My Precious Pennies

I will be AWAY until late February as we do this moving thing...again.

Ginger from Attention Target Shoppers & Tricia from 1stopmom
will be holding down the fort in the meantime - thank you so much, ladies!

Monday, September 15, 2008

My new coupon system!

I've been slacking on my coupon clipping lately, partly because I was so tired of my old coupon system and I just didn't want to deal with it.  My old system was a 4x6 album that was organized alphabetically.  Each pocket either contained "loose" coupons, or was marked with a category (ex: Huggies, Pampers, cleaning supplies...etc.).  However, I have completely outgrown the poor thing and it was completely unorganized due to overcrowding.  Needless to say, it has really affected my savings lately to have a coupon system that I couldn't bear to touch. 

Believe it or not, I had 2 weeks of coupons saved up, in addition to a huge batch that I got from a fellow freecycler.  This was my to-do pile when I started last night:

I was toying with the idea of a clipless system, but I quickly dismissed that idea since it was SO hard to find coupons during the two weeks that I didn't clip.  Flipping through an insert 20 times a week is not my idea of efficiency.  The little pink box is actually a recycled cereal box.  I used to make the gift box, but unfortunately my lid was too small and so I just folded it in all-together.  I use it to keep my "overflow" coupons - basically my coupons for giveaways, or my expired coupons for Coupons for Troops.

Anyway, my final system is the coupon filing box.  I used a sturdy old shoebox, and #6-size envelopes.  The tabs are just 4x6 index cards cut in half.  Each envelope has a specific brand ("Huggies", "Olay", "Neosporin"...etc.) or a type of product ("cleaning supplies", "dishwasher", "makeup").  For the envelopes labeled with product types, I have a full 4x6 index card in it that keeps the coupons separated by brand.  For example, in the makeup envelope, an index card separates the Rimmel coupons from the Covergirl coupons. 

All the different colors you see represent different categories: Health/Medicine, Toiletries/Beauty, Household Supplies, Baby, and Grocery/Food.  I have a generic envelope at the start of each category for stray coupons that don't fit into any of the envelopes.  My guide-line for whether or not to create an envelope is that I need to have at least 3 of that coupon.  This way, I won't have a ton of empty envelopes floating around.

Although I won't be able to take this box with me to the store, I ended up picking the coupon box system for its simplicity and low-cost.  The coupon binder would have cost over $20 to create, what with the sheer amount of baseball card/business card holders that I would need.  I have a LOT of coupons.  Yes, I would be able to see all my coupons at a glance, but then again how often am I going to sit flipping through my coupon book?

Another deciding factor was that I realized I'm never going to actually use it in the store.  I plan out all of my trips with shopping lists and coupons...they all go in my little accordion file.  Besides, let's be realistic here...I'm never going to stand in an aisle flipping through my coupon book.  I always have the baby with me when I go out, and it's getting harder and harder to entertain her while I shop.  She's a ticking time bomb - I only have so much time before we hit full-on meltdown zone.  I can't waste precious time shopping for stuff not on my list! 

If I see a high-value coupon, I will set it aside in my accordion file and make a note on my shopping list to look for it at the store.  And I've decided that if I see an especially low price that might be a steal with a good coupon match-up...I'll write down the price and look it up when I get home.  If it's really that great of a deal...I'll just go back out to the store since they're all within 10 miles of my house. 

I'm so happy with this system.  The final cost was NOTHING because we have an abundance of index cards and envelopes.  I love that I can clip & sort at the same time since every category is easily assessable.  This system also has unlimited potential - if my coupon "collection" gets even bigger, all I need are just more envelopes or a bigger box.  I definately won't need to create a system from scratch to accommodate the new arrivals!  I hope to be getting some pretty paper this week and decorating the box so it'll look pretty too...!

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