First, understand I only use a coupon on an item IF that allows me to get it cheaper than the generic, or cheaper than at Aldi. Often, when combining coupons with sales, CVS bonus bucks, or Walgreen's rebates, I get items free; such as toothpaste, deodorant and shampoo. But, to take full advantage of this, you usually can not be brand loyal.
Also, remember that often stores such as Dollar Tree and Dollar General also take coupons and also have name brand items at much less. This allows me to get name brand cereal often for $1 a box or sometimes free.
My coupon book goes everywhere with me. My kids and husband will attest to this, we can't leave the house without it! You never know when you may come across an unadvertised special or discounted item that you have coupons for, and you want your coupons with you-not at home.
After having my coupons in folders, envelopes, boxes and coupon holders, I came across keeping them in a 3 ring notebook binder. Inside the binder I have clear plastic photo sheets (the type with pockets that hold pictures).
Each pocket is labeled with a different category, and they are arranged in alphabetical order. I don't like standing in a store searching, so I have lots of categories--so I can find a coupon quicker. I have around 50 pockets. Some of my pockets are labeled as followed: air fresheners, baby, baking goods, batteries, beverages, bread and crackers, candy and gum, canned goods, cereals and breakfast foods, chips, etc. You will want to adjust your categories for your needs.
After my pocket section, I then have a section of my book that has the large plastic page protector sheets. I have around 7 of those. Inside those sheets, I keep the current weekly ad for a store. Each store has its own protector sheets. As I study the ad, I move coupons for the sale items to that pocket for the store I plan to use them in. As I enter the store, I can easily flip to that ad and see those coupons for that visit. So, I have a page for Dollar General, CVW, Walgreen, Price Chopper, HyKlas, HyVee and Office Depot.
For my area, most of these stores are just a couple blocks from each other, so I don't waste a lot of time or fuel going from one to another. Also, I generally do not hit all these stores in a week.
As my coupons expire, I pull them out and pass them on to a military family who can use them. (Most commissaries take expired coupons.)
I generally spend about 90 minutes a week clipping my coupons and organizing them with the sale ads. My time to do this is on Sunday night while the kids are in youth group. We live 30 minutes from church, so I take them and then go to an empty Sunday School classroom and do my coupons. Sometimes a couple other moms join me in doing the same.
If you see an item you can get for free or next to free that you don't use, get it anyway and then donate it. I have given several blood sugar testers to our local food pantry to pass on to someone who could not afford one. They were ones I got free at CVS after rebates and CVS bucks. When you donate them, be sure to ask for a receipt for your taxes for donation purposes.
Also, check your area and join the free frequent shopper programs, such as CVS bonus bucks, Price Chopper frequent shopper and Office Depot work rewards and many more.
By mom-from-missouri from NW Missouri
By mother of 5 from Canada
My new subject bar will look something like this: "Sweet Tomatoes, exp. June 6". It is much easier to keep track of coupons this way and I don't waste paper and ink printing out the coupons, only to not use them.
By Cookwie from Richardson, TX
By Deb from Manchester, PA
By Jackie from Enumclaw, WA
On the rare occasions we eat out, I usually only remember to look for restaurant coupons when we are leaving. Since the coupons were not readily accessible, we failed to take advantage of them and let the coupons expire.
To organize them and jog my memory, I cut 2 strips from a clear plastic sheet protector. The bottom already has three sides enclosed, so I hung it with thumb tacks to the inside of a cabinet door and placed the coupons inside. The other strip needed the bottom taped, and then it was ready to hang. As a bonus, my family can also find coupons and save money as well.
By Dee from TX
By Amanda from Wichita, KS
By Laurie from Arizona
The dog food I take out of the box and store in a canister type container. Therefore, I tape the coupon to the outside of that can. I tape the coupon for my vitamins on the inside of the cupboard where they sit. The bottle is too small to tape a coupon to it.
I also have short hair and only use 1/2 a tube of hair color. I tape on the inside of the door in the vanity the measurements I need for splitting the portions when coloring my hair. That way I do not have try to read the small print on the tube and figure out 1/2 portions of color and 1/2 portion of developer. I also tape information from the hair color box, the color and product I use to the inside of the door. I know it by heart but you never know when I may forget.
By Little Suzy from Ohio
I am trying to save money on groceries by using coupons. I know to save coupons from the Sunday paper, but does anyone have any suggestions for other places to look or of any websites that have some?
I'd also like to find more information on the web about knowing when to use coupons and the best ways to keep them organized.
Amy in Texas
I took an old DayRunner I had from when I worked at IBM and used the larger index cards cut on an angle and taped to the dividers to make pockets. It zipps and has a place for all my reward cards, calculator, grocery list etc.
The prior advice is excellent; however through the years I've outgrown mine & now have 2 seperate plastic shoeboxes with dividers. One shoebox holds manufacture and store coupons for the grocers; the other holds entertainment coupons (restaurants, mall, recreation). My grocery coupons are set up by the rows of the store that I go to most often. You can save lots of $$$. Good luck. Besides the Sunday paper, ask neighbors who may not use them if you can have them. For your favorite products go to their individual sites for great offers. Hope the info helps.
kc in mesa
I'm starting to become an avid coupon clipper. I've joined a coupon train and just purchased 150+ coupons on eBay for less than $6.00. Now, I'd love to learn a good, effective way to store/sort them in like a binder or something. Anyone have any ideas/suggestions? I'm just trying to save some money and get the most out of my coupons! Thanks.
By Jaci from Missouri
I like all the ideas especially the one using the CD holder. Thus far my "system" consists of two recycled envelopes, the size you get a large greeting card in, preferably coloured. I use two envelopes, one for grocery coupons and one for restaurant coupons. I keep them in the door storage slot in my car.
Before I go into the grocery store I check the envelope. That's the time to edit the outdated ones. I may take coupons out and put them in my wallet or I may take the envelope in. I am a shift worker and like to grab a breakfast sandwich on the way home. I always have my coupons with me.
I found a CD storage case for my coupons. It is about 8" by 12" and has around 24 pockets. I labeled each pocket with an index card inserted into each pocket. I found the CD case at a yard sale for 10 cents. It works well. I also use an accordion style folder for the weekly coupon inserts from the paper. I used several videos on youtube about coupon organizing. Good Luck
Alekscat the frugal feline in Richmond,VA
Most Important: Be sure to keep your coupon pouch under the front seat of your car (or in your glove box), so you will "always" have the coupons with you. You never know when you might need them!
By Karen -N.C.