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Frugal Friday: COUPONING Week 1 *LONG*

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randomosity: Frugal Friday: COUPONING Week 1 *LONG*

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Frugal Friday: COUPONING Week 1 *LONG*

UPDATE: See Week 2 and 3!!

This might only be a 2 week series, because I'm not sure how much I can teach you about couponing. I am not one of those extreme couponers, or one of those "crazy coupon ladies", but I do like to save money. Today I'm going to show you how I keep my coupons organized.

I am the type that always says "I'm not going to clip coupons to save 25 cents on a name brand when I can get the generic for less". This is so true. Do not waste your time clipping coupons if you are going to the store only to realize the generic is cheaper. I'm not a brand snob, I'll buy the generic of just about anything. However, when you see an ad for toothpaste for $1 and you have a $1 off coupon, you just got toothpaste for free. This is what makes couponing worth while.

Now I'm not going to tell you to buy 87 Sunday papers and stock up on that many boxes of toothpaste. I live in an 800 square foot apartment. We have room for one toothpaste at a time. Again, I'm not an extreme couponer. I only buy things we need. I do not buy things because they are cheap or because they will be free after a rebate. That's just not me.

Anyway... to get started, you need a coupon binder. You could use one of those accordion coupon holders, but they just aren't the same. If you don't want to carry a huge binder to the store with you, try to find a mini. Heck, use a travel photo album. I don't care - just get those suckers organized!

Today we are just going to focus on how to make your coupon binder. One step at a time, right? :) It seems like common sense but sometimes it's just easier if someone breaks it down for you. So here we go!

You will need:

*A Sunday paper (or another newspaper/magazine with coupons in it)
*scissors (unless you want to tear them all..err..not recommended)
*3 ring binder
*baseball card sleeves (I got a pack of 35 at Wal-Mart for $4.88)
*A Marker
*A few pieces of white/scrap cardstock

First, you want to sit down with your newspaper(s). Take out all of the sale ads from the grocery stores, and set them aside (we will talk about this part next week). Then, grab all of the coupons and get to clipping. This should only take about 10 minutes, assuming you don't have any kids interruptions. Now you should have a nice pile of coupons.

You can organize as you are cutting, by putting them into piles. I only shop at one store, so I usually have mine organized by aisles. However, for this tutorial, I made labels by category: dairy, frozen, produce, boxed, canned, snacks, beverages, breads, cleaning supplies, paper goods, misc food, and non-food. Just take the sleeves out and put the coupons on top for now.

Then you need to put the coupons in the sleeves.... obviously... :)

Little dividers were like $5 at Wal-Mart, so I just made my own. Take a piece of card stock and write the different categories down. Use tape to secure to the coupon sleeves.

You can label these by aisle, by section, etc and you can place them in the order you will pass them in the store or you can place them in alphabetical order.

I make my menu for the week (breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks), make my grocery list, and then take the coupons out that I'm going to use during my trip and I put them in an empty sleeve at the beginning of my binder. Most couponers will suggest planning your menus around store ads and coupons, but I am just not that talented yet. :)

Remember how I told you to set aside the store sale ads? We will talk about those next Friday! :)

Here are a few ton of coupon sites that were recommended by friends. I haven't had a chance to start printing coupons out yet, or visiting these sites, but I know they can help you save a LOT of money... so if you have time, visit a few of them. :) Add your own in the comments.

Don't get overwhelmed. This is a really simple process, and believe it or not it can actually be relaxing! Take a few minutes, grab your drink of choice, and clip some coupons. The entire process (menu planning, coupon clipping, etc) won't take more than an hour each week. If you have any questions or need help with getting started, please let me know! I will try to help in any way I can. Next week I will be doing a giveaway and it has to do with COUPONING so be sure to check out my post on Friday. :) Thanks for stopping by -- leave your blog link in the comments and I will try to visit!

UPDATE: Check out Week 2 and 3!!

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At April 8, 2011 at 12:29 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also if you find you have coupons you will never use there are several military base's that you can mail them to and they can use them. We did this as a girl scout troop service project. We sent over 25,000 coupons over to Germany in the last 5 years. We made a contest out of it with my troop!

At April 8, 2011 at 12:40 AM , Blogger Pams Party said...

I love couponing! I am also not "extreme" but I do get 2 papers a week and sometimes a few extra inserts. I have a modest stockpile which is an additional 5 tier shelf in addition to my small pantry. I keep all of my extra tolietries like free toothpaste, shampoo and deodarant in my extra bathroom. The method I use is a little different than the binder system, but works well for me. I use the alphabetizing method in a plastic shoe box. It takes seconds to file because I just slip the coupon in the corresponding letter. I dont take the time to alphabetize each letter. Couponing is SO WORTH the time.

At April 8, 2011 at 12:43 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great info!

At April 8, 2011 at 10:11 AM , Blogger Tree Huggin Momma said...

Commissaries also take expired coupons (I think within 6 months) so if a coupon you are clipping expires find a way to send it to a military base where it can be used in the commissary.

At April 8, 2011 at 10:57 AM , Blogger Sadie said...

My mom always told me to send expired (or almost expired) coupons to military bases... that's a great idea, good way to clean out my coupon binder without wasting! :)

At April 8, 2011 at 11:19 AM , Blogger missy said...

wow, pretty cool. I love couponing and I also dont buy a whole lot of anything but I have seen people get like 20 boxes of cereal we are just not there yet. I do get free stuff also but its usually toothpaste and batteries.

At April 8, 2011 at 11:23 AM , Blogger Sadie said...

Missy, fill me in on how to get free batteries! lol No joke, we go through a ton around here. Though we did just switch to rechargeable, they are still nice to have around. :)

At April 8, 2011 at 12:17 PM , Anonymous Cherie Boudreaux said...

Thanks so much for sharing your blog with me. I really enjoyed reading all the helpful hints you had to share. Wow, you are so organized! And, you make it seem so easy. I sure will try these tips and I will let you know how it goes. Thanks again!

At April 8, 2011 at 2:43 PM , Anonymous Amy Jane said...

Baseball card sleeves....that's a great idea! My coupons are organized in a little accordion folder and I take out what I anticipate using and clip them to my clipboard before going to the store, but there are always those things on sale that I realize I have a coupon for....and it takes FOREVER to find them in that little folder in the middle of the grocery aisle, while wrestling my clipboard back away from my 4 year old. :-) Thanks so much for the post!

At April 8, 2011 at 9:25 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks so much Sadie. I planned on getting a binder but that was as far as I got. So today I bought everything except I am using index cards that I had laying around instead of cardstock. You rock

At April 15, 2011 at 7:47 AM , Blogger stacy said...

great info!!


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