Welcome to Day #17 of the 30 Day Budget Bootcamp!
I’m hoping that from the Couponing 101 and How Using Coupons Alleviates Stress posts have been read, that you’ve started using coupons on a more regular basis. I have heard from many who start out using coupons – that they want to give up because the process seems overwhelming or they don’t’ have time to really clip coupons and find deals.
Here are 5 ways to make organizing coupons simple and worth your time!!
1. Create a coupon binder/organizer where you can sort by type of item or by store.
This will be up to you depending on how you shop. If you only shop at one or 2 stores, then maybe putting your coupons in categories is better.
But if you use coupons at multiple stores, then organize coupons by stores (see my photo above where the tabs are labeled for each store like Walmart, Wegmans, Target, etc.). I only clip what I’ll use and what store I will use it at. Only those coupons go in my coupon holder – otherwise I keep old inserts in a box and pull them out to clip later on if a great deal pops up before they expire.
Also, select a coupon binder/organizer that will be easy to use in the store. Keep in mind that if you shop with babies/toddlers, your system needs to be as manageable as possible so that shopping trips are not miserable! That is the exact reason why I try to keep my system as physically small as possible!
Here are some sample coupon organizers you can try:
2. Only clip what you will absolutely use.
Be sure to create a shopping list, and only place in your organizer the coupons that you will actually use. Don’t carry with you every coupon under the sun “just in case” you find the perfect item on clearance that you have a coupon for. These “what if” sales are rarely at the stores, and you don’t need to waste your space and energy lugging every coupon you have into every store you go. Keep inserts on hand and date them. Then if you see an item on sale at a later date, use this Coupon Database over here to match the sale item with a potential coupon. Then take the time to find and clip the coupon because then you know you will use it.
3. Don’t hunt down deals and use coupons at every store in your area.
If your full time job entails shopping eight hours a day, then ignore this tip. But since most of us have jobs and are caring for families, we frankly don’t have the time or energy (or gas money) to drive to every store in our area every week to get every single potential deal. It’s just not worth it. Pick one or 2 of your favorite stores to shop at weekly for most of your groceries. Throw in a visit to a drug store (if their weekly deals are a must) or Target or Aldi and stock up on items at those places monthly instead of weekly.
4. Throw out/recycle expired coupons.
Don’t let expired coupons take up room in your coupon binder/organizer. De-clutter your coupons on a regular basis, just as you would your home.
5. Schedule a reasonable amount of time to plan your shopping trips.
Time = money, and if you spend too much time mapping out your list and deal shopping trips, then you could be negating the savings you are gaining from using coupons. Find a balance! With that being said though, if you are new to coupons, there is a learning curve involved. Until you are in a routine, give yourself some extra time to figure out what works best for you and don’t give up.
What are your tips? Let me know in the comments!! 🙂
See all 30 days of Budget Bootcamp information OVER HERE!