Thursday, July 31, 2008

How to Organize Those Coupons

What's really funny to me is that the above is what I purchased to hold all my coupons when I first started the Grocery Game. Little did I know! My Qs from the first WEEK barely fit in there. We now use 4 large binders for storage. The above is what I always have with me when I go out. Nearly every errand takes me near one of my target stores. Let me explain.

We cut every coupon from the Sunday papers. We get extra supplements here and there (thank you, Marti, Margaret, and anonymous donators!). There are also tear pads at some stores, hang tags on purchased products, etc. You get the picture. The coupons are filed by category. Our 4 binders are for food, household stuff (cleaners, storage bags, paper goods, etc.), toiletries (shampoo, shaving supplies, toothpaste, lotion, etc.), and pets/medicine. They are further subdivided into numerous categories (for example food is canned, frozen, refrigerated, snacks, mixes, etc.). Each binder is 3-4" wide on the spine. I think I'll have Susanna weigh all 4 total today. It is no longer feasible to carry them all into a store.

My Q wallet has dividers that I have put all the store names on alphabetically. While I'm at home, I use a small piece of scrap paper to makes lists for each store I shop at (BiLo, CVS [I store my ECBs in there, too], Food Lion, Harris Teeter, Ingles, Lowes, Rite Aid, Walgreens, and WalMart). I regularly check for deals on a few web sites. As soon as I read them, I jot them down on the appropriate paper. If it is a deal that will expire on a certain date, I make sure to visit that store in the appropriate time frame. I stick the list and the coupons that I will need in the store's section (see pic above). That way I can forget about it until it's time to shop. I usually have my binders in the car. I have on occasion gone out to the car and retrieved a coupon for a deal that I found spontaneously (as in, I didn't know about it before I went in the store). But that's only happened 3 or 4 times in the months I've been doing this.

I have a different color wallet that's a similar style for triple coupon days. For example, Harris Teeter and Ingles recently tripled coupons. Since I have so many for a shop like that, I divide them up into categories (freezer, health and beauty, canned goods, beverages, etc.) to make them easier to find in the store. Many times the store is out of stock for an item. The large colorful paper clips in the wallet above are used to corral the Qs I will actually use at checkout. As I put an item in the cart, I pull the Q out of the wallet and put it into a paper clip I keep in my hand. Before I go through the checkout line, I double check to make sure I have the right Qs and amounts.

Food Lion has great printable Qs. I print some of these ahead and have them clipped in sets within my FL section. I pass FLs all the time. If I have a few minutes, I run in and at least get the free items, paying just a few cents each time.

Alyssa over at Keeping the Kingdom First is having a give-away for those who show their coupon binders. My large ones are set up almost exactly like hers (see her great video about it). I've never seen anyone use the smaller Q wallets like I do, so I thought that might make it easier for those of you who are taking small children in the store (hi, Renee) or just don't want to tote that binder all over creation.

Off to the races...


1 comment:

Alyssa @ KeepingTheKingdomFirst said...

Thank you so much for participating in my Coupon Binder Show & Tell!

Your system is fantastic, thanks for sharing. I actually also use the small wallets like you do for my Grocery Game trips and CVS. I have actually been meaning to share just that!

Great minds think alike!

By the way, keep up the great work at Curves. I actually was a trainer at Curves for a while. It is a great program. I lost the rest of my baby weight at Curves!