How to get coupons & keep them organized
The key to playing the “coupon game” is knowing where to find the coupons. Once you have them, its very important to remain organized. I will show you some quick & easy tricks to get started easily.
Coupons – where to find them
The Sunday paper is one of the best places to find coupons. Each paper can have hundreds of dollars worth of coupons inside. In this area, the Sunday edition of the Star costs $2/paper if you purchase from the news stands. You can also get a subscription to the paper for as low as $.99/week (for 3-day delivery). Each week you can check out the coupon previews by Thursday so you can be prepared to buy more papers on Sunday if necessary. Coupon previews can be found at Taylor Town Preview.
Internet Printable coupons (IP’s) are available, usually with higher dollar values than the regular newspaper coupons. Want to know how you can use your printer to print money? Check this out.
In the mail
Have you seen those 1-800 numbers on the back of your products asking for feedback? Often times calling to let the company know you enjoy their products will result in coupons being sent to you in the mail.
Coupons attached right to products are often referred to as “peelies” because of the way you peel them off to use them. Sometimes coupons are hidden in the paper inserts within a product’s packaging. Hang-tags are coupons that are attached to the necks of bottles, usually in the liquor department. These coupons sometimes offer money off of a meat or produce purchase – and many times the alcohol purchase is not required!
Now that you have found your coupons, its important to keep them organized. Most coupons from the newspaper are not particularly useful for another 3-4 weeks due to sale cycles. Saving back your coupons allows you to wait until the store has a rock-bottom-price sale, and then use the coupon in addition to the sale to get items for even less.
The important thing to remember about coupon organization is that everyone will have a slightly different style. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to organize your coupons. Try out a system that you think seems the best – and make adjustments as necessary. Most couponers go through a period of trial & error until they settle on a system that fits their needs.
This is probably one of the most basic coupon organization systems. The small size allows this folder to easily slip into your purse or pocket. Coupons can be organized by product type, or by store. I usually carry one of these to the stores with me. It allows me to plan out my shopping trips at home and collect the appropriate coupons, then sort them into transactions so that checkouts are quick and painless. These organizers can be found at almost any office supply or chain department store.They come in several sizes – index card sized, check size, and full page size – and they range in price from $1 up to $20 depending on how fancy your file folder is. I would recommend an index card sized one if you are just getting started since it is the smallest and easiest to carry.
In addition to the small expandable file, I use a hanging file system to organize my coupon inserts. I would recommend a file box with a lid so that it is easy to transport. I have 3 hanging files for each month: one for the Red Plum inserts, one for the Smart Source inserts, and one for the Proctor & Gamble inserts. Within each hanging file are tabbed folders – one for each week of the month. Each week when I receive the paper, I immediately pull out the coupon inserts and file them away by date and insert type. This system took an afternoon to set up, but it has been invaluable for remaining organized! When I look through the sales for the week, I look up items I am interested in purchasing in the coupon database. The database lists the coupons by date and insert type, so I can quickly locate & clip the desired coupons, and place them into my smaller accordian file to take to the store.
This option is more popular with advanced couponers. Each week the coupons from the paper are cut out, and any additional coupons are collected. The coupons are then organized into baseball card sleeves & carried around in a large 3-ring binder. The coupons can be organized by category, or organized alphabetically by product name. While this allows instant access to your coupons incase of a good clearance find, it also requires you to take a large book into every store with you. Some people are not comfortable with that in the beginning, so there are other options available.
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