Coupon Tip: Get Organized
Organization and couponing go hand in hand. It’s really imperative to be organized with many aspects of couponing- list-making, shopping, planning your trip, organizing what you buy, keeping stock of your stockpile. You definitely can coupon without being organized but I find that it is much more enjoyable and worthwhile when I put in the time to organize myself prior to shopping trips and when I bring goodies home.
Here are some tips and ideas on how to be organized while using coupons:
- Clip what you will use and keep the insert- I clip the coupons I KNOW I will use and then store the insert in a folder with the name and date marked clearly on the front. This is in case a really fantastic deal comes out that would be too good to pass up, like getting an item for free or an unexpected store coupon provides a really great stack. Stay on top of these for expiration dates or they really pile up!
- Keep your coupons organized- this will help you find stuff easily. I use an organizer that clips on the cart with mini-manilla folders (I purchased this system on etsy from GlowGirl who hosted a giveaway for us awhile back) and I love it. Use whatever works best for you to stay organized- a binder, an envelope system, whatever! My organizer has a ton of the little folders so I have different categories for all the types of coupons and the stores I shop at and anything else I want to include. I probably have thirty folders. It helps me because I use the store folders for when I am going to that store to keep the coupons I pulled separate. I have to stay on top of redistributing them if I don’t use them on a shopping trip. I clean out my organizer every month. I take everything out, get rid of the expired coupons and re-organize anything in the wrong folder. Weekly, I add the new coupons I clip.
- Organize your shopping list to match the flow of the store- once you know your store and know where stuff is, organize your list to reflect a nice path to take through the store and separate your list by the area where items are located. This is a great time saver and you aren’t running back and forth!
- Code your list- I have little code letters/symbols I use on my list and this reminds me that I have a coupon or how many I have to buy, stuff like that. If I have a manufacturer coupon, I put a c with a circle by the item. If I also have a store coupon, I put an s with a circle beside that. If I want to check a price, I put a check mark beside the item. If something is BOGO, I make a note of that. This way, I am not constantly pulling out my ad to check things!
- Pull the coupons you plan to use- I use a plain old paper clip to put them on my list. I still have my organizer but the coupons I plan to use on that trip are right in front of me. If I come across something not on my list, I can pull that coupon out if I need to but I can make sure I use the ones I plan to if they are out. The biggest complaint I hear from people new to coupons is that they cut them but then forget to take them or give them to the cashier.
- Take your ad- I always have a store ad with me in my cart, whether I bring mine from home or grab one there. It helps if I forget a deal or if a price doesn’t ring up properly or need a rain check. When I am done, I put it back in the pile so someone else can use it!
- Give the coupons to the cashier FIRST- I can’t tell you how many times I would forget the coupons or give them to the cashier when I was already about to swipe my card. If you hand them over first, you won’t forget! I also give them to her with stacked coupons together in case they think they are two manufacturer’s coupons as they go through. I also put any BOGO items or items I am getting for free (where a price has to be written on the coupon) at the end of my order so the cashier doesn’t have to go back and look through all the prices to enter them.
- Organize your pantry/stockpile- this is one of the most important parts of organization! If you don’t organize your pantry/stockpile, you could lose items if they expire or you forget you have them and then it would be a waste of money, even if you got a great deal. I organize my pantry by expiration date. I group like items together. For example, I put all of my coffee in one spot with the one expiring first in front so I know to use that before it expires.