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!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Evolution of the Coupon System

Since I started couponing 7 months ago, my coupon system has gone through some changes.  When I first started, there was no system - there was only the "toss" box.  All my coupons went int there, and needless to say it was not a very effective system, if it can even be called that.  But back then I worked with printables only and had no coupon stash - I printed them as they came up and as I needed them.

Then I moved onto a 4x6 photo album. First, it was just find a slot and shove the coupon in.  But that got crazy, fast.  So I ended up giving each page a label.  But as I got better at my job couponing, I found that I was taking too long sorting flipping through it.  So I took it a step further and alphabetized the whole thing, with categories following the alphabetization.  That got me over another week or two, but before long it was clear that I could make no more modifications to the photo album system and just needed a whole new system.

I toyed with the idea of making a coupon binder, but the startup costs involved with buying the binder and the inserts were just too high.  That, and I wasn't a big fan of having to lug around this huge thing with me to the store.  My eureka moment came when I realized that although my entire coupon wealth was stored in the 4x6 album and I was able to take that with me, I rarely actually flipped through it while I was in the store. 

And thus, my coupon shoebox was born.  It's been working like a charm, but this past weekend it evolved...again.  But unlike the 4x6 album where an evolution was pretty much starting from scratch but just using the same thing, it was so easy to add to the coupon shoebox.  All I did was put in extra envelopes and write out the tab for the new categories.  I also loved the fact that I could easily rearrange the tabs. 

And since it's a shoebox, I'm not hurting for space anytime soon, so I felt okay with doing a separate category for just about everything.  Just compare this current picture with this picture.  For example, I used to have just one envelope for "makeup", but when I was making my coupon/deal match-ups, it took too long to go through ALL of my makeup coupons, so in this last expansion I decided to make an envelope for each brand of makeup.  Each category has a specific color, and each tab represents either a specific brand, or a type of product.  It's been working like a charm. 

When I go into the store, I take an accordion file with me that has my shopping list and coupons.  However, I still miss being able to have all of my coupons with me in the store.  It's almost like a security thing.  I would put the coupon box in the car with me, but the one downside to this system is that there is no lid and spillage is a major risk.  I think I even had a nightmare about spillage one night. 

I'm always looking for ways to improve though, and it is my hope that eventually I'll be able to find a system that will be small enough for me to take my entire coupon stash into the store, but still have the at-a-glance organization that I love so much.  Maybe for Christmas!


Kristin said...

I love the idea although like you a binder would be too much. So how do people use coupons and get a ton of stuff and only end up spending like $10.00. How much do you save?

Amber R said...

I know what you mean about being able to carry the coupons with you. I finally took the plunge and invested in the couponizer and I LOVE it. I only put two of each coupon in there, and put the rest in an accordian folder. Your system looks so nice and neat! I love it!

Danielle Porter said...

I got kinda embarassed toting my file box in the store so I finally designed a coupon bag. I'm going to do a giveaway next week (I hope) for my blog/etsy store. But check it out - maybe I can design one for your box!

miss bliss said...

I really need something like this! Right now, all mine are in a pocket of my's a real mess.

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