Realistic “Extreme” Couponing: Session 2

Okay, so last week I vented a little bit (oops….sorry) and then told you some places to find some coupons.  This week, I will show you how we organize coupons.  Obviously, there are many ways to organize your coupons and you will have to figure out what works for you.  We tried a few different ways until we discovered what works for us.  We started with the traditional old coupon organizers that you can buy in the store.  It didn’t take long for that to get filled up and start falling apart.  However, that is the smallest and easiest to carry.  Then we went to the binder with baseball card inserts.  That too, started filling up and cutting out all of those coupons became tedious and time consuming.  The third method we tried is what stuck…we are still using this method after nearly a year or more.  It works for us. 

First, we do not cut out all of our coupons from the Sunday newspapers.  This became way too time consuming.  At first, we only cut out the coupons of the brands we usually used and threw everything else away.  But as we got to doing more “deals,” we discovered sometimes there is a deal for a product that we wouldn’t have used in the past (usually because we just didn’t think the product was worth the price) and we hadn’t kept the coupon.  We regretted getting rid of some of our coupons because we realized we wouldn’t normally use those products, but if those products were free we would.  So, we started keeping all of the coupons.  This way if a deal ever comes up that we might be interested in we don’t have any “aww….I got rid of that coupon” issues.  Because of keeping all of the coupons, cutting them out would take hours.  We don’t have this amount of extra time and doubt you do either.  So, we keep our inserts together.  We mark the date and newspaper they came from on the front of the insert and file them in a binder, putting the newest papers in the back. (Note: we found that the “heavy duty” page protectors work best.)

Now, you may ask, if we don’t cut and file the coupons accordingly, how do you know what and where your coupons are?  We have a spreadsheet that we use to keep track of all of our coupons, the amount, expiration date, etc.  When we are looking for a coupon, we can just search our spreadsheet.  You could do this as well, but it is time consuming to start.  For you, who are hopefully following our blog :), you can just look on our posts and in parentheses after we mention the coupon we tell you the date of the newspaper, which insert, and which newspaper so you can find it.  This looks like: 10/2 SS (NJ, WP).  This would mean the coupon is in the Smart Source (SS) insert from the 10/2 newspaper and it was found in both the News Journal (NJ) and Washington Post (WP).  If you are looking for a product you use/need and don’t necessarily want to wait for a “deal” and are wondering if there is a coupon for it, you can always contact us and we can look it up for you and get back to you.  Comment, send us an email, or write on our Facebook wall.  We want to help you so please feel free to do this!!!!

We do not take this big binder in the store with us.  Sometimes we take it and leave it in the car so if we see an unadvertised sale that we could use a coupon with we can run out to the car and get the coupon.  But this binder is too big and bulky to carry around.  Before going to the store we make a shopping list (we use this table, but again do what works for you) and then go through and cut out the coupons we will be using.  This way we are only taking the time to cut the coupons that will be used instead of spending a ton of time cutting coupons that may not be used.

There will be times you have coupons that aren’t in a newspaper insert.  You may print out coupons to use later, get coupons in the mail, find some in the store, etc.  Those coupons we put in our smaller binder with baseball card inserts and file by category.  This is the binder that also organizes our rewards, store coupons, etc. so this goes into the store with us.  It is bigger than the little coupon organizers, but we find this is what works for us.  Here is the sheet we use to organize this binder.  We have a pencil pouch in the front to put the coupons in that we are using for that trip.  Then, the next page is where we keep all of our store reward coupons or coupons for free items.

I hope this helps you see one way to organize your coupons.  What do you do to organize your coupons?

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8 responses to “Realistic “Extreme” Couponing: Session 2

  1. That for this information. I have been couponing since February 2011, so I am still learning. I started with cutting only the coupons that I used, but quickly found out that didn’t work. Now, I only cut the coupons for products that I use all the time (certain brand of dog food, pullups, etc) & put those in my small (large wallet size) coupon organizer. The rest of the coupons stay unclipped in the insert. I sort the inserts my types (SS, RP, etc) then by date. My problem now is that I have so many inserts, that I feel disorganized. I love the idea of the insert binder. How big is the insert binder you use? I need to go buy with & use your advice ASAP!! LOL

    I also use a spreadsheet to track my coupons. It took time to set it up, but it takes less time to update it each week & saves lots of time in the store shopping.
    Thanks again… KIM

    • Thanks Kim! SO sorry we are just now getting back to you! It was a busy weekend to say the least. I’m not sure of the exact size of our binder for the inserts. I would guess maybe 3 1/2″. Hope this helps and again, I’m really sorry it took so long to answer you!

  2. I moved from the small accordion like thing to the baseball card holder thanks to your couponing class. I keep inserts, too. I just clip what I would normally use. It gets confusing sometimes as I forget to put the date and newspaper on the insert! And before they actually expire, I pass the inserts along. Sometimes Anna plays coupon fairy while we are at the store and leaves the q’s on the shelf with the item. Thanks for all you and Megan do!

  3. Pingback: Realistic “Extreme” Couponing Session 3 | Life's a Beach…When Saving Money!

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