Reader-Submitted Coupon-Organization Tips
- I quit clipping and saving those coupons out of the Sunday supplements. I found I was spending two hours clipping and sorting to save about $10 per week, which meant my time was worth only $5 an hour. And that didn’t even factor in the $1.50 for the Sunday paper!
But back when I did save them, I had something of a system. I clipped out only the coupons I knew I might use, and I put them in recycled envelopes that my junk mail came in. I labeled each envelope with the month in which the coupon expired. That meant I didn’t miss many “bargains” by overlooking coupons that were expiring. But it meant that every time I needed something from the store, I had to go through all the envelopes to find the right coupon. This cut my hourly worth even further, and usually I would get to the store and find a similar product on sale that was cheaper! Forget about coupons!
- My mom really gets into this coupon thing. So much that she bought this binder from a place called “Mrs. A’s.” It has pages with pockets where you can put your coupons, and it’s color coded to organize them by category. She likes it because she can take the binder with her and prop it in the baby seat in the shopping cart.
- Get one of those check organizers for keeping cancelled checks. They have about 13 dividers, and you can organize your coupons in whatever way you want. The organizers are small enough to fit in your purse. Day Timer used to have a really fancy organizer, but I don’t think they sell it anymore. Maybe you can find one at a thrift shop.
- I’ve found the best way to organize coupons is to use one of those organizer books. I think Amazon sells them, but then, so do a lot of other places. I have my book organized so that each pocket matches the departments of the grocery store where I shop. That way, I know just where to find the right coupons without having to flip through all the pages and dig through all the pockets.
One big problem I had with coupons before I solved it was going through all the coupons on a regular basis to get rid of the ones that had expired. What I did to make short work of that process was to get a set of markers with at least 12 different colors. Each color represents a different month, and I mark the coupons with the color corresponding to the month they expire. Pretty neat, huh! I even made a connection between the color and the month to make them easy to remember – like green for March and St. Patrick’s Day.
- I heard somewhere that military commissaries overseas accept manufacturer’s cents-off coupons for up to six months past their printed expiration dates. Does anyone know whether this is true of not? If it is, getting expired coupons you haven’t used to military families overseas would be a great way to help them cut their food bills. If this is true, I wonder how I could send them these coupons?