June 7, 2010 |
I wrote not too long ago about how I never pay for the newspaper or coupons. When a quick stop at the recycling bin always reaps a stack of inserts like is shown above, it’s hard to justify, wouldn’t you say?
Plus, if I end up not having time to clip them all, I don’t have any guilt in just chucking them back into the recycling bin because I didn’t pay a penny for them!
(And yes, I really do throw out coupons sometimes. My mantra is, “Do what you can do, with what you’ve got, where you are.” Sometimes, that means I just have to let coupon-clipping go for a week or two or four, because much more important things need my attention — like my precious children!)
May 12, 2010 |
Missed the first posts in this series? Read them here.
Last week, I shared with you how I organize my coupons. My system has worked well for me for over 10 years. I’ve tried other systems and they never quite work as well so I always end up going back to the Coupon Box method of organization.
3 Tips for Choosing an Organizational System for Your Coupons
1) Start Small
If you’re new to couponing, don’t feel like you have to go get yourself some big honkin’ box or binder in order to use coupons correctly. It’s really perfectly okay to start out with a little index box or something like The Couponizer.
Get accustomed to something small. When you feel really comfortable with that and you want to move up, then it’s time to consider a box or a binder. But don’t overkill from the get-go and then burn yourself out. You can save plenty of money with a small coupon organizer, too.
2) Keep it Simple
The goal is to save money with coupons, not create some elaborate system. Don’t get hung up in all the details. Keep it simple — especially at first.
3) Do What Works for You
What works for me won’t necessarily work for you. I strongly encourage you to experiment with a few different methods and find what works best for you. And then stick with it, so long as it is working well for you!
::Coupon Organizational Methods::
photo from Coupon Magic Organizer
::The Binder Method::
This method of coupon organization is probably the most popular. There are many different ways to create a Coupon Binder, but they all usually involve a 3-ring zippered binder with baseball card holders. You file your coupons in the plastic sleeves of the baseball card holders.
Pinching Your Pennies has an excellent video here on How To Create a Coupon Binder. And Penny Pinching Diva has a great article on The Anatomy of a Coupon Binder which explains how to set up your own Coupon Binder.
Pros — You can easily see all coupons you have at a glance making it simple to locate coupons. Unlike the Coupon Box method, if you drop the Coupon Binder, you don’t have to worry about coupons scattering everywhere!
Cons — When I tried this method, I found it tedious to put all the coupons in the sleeves. If they didn’t fit, you’d have to fold them and stuff them in. It took quite a bit of time and effort compared to my Coupon Box method.
See more Pros and Cons on the Coupon Binder from Utah Deal Diva.
Pre-Made Coupon Binders
Don’t have the time to put together your own Coupon Binder? You can buy them already made up for you from Prospering Families or from Coupon Magic Organizer.
Want something more stylish than a plain old 3-ring binder? Order a Coupon Clutch!
::The Whole Insert Method::
This method of coupon organization is the least time-consuming. Instead of clipping coupons out, you file the inserts whole by date. See a video of how the Whole Insert Method works here.
Pros — It’s so simple and is perfect for a person who doesn’t have a lot of time to clip coupons. In addition, it’s easy to find your coupons when you’re planning your grocery shopping trip as you can search for coupon in our Coupon Database and then just pull the insert from the file and clip the coupon.
Cons — Since you don’t clip all your coupons, if you run into a great clearance or unadvertised deal, you won’t be able to search your coupons to see if you have some which you could use. This was the most frustrating aspect when I tried this method. I missed out on deal after deal because I didn’t have my whole Coupon Box with me and at my finger tips.
::The Coupon Box Method::
I shared how this method works for me here. You can watch a Video Tour of My Coupon Box to see how Carrie set her system up. Monica also has a great tutorial on her adorable coupon box.
Pros — You have every coupon at your finger tip. Plus, I found it much easier to file and find coupons than when using a Coupon Binder.
Cons — The box is a little bulky and might feel conspicuous to some of you to take into a store (doesn’t bother me, but I’m already weird!). In addition, if you drop the box, you may have Coupon Disorganization Disaster! 🙂 And finally, you have to keep up with cutting and filing coupons, otherwise the Coupon Box is not that beneficial.
Those are the three basic methods used by “super-couponers”. There are a thousand different variations on these methods and I encourage you to experiment and figure out what works for you!
I’m curious: If you clip coupons, do you clip all of them or just the ones you think you’ll use? I’ve actually been moving more towards what Carrie outlines here (a combination of the Coupon Box method and the Whole Insert method) in order to save time. So far, it seems to be working well!
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