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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Guest Post: Coupon Organizing Methods: Part I Filing Whole Inserts


 
Method #1: "Filing Whole Inserts"

I recently posted an article asking my readers to write in and share their coupon organization methods with all of us!

What may work for some may not work for others and I wanted everyone to see the various ways to tame those crazy little pieces of paper!


Marie wrote me an email offering to take the time to share her method with us and here is what she had to say!

Coupons All Over the Kitchen…

Marie says…


Until about a year ago I always said that the coupon inserts wouldn’t have anything in them that I would use and I never kept them. Since then I’ve become a “coupon fanatic” or something like that. Each week, I save all the inserts that I can get my hands on and I buy tons of newspapers on certain coupon-intense weeks. My husband couldn’t find a place in the kitchen to eat.

Managing all those inserts can be a nightmare for real. Using coupons depends on two key things which make for successful organization.


  • Knowing which coupon you want to keep.
  • Being able to find the coupon you want when you need it.

Binders – my first method:


I read many posts on the Hotcouponworld forum about coupon binders and thought that it was the best method for me. One convincing poster told me all about how she took the binders into the stores and when she saw a good deal she would look for a corresponding coupon. She was always glad that she had her binders.

I spent many hours sorting, cutting and filing coupons into two binders (one for pharmacy items and one for grocery store items) which I filled with baseball card pages. At first, I tried pages that had 4X6 pockets and quickly switched to baseball sized ones. After all this work, I still couldn’t find what I needed. My constant searching through the binders resulted in not finding coupons that I didn’t keep or glancing over ones that I actually did have.

Shopping with a 3 year old requires my trips to store to be as fast as possible. Every minute in a store means she finds more princess items that she wants. J I found myself never digging into the binders for additional coupons beyond the ones that I had planned to use.

Together with a neighborhood friend, we put together a class for some of our neighbors to show how we were using coupons. When we got to section on how to organize coupons we each presented our personal system – I showed my binders and she demonstrated how she saved the whole inserts. After hearing her discussion on inserts, I made the change to whole inserts and never looked back!


Does anyone want to buy some baseball card pages? Seriously, I have lots that I will never use.


The Whole Insert Method:


  • In our household, each insert in its entirety gets saved – no cutting or filing in binders. All the inserts from each week’s papers are sorted into stacks.




  • For example, all the 1/4 SmartSource inserts get stacked together.Then I go through all the like inserts and combine the pages so that when I go to cut coupons, all the pages with the desired coupons are together.





  • Each week’s inserts are stored, by week and type in a file folder and all the file folders are in a simple file box that is easily portable. That way I can carry it around the house and even in the car if necessary. I write in pencil on the file folder tab which week and insert type is in the folder – that way I can reuse the folder when those coupons expire.





  • I also still maintain a small binder to store loose coupons. Once most of the coupons in an insert expire, I’ll clip the few that have further out dates and file those in the binder. Any Catalina coupons, internet blinkies or peelie coupons that I come across are also stored here.

This method might best be described as a hybrid method.


Why This Is Successful For Me…

  • Expired coupons are easily removed. Most of the coupons in an insert expire at the same time so I pull those and throw them away. No time was spent cutting, filing and unfiling those that were not used.
  • Cutting and filing in binders is time consuming – many times, I had to cut the coupons “just right” to get them to fit into the baseball card pockets so that I could see the face of the coupon.
  • My system is to work off of lists and use multiple blogs to figure out which insert contains the coupons that I need. I make my list and cut my coupons before going to the store.
  • No binders to carry around. I place all the coupons for a specific store into a zipper bag and carry that to the store.
  • Less mess in my house. I discovered that I didn’t keep up with the clipping so I often had inserts lying around our house for weeks. Now it takes me about 15 minutes each week to file the inserts into file folders and I am DONE until I plan my next shopping trip.

Scott says…

Wow! I finally found my wallet and the car keys. I knew they were here somewhere. And there aren’t little shreds of paper all over the kitchen. Great job! Got any coupons for beer?


Marie, thank you for sharing this with us!


Marie and her husband have just started a blog of their own. Be sure to check it out here! I will be highlighting her site later on in one of my upcoming articles so be sure to check back soon!

3 comments:

midlifemom said...

This was very helpful. I have been trying something similar. But I am having one consistent problem: I so often find clearance items at Target or Walgreens. These are often the BEST deals, but I don't know about them ahead of time. I think they are often local deals because they are ones not posted on the many blogs I read. Combined with coupons I get so many things free or nearly free. I hate being without all of my coupons for this reason. I started clipping most everything, so I have them handy in these cases. But it is a pain. Any better suggestions.

Lissa said...

I am afraid I run into the same situation! I actually still cut all of my coupons but I have 5 binders! There is no way that I would be able to carry all of these in with me! I usually just throw them in my trunk and if I see something on clearance and I know I have a coupon...I run back out to the car for it! I know that hotcouponworld has clearance item posts on every store! Members will purchase items and then come back to tell what they saw! That's about as close as you are going to get with one site having that type of information!

Clipping is very time consuming (for me at least) and I am considering switching my method to see if I can cut down on that time! The only reason that I have not done it yet is specifically because of the clearance deals! I don't know if I am ready to let go of all the FREE things I get that way!

The only other option I see fit, if you did switch to the whole insert method, is to have a cell phone with internet connection. This seems a little far out there but it would work! You could take the whole inserts with you and if you see something on clearance get online with your phone and use a coupon database to see if there is a coupon for it!

Most people don't have internet connection options on their phone. I am not even sure what it costs to have something like that! I don't think that this would be a good alternative but it's the only one I can think of!

I think I am going to hold onto my clipped coupons until a better idea comes along!

Any better ideas?

Tiffani said...

I have considered this method before, but I agree with the others, that I feel a certain attachment to my coupons, and feel that I NEED them when in the store. I have come across many deals where I found clearanced items in the store, and was very glad that I had my coupons with me. It is a pain clipping coupons, but I do stack like pages together before I cut them out, which saves a little time.

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