Clues for the Coupon Clipper
They’re lurking everyone. You’ll find
them in the junk drawer, tucked in the pantry and wadded up in the
bottom of your handbag.
It’s those coupons you
meant to use! TOO LATE! Nearly everyone I have organized has
coupons and they are almost always expired.
When my children were young, coupons were a
fun game for them and a necessity for me. I’d hoard them like a squirrel
with nuts in the winter. About every six weeks, a local discount grocery,
already the cheapest deal in town, offered triple coupon day. You’d have
thought I won the lottery by the time I left the store with my 45 cent box
of brand-name cereal.
However, you pay for those coupons in time
rather than dollars. One of my favorite sayings about getting organized is
“it gives you the time to do the things you really want to be doing.”
When I start to find lots of coupons at a
client’s home, we sit down and talk about if coupon clipping is how they
really wish to spend their time. For some, the money-saving answer is yes.
But for others, as we discuss, they realize they are in a time-wasting
cycle. They clip, then lose or forget to use. Then they spend a great deal
of time culling out coupons that have expired and starting all over again.
To be effective with coupons, you need a bit
of organization. Here are a few tips to get you going.
Decide if you are really saving enough
money to make it worth your valuable time.
Remember, a bargain isn’t a bargain unless
you really need that product. Otherwise, a coupon is just another
advertising method to get your cash.
Only clip out coupons that you know you
will need. If you find yourself hesitating over clipping an item, skip
it. You will also hesitate to buy it.
Choose one home for your coupons and stick
to it. You can’t find and use coupons that have been stuck here and
there. A small basket is perfect for this.
Create a file for your coupons. You might
want to use a coupon holder found at dollar type stores or a CD wallet
with clear plastic sleeves. These are easy to tote to the store with
you. File boxes with dividers or envelopes work too.
Set up your dividers by category such as
frozen foods, dairy products, cereal and so forth.
Each week before shopping, take the time
to place your new coupons, from your basket, into your file system.
Inside each category, file new coupons to
the back of the stack. With this method, coupons nearest expiration will
be on top.
As you file each category, take a peek at
the top coupons. Remove expired ones. The only way to stay on top of
coupon organizing is to routinely pull expired coupons.
Chant to yourself “I am grocery shopping
to save money not necessarily to use coupons.” Shop with a grocery list
and your coupon file. Comparison shop. Remember that a store brand or
another brand on sale might be a better buy than using the coupon.
Be open to buying an extra newspaper or
magazine. If you find multiple coupons in the Sunday paper that are for
products you use, it might be well worth the cost of a newspaper to get