Thursday, December 2, 2010

Thrifty Thursday:: Step 2 Organize Coupons

Now that you've completed Step 1:: Collect Coupons, you need a place to put them. If you can't find a coupon, you can't save money. Organization is essential and there are 3 different options I recommend. I've done them all and will give you the pros and cons of each. Let's get started.

1. Choose a Method. Keep in mind, all of the below methods work. There is not a right or wrong choice. You need to consider your personality and be realistic with how much time you want to spend on coupons. Here's my summary:

  • I would recommend the Filing Inserts method! I've used it since January 2010 and find it to be quick and efficient. It is perfect for someone with a very busy schedule (that's most of us!), a single parent, or work out of the home parent.

  • I used the Coupon Box method for six months and enjoyed having all of my coupons with me when I shopped. However, clipping every coupon was time-consuming and I didn't find the occasional clearance deal worth my time.

  • I started with the Binder method and used it for six months. I was a beginner and thought this was the way to "do it right". While it was nice to have my coupons at one easy glance I quickly became overwhelmed. The process to cut, file, and fit them in the baseball card holders was too much. Plus, if I got behind a week (or two or three) I dreaded the looonnnggg catch-up.
Remember, if you can't find your coupons you can't save money. Choose one that will work for you.

2. Create Divider Tabs. Use Practical Tool: Divider Tabs with Sub Categories. The tabs are in order by store aisle and make finding coupons a breeze! Do it right the first time and you're done.

  • Binder- Divider tabs on filing tabs, subcategories as labels on baseball card pages.

  • Box- Divider tabs on index cards, subcategories on envelopes.

  • Filing Inserts- Divider tabs for your small coupon organizer where you put cut coupons that don't get used. Forget the subcategories.

3. Clip Coupons.

  • Binder & Box- Click here to see the easiest way to clip multiple inserts.

  • Filing Inserts- Clip only the coupons that correspond with your shopping list. (Step 4:: Plan Your Trip & Shop covers this in detail).

4. Keep ALL Coupons.

  • A store sale and coupon can discount an item to be free or have overage ("money maker"). Even if this is not something you would normally purchase, you can try it or give it to charity.

  • US military families stations overseas are able to use expired coupons on base for up to six months after the manufacturer's expiration date.

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