Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Coupons - My Organization Process

It has been suggested that I share how I organize my coupons so here's the system I find works best for me. (Please excuse the condition of my envelopes, they need a refreshing!!)

First, I clip ALL coupons (except a very few that even if free I wouldn't want to purchase, like certain medicines/vitamins, personal products or cat food). I clip them all because I have found so many unadvertised deals or clearances while shopping in a store that need a coupon to make it an exceptional deal. I personally, just like having them there and ready to go for that purpose.

Second, my usual schedule is to clip all the coupons on Sunday afternoon. Our family usually just has quiet time at home after church on Sunday's, so this works for our schedule. I buy 6 - 10 newspapers a week (plus my parents give me an extra set or two) and spend about 90 minutes clipping the coupons. I stack all of the like pages and clip them once. I also spend 30 - 45 minutes once a month going through the envelopes to find expired coupons. I use to do this every week, but realized that at least 75% off coupons expire at the end of the month, so it's just easier to do it once a month. So for a month's (4 weeks) worth of time, I spend about 6 1/2 hours total, yet save hundreds of dollars. My time is definitely worth the savings I get by doing it.

Third, the system! I found inspiration from this post by Money Saving Mom. I started with a box just like hers and some white envelopes and index cards. Basically you tuck the flap of the envelope into it, then stand the index card up inside it, push it over to one edge and staple it in place. Then you label each envelope with categories that make sense for you and your family. I use for instance: beverages, deli meat & cheese, frozen breakfast, fresh baked, hair care, laundry, pet care, toothcare, etc.. I also have 3 envelopes at the front of the box for the 3 stores I visit the most: CVS, Meijer and Kroger. I put the store specific coupons and CVS ECB's in there so they're easy to find.

I don't find it too time consuming to just pull out the envelope and search through it for the coupons I need. But you may be asking yourself why my coupon box looks like it ate the coupon box from Money Saving Mom's post. Well, after a month or so, I outgrew the first box and now have one twice as big. Yes, it's big and a bit heavy, but it still fits in the seat of the cart or in the basket if I need to use the seat for a kid. I usually park next to a cart corral if I can so that I can just grab the cart first, and then transfer the coupons to it right away and I don't have to carry it very far!!

Now, if you're wondering if this is really worth it. With all the clipping, organizing, labeling and lugging. Is it really worth it? I guess it just depends on whether saving hundreds of dollars a month is worth it to you. For me it is. I feel like it's a small price to pay for the savings I incur.

Also, Amy alerted me to a post on her blog that shows a different method using a binder that works for her. So click here to see that (it includes a video!!).

So whatever method you choose, consider what would work best for you and then go for it!!! I promise, it's worth it!!!


Amy said...

Thank you so much for the link!

Andrea said...

Thanks for sharing Jamie! I use a filing box, but I seriously thought about switching to a box like that the other day. I have a little guy that sits in the cart so that spot is taken for now. Maybe when he moves out of there I'll switch to the box to replace him :-)

Anonymous said...


You weren't by chance in Meijer in Fairfield yesterday evening, were you?

I saw someone with a similar coupon bin, and I was barely able to resist the urge to ask, "Are you Jamie?"

My husband would have thought me crazy!


Jamie said...

No, that wasn't me!! Sorry, I shopped at Fields Ertel! It's good to know thought, that are others out there like me!!