One of the most confusing parts when you start to use coupons a lot is how to get organized. Here are a few ways to do it to save time at home and at the store.
When you get your coupons, cut them out and separate the ones you will use vs. ones you will be passing along to friends, family etc. You can highlight the dates if you want to be more aware of them, and make sure to clean it out every month or 2 to get rid of the expired ones.
If you’re just starting out, a lot of people choose to bring an envelope of coupons with them to the store. The next step usually when you get more coupons is to have one of those small accordion file organizers that can fit in your purse. Organize the coupons in a logical order that works for you.
Once you’ve outgrown those, most people move onto a coupon binder. I organize mine by sections – you can either do aisles of the store you always shop at, I like to do it with tabs like dairy, haircare, snacks, meat etc. That way I know which page to turn to when I’m at the store.
Get yourself a decent binder, one with an envelope at the front is great, because you can move the coupons you’ll be using at checkout too – big time saver! Pick up the sports card organizers at the Dollar Store, I prefer those to the thicker ones you can get at Box stores. The thinner ones tear less easily. Make yourself some tabs for your sections and tape them on to the sheets. This also helps when you get coupons in the mail, I quickly sort them into piles for the sections, and quickly flip through and put them in. It takes almost no time with this system – it doesn’t have to be consuming like you see on tv shows!
As you shop, flip through your book and if you’re using a coupon move it to the front of the book. Then, when you get to the checkout they’re all ready to go! 🙂 I find that using coupons only adds a few minutes to my shopping trip, and the savings can be big. Some people prefer to only bring the coupons they know they will be using to the store. If you have the space, bring your binder, it fits nicely in the spot where kids sit (if you have a kid sitting there they can also hold it) – I like to have them along, you never know when you will find a great deal on clearance – it’s maddening when you know you have the coupons for it at home.
Being organized is key – and knowing which coupons are in your binder really helps a lot too, you can quickly spot the deals in the store. Weeding out the expired ones at home is good too, you won’t be wasting your time at the store. Be patient with the cashiers, most are great with coupons but if they’re new they might need some help. If you’re using a full price coupon it’s always a good idea to just jot down the price of the item – that way they don’t have to search through, or just put your full price or even regular coupon items at the end when you’re unloading the groceries at checkout.
How do you organize your coupons? What are your tips for beginners? Did you follow the progression, or just jump straight to a binder?
Read more coupon tips on my Winnipeg Coupon Blog!