OK guys, I’m back with my first “official” 31 Days post. I did notice that I have some new friends following along and I cannot tell you how excited that makes me. I can’t wait to get to know all of you. Which brings me to a little housekeeping: If at any time you have a question, please, please, please leave a comment and I’ll be glad to answer you directly. My goal is to do maybe a weekly wrap up where I answer reader questions, so keep ’em coming!
Today, before we even talk about coupons and savings, I want you to focus on how you’re going to keep all of that free money (because yes, coupons are free money!) organized.
Luckily, you have options. Let’s take a look:
1. The Traditional Accordion File
This type of organizing is great if you don’t plan on clipping every coupon in the universe (and that’s totally OK!) or want to start small. I don’t often use mine for shopping anymore, so it became my “take out and eat out” coupon file. I just file them in ABC order. Works great. The one you see in the picture is from Target and it was a little more expensive than the grocery store version, but it’s also pretty sturdy. If I recall correctly it was somewhere between $4.99 and $6.99.
2. The Binder Method
If you’ve watched any of that infamous TV couponing show, then you’ve seen the binder method. And I’ll bet you almost probably said, “Whoa!” or “Oh no way…”. I think my first reaction was “I’m not hauling that thing to the grocery store!” Ha, famous last words. I do just what those ladies on TV do. I created dividers for all of my categories and then put baseball card sleeves in behind them to organize the coupons. I love it, but I realize it’s not for everyone. I’ll tell you how I use my binder (and avoid the hassle of schlepping it with me) in a minute…
3. The Plastic Bin Method
I went this route for awhile. Basically you just create little dividers out of cardstock, label them with your categories and then line them up in the bin and pop in your coups. It’s great because it holds a lot, but I got fed up with everything shifting and paid the price more than once when I dropped the bin and everything got mixed up.
4. The Index Card Box
The one pictured above is from Staples (you can click the picture to be taken to the card box listing on the Staples website). I have friends that swear by this method and just file their coups in ABC order. It’s a simple system and less cumbersome than the larger bin. This is another great way to organize your coupons when you’re just starting out and/or don’t want to be “extreme”.
And last but not least, the “free” method.
I bet you get a lot of these in the mail, right? Since we pay our bills online (mostly) and get TONS of junk mail we always have several reply envelopes floating around that we aren’t going to use. I hate just junking something when I can repurpose it, so I tend to use them for my shopping lists and slip my coupons inside.
If you want one of those accordion files, but don’t want to shell out the cash because you aren’t sure you’ll stick with this coupon thing, why not gather up a few of those pesky envelopes, tuck the flap inside and then clip them all together with a binder clip? Or better yet, “borrow” a staple (or four) from work. 😉
Hey look! Free coupon file!
Now, back to that binder thing. Here’s the truth: I don’t usually haul it to the store. Really. Generally, I match my coupons and sales and make a list of what I’m buying on the outside of an envelope and then grab the coups I’ll need from my (massive, heavy, two sided) binder and run to the store for only those specific items, with my coupons tucked inside. I make sure to take a pen with me to make note of any unadvertised sales I might have coupons for as I shop and then lather, rinse, repeat for my next trip. Works great and I don’t need to break my shoulder or take up a ton of cart space. I’ve also been known to write my coupon/sales match list down in a small notebook and slip coupons in envelopes labeled by store in the front pocket. We’ll talk a little more about that soon.
So, do you coupon? If so, what method do you use to organize them? Here’s the thing: There’s no right or wrong way – only the way that gets you to actually remember and use all that free money!
Tomorrow’s Topic: Where do You Get All Those Coupons?