I’ve been using coupons long before TLC’s Extreme Couponing came into existence. I do save quite a bit of money, averaging around 40% of my grocery bill. I stock up on things while they are on sale, but I don’t have a basement full of Pop Tarts. Here’s my tips for Everyday Couponing.
There are several websites to print coupons as you need them. I don’t like signing up for so many sites and loading their software onto my computer, but I use them occasionally. I prefer to get my coupons from the newspaper. I have four Sunday papers delivered to my home each week, then cut out and organize them while watching TV.
I’ve tried the folder method, where you store each week’s entire coupon inserts in a folder. After making your shopping list, cut out the ones you need. This method made it hard for me to get out the door to actually go shopping. Sometimes it would take me over an hour to make list and gather my coupons.
Next I tried the binder method. I bought baseball card holders and put them in the binder. Each page was used for a grocery category like baking supplies or condiments. I liked this method better because it’s easier for me to cut the coupons during my down time instead of when I’m heading to the grocery store. I also like bringing all my coupons with me. I never know when I’ll want to check for a coupon. The downside of the binder was their were only 20 categories suggested. Some categories like condiments had several different items and it could be time consuming to find a specific coupon. In hindsight, I could have made my own categories and reduced my frustration.
My current system is a file box or a coupon organizer. My friend gave me a Coupon Caddie. It’s a cardboard briefcase with 200 sections to organize my coupons. If I need a coupon for mustard, it can be found in the section called … wait for it… Mustard! The Coupon Caddie business has come and gone, but Amazon sells sturdier ones. The binder works; it’s just a lot easier to flip to what I’m looking for and pull it out of a box instead of a thin plastic pocket.
The most effective way to use coupons is on items that are on sale. I use the free site Pinching Your Pennies to match up coupons with items on sale. Choose your state and your local store and a convenient list is at your finger tips.
Check back on Thursday for part two in my coupon series! In the meantime, share how you organize your coupons!