Weigh the Value Part 3

UPDATED step three:
organize your shopping trips with store rewards and a list of the deals into an envelope.
you now have:
  • one sleeker binder with tons of great coupons
  • a file cabinet of efficiently organized coupons
you will need:
  • a plastic pocket for gathering coupons for shopping trips

I now use a plastic pocket as my shopping companion. NO binder on grocery trips! You can use your binder if you prefer, but I have a baby now and I can’t lug around him and my binder, even the 1/2 inch one, around a store. I just keep this handy pocket in our stroller pocket or diaper bag. The size is great; it holds all printable coupons and the Target Cartwheel print-out. (See, I still don’t have a smartphone.) Still testing this out with Baby.

This pocket has only coupons I need plus a few random coupons that I know I want to use in the near future. The CVS ExtraBucks print out is usually in here as well as some “must use” coupons with approaching expiration dates for must-have items like diapers. As long as I go through it regularly, cleaning out what I don’t use, it’s a small mess that I can live with.

in summary:
step one:
know the coupons and know what coupons your household WILL use and COULD use.

step two:
organize the coupons you don’t need to bring with you and don’t plan to use right away (trust me, FILE FOLDERS!)

step three:
organize your shopping trips with store rewards and a list of the deals into an envelope.

Weigh the Value Part 2

step two:
organize the coupons you don’t need to bring with you and don’t plan to use right away
(UPDATED)

So, I’ve basically remodeled my coupon organizing:
Part A: I still have a coupon binder but I have a much smaller binder. This binder has those printed store coupons (like Target) and other coupons I get from non-newspaper sources. Usually they are baby-related coupons, from mailers or the internet.

I thought of not having the binder at all, but then I thought, it’s still really nice to have everything in one place when you shop.  These coupons usually have a longer life, meaning an expiration date that is the end of the year. I can forget about them for a while but they are readily available if I needed them. These coupons are organized by category

Part B: I sort other coupons using the file folder method. I use file folders, for easier access and NO clipping unnecessary coupons! Coupon inserts are organized by date. Since inserts expire about every three months, you can keep reusing the same folders as long as you routinely throw away expired inserts.

Weigh the Value Part 1

step one: know the coupons and know what coupons your household WILL use and COULD use.

after a few months you will know what coupons are high value and which are blah-coupons. you will want to hold onto every coupon that your household uses, paying particular attention to high value coupons. then there are those “maybe-coupons,” things you would buy if the price were right. i could use a different brand of shampoo if it were bought at a good deal. SG could use a different brand of body wash especially if it were free.

with this mindset, you will then know which coupons to definitely clip/print and yes, stick them into that binder!

so i took the old-method bulky binder and took it apart completely. it pained me to do so. then i went through my pages (that are currently in categories) and looked at all the stuff i really want to have on my shopping trips. this includes:

  • must-have coupons: coupons that i definitely want to use. for me, they are fresh fruits, meat, juice – rare coupons, as well as household basics, like hand soap, body wash, laundry detergent. i feel like i can never have too much of these items
  • “maybe-coupons” in high value: like, what if brand B lotion was on clearance for $1 and i just so happened to have a $1 off coupon for it? i’ve learned to ignore less-important coupons (which are many)
  • store coupons to pair with manufacturer’s coupons: those fabulous store coupons that can be paired with manufacturer’s coupons; they are just waiting for a sale so hold on to them

before this method, i thought that i had to have every single coupon with me at all times. this is simply not true! not all coupons are created equal. some are for products you will never use; others are too low in value to carry around.

if you monitor couponing sites well, they will tell you the deal on the product and the exact insert of the coupon you need. don’t clip more than you need to!

Weigh the Value Intro

as you know i hate paper clutter. i am constantly surrounded by it but with my receipt binder, i kept tabs on everything. now into month 3 of couponing, i am finding that couponing is a huge source of clutter! so i must revamp the entire system. my journey so far:

there are a lot of couponers out there now and with the blogs and internet, it makes couponing much easier, because people are constantly posting preview ads, deals and tips.

lots of coupon-bloggers have their coupon binders, a huge 3 inch binder that they carry around each store with them.

i guess i’m too petite and lack the arm power to haul around a huge binder, but after two months of carrying around 1 1/2 inch binder of coupons, i’m done! i don’t want to do it anymore. i am on the hunt for a new, better method.

old method: clip every single coupon and put them into slots in a binder, plan for shopping trips using a paper envelope each week, have a huge pile of “maybe” coupons in an envelope

result: lots of time wasted on putting coupons into binder slots, lots of wasted paper envelopes, a massive amount of coupons that are unorganized and quite honestly a huge mess.

don’t get me wrong: the coupon binder is a great concept, but having every single coupon with me at all times is unnecessary. the envelope idea is really cool too, if you have a bunch of free envelopes you can trash after a week. but i don’t. i want to use the system but find a way to reuse the same envelope for months at a time.

new method: plan for shopping trips with plastic reusable envelopes (with a shopping list inserted) clipping only coupons you may need, and organize any additional coupons according to insert date and for e-coupons, by expiration date. this creates a much smaller binder or file folder system

result: a lighter coupon binder for faster, more efficient coupon-shopping, no more wasted envelopes and a happier couponer!

it’s going to be fabulous! stay tuned for more details.