Today’s post is going to be about how I coupon. There are so many different ways to coupon and so many different techniques for saving money, so I decided to share mine!
I keep my coupons in a binder that has a billion pockets in the front. It holds coupons that aren’t necessarily for the grocery store but that way all my coupons are together. I have a divider for my grocery store points cards, a section for the coupons I want to use currently, and the notebook pages for my lists of what I need. Behind those are how I sort my coupons – I use sheet protectors to keep everything organized and easy to flip through for searching.
I start out with the latest pile of coupons from the newspaper and my binder. I thumb through the coupon pages and if I find one I like I take the entire page out. If there’s coupons on the back that I like also I dog-ear the page to remind myself when it comes to sorting time! After I’ve gone through and separated out all the coupons I want – I throw away the excess pages.
Once I’m down to my small pile of coupon pages – I sort by expiration date and get them ready to add to my existing coupons. Before I add them in I go through and take out the coupons that have expired or are going to expire before I make it to the grocery store. Once I’ve done that I take the empty sheet protectors and add them to the back so they are ready for new pages.
Then I start adding in the new pages. For the coupon pages that have a coupon I want on one side and nothing good on the other I will put it in the sheet protector with another facing the opposite direction. That way when I’m flipping through I look at both sides and there’s something I want on each side. If I have dog-eared the coupon page because there’s something on either side – I’ll put that page in the sheet with nothing behind it so that when it’s flipped I see the back as well.
Because my mother-in-law is awesome and gives me her coupons that she doesn’t use – sometimes I’ll have multiple sheets. As you can see above on the left hand side I have multiple Domino coupons. I pile them together and put them in one sheet protector. Since they have the same expiration date it keeps me from flipping through pages of the same coupons and if I decide I want more than one I just peek in to see how many pages of that coupon I have!
This works great for things we buy often like crescent rolls and yogurt. It may have an expiration date of 12/31/2012 and I have three different pages of that same coupon and expiration. I’ll use one each time I make a run to the grocery store so I save three times and I’m only hogging up one sheet protector.
Once I get all the coupons in their sheets by their expiration date, I take a look at my two weeks grocery list. This is a list I came up when I was sick of trying to figure out what all ingredients we had and what dinner I could make out of it. I spent a day gathering breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner ideas and wrote down what ingredients I needed for each meal. You can check out my list of meal ideas here!
This list keeps me from standing in front of the refrigerator trying to figure out what we have and it gives me a full two weeks worth of meals for each day. Plenty of options!! Another thing I did to make this as easy as possible, I put what I buy in order of the how I go through the grocery store. This keeps me from having to read the whole list while I’m in the grocery store trying to make sure I didn’t miss anything. (Yes I’m that annoyingly organized about it!)
After I make the list of what we need to restock for the two weeks – I flip through the coupons and see which ones match up with what I’m buying. Sometimes there’s a lot! Sometimes there’s nothing. Each time I find a coupon that’s expiring that we might not necessarily need but I’d like to use the coupon so I’ll buy it. I keep these off to the bottom right so that I know if I’m hitting my budgeted amount I can take those items off my list since we don’t really need them.
After I’ve pulled out the ones I’d like to use on the next trip – I cut them out so it’s not a huge piece of paper and count up all my savings off my coupons. Then I put them in the pocket and all I have to do when I’m ready to go shopping is grab my notebook!
This two weeks I’ll be spending about $80 and with coupons alone I’ll have saved $14. Once I get there and buy everything on my list and use my points card I end up saving another $10-$15 dollars. After my grocery run – I’ll update at the bottom here and let you know how much I saved exactly!
How do you organize your coupons?
If you are interested to see how I prep my food after grocery shopping – I have a post called Preparation Meets Opportunity about it!
Thanks for stopping by!