Okay, so maybe I’m not a “master” per se BUT, yesterday I saved more by using coupons than I ever have before. One change that I recently made that I think really helped is that I quit using the small coupon holder I had like this one:
(although not nearly as cute as I got mine from Target about 10 years ago and it’s plastic). I did help personalize it by renaming my own tabs for items and categories that I purchased. I had 3 of these organizers. One each for Target (because I HATE Wal-Mart), Groceries and “other”. The “other” one contains things like store coupons, restaurant coupons, frequent shopper cards, etc. I still have my “other” one and keep it in the glove box in my car so that I always have it with me and it works GREAT.
Well, this past week I decided that I hated my coupon organizers. Not only were they ugly, but I would have to pull out everything under the tab “breakfast” and sort through about 30 coupons to find what I was looking for. And say a prayer that you weren’t looking for a biscuit coupon because Pillsbury sends out dozens of them so then you’re not only searching for biscuits but then have to look through the 10 bicuit ones to see which one expires first. It just wasn’t efficient any more for the amount of coupons I was clipping each week. So, I started searching for an alternative and came up with this:
This isn’t my actual one but it does impart my point – I have moved to a 3-ring binder. I like this because the printable coupons now fit without folding them, it’s CHEAP as I already had all the stuff and it is SO MUCH EASIER!!!
The drawback for most people from doing this kind of organization is that they have to purchase baseball card divided protector sheets and slide their coupons in there. The cost for this can really add up fast. Or, they use standard page protectors and try to dump everything in or sew their own custom size pockets in them. This works but you still sometimes have to fold the coupons and you’re still limiting your size.
I came up with a better solution. I use removable scrapbook adhesive that rubs off with your finger. It’s cheap and I already owned 2 of the guns. I place a small amount of the adhesive on the back of the coupon and stick them to a plain piece of paper. I lay the coupons out completely over the piece of paper, placing coupons for the same item next to each other, so I can easily scan which ones expire first and which ones I can use together. For those that don’t know – you can use a manufacturer coupon AND a store coupon on the same item. This way, I can see if I have a Target coupon AND a manufacturer coupon for those Pond’s face cloths. If so, I stack them together and end up paying 79 cents for each of the two packages I got yesterday. All because my coupons were neat and orderly and I was easily able to flip to the correct page and see that I had 4 coupons I could use all together if I bought two of them. When I remove the coupon from the paper, I simply rub off the tiny bit of adhesive with m y fingertip and I’m ready to go.
To be even more organized, in my binder I have a page protector in the front of the book in which I place all the coupons I’m using as I’m shopping so I can just reach in and pull out the big pile at checkout. I also have pockets so I can keep my receipts and such in them. In the back I even have a zipper pencil pouch that has my adhesive gun, scissors, pen and store loyalty cards all with me.
Okay, this may seem like a little much. I understand. Until about 2 years ago I never did coupons very well. Well, sistah, times they are a changin’!!! Yesterday I saved more by using coupons than I have ever saved in my entire life. How much you may ask? Well, my $204 Target bill dropped to $174 and my $280 grocery tab dropped to $255. Yep I saved $55 in two shopping trips!!!!! I think that’s well worth my time 🙂