even though it was contained in nice little folders.
I haven’t tried the binder method. I thought about it. I honestly looked at binders for months. They even those cute ones now that are bags … so tempting. I finally decided that I couldn’t have another bag around. I have my purse, I have a diaper bag, and all of the reusable shopping bags. I was at my limit already.
So I went back to my trusty coupon expandable file organizer. Why do I love these? They are cheap. You can get one at Walmart or even Amazon for under $4. They hold up well. Plus you can write your own tabs on them. My binder is a bit aged (the elastic is broken to be honest but I am not willing to give it up yet!) Here are my tabs …
* I have two extra slots in the front of my binder that don’t have labels. The first one is generally empty. Sometimes I will put the coupons I am using that day in that pocket (some days I put them in an envelope and write my list on the envelope.) The second tab-less spot is my misc spot where I put my diaper/baby, battery, pet coupons.
TIP: I organize my coupons in how the store I shop at the most (Harris Teeter) has their store set-up. So my condiment coupons are all with canned goods because they are in the same aisle at the store. If am shopping some where else such as Walgreens then I know where my coupons are out of habit.
TIP: I have learned to be really honest about if I will use a coupon or not. I don’t cut coupons on many frozen foods any more because we eat so few of them (we are try to cut down so if they are too expensive, we won’t buy them.) I do always cut coupons for yogurt and cereal though because those are staples at our house!
TIP: If I am shopping in one store, I will sometimes leave the coupons in my binder. Most of the time I have them in envelops though. I will use envelops that come in the mail if I want to write my list on them. I find this easiest in places like Walgreens. I often don’t carry my coupon binder in the store with me. I know that if I do, I will be tempted to get other stuff that isn’t on my list. (The grocery store seems to my one constant exception.)
TIP: The best advise I can give is to find a system that works for you. Don’t use mine or someone else’s just because they said it was good. That whole insert method is proof of that as I know it works great for some but it failed me.
So tell me how you organize your coupons? What are your challenges? What are your successes? I am honestly hoping that some of you have some other great ideas to share on this topic!
Do you have a budget question/idea/topic/blog post? Let me know in a comment or email to simplybudgeted at gmail.com!