Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sunday Savings

I am quite impressed with the fact that I am actually posting this edition's Sunday Savings on an actual Sunday! And, this week, I'll give you all TWO tips, instead of one, to make up for last week. I know, I know... it's your lucky day! Ha!

Ok, so onto this week's tip -

Tip #1 of the Week:
Get organized!

I would like to share with you, what I have done to stay organized. My method has worked great for me, but it may not be for you. If you need more ideas or suggestions, Frugal Coupon Living has done an excellent job of describing several methods of organizing your coupons. Click here for the post.

But, before we dive in... here's the second tip this week -

Tip #2 of the Week:
Save your receipts.

Remember when I mentioned I had saved almost $900 in groceries since October? Well, I wouldn't have been able to know that if I hadn't saved my receipts. It is astonishing to see the amount of money you save, and if you don't know that - then, what's the point? In my house, it's also nice to receive some praise for a job well done! Who wouldn't want that? You can determine your own way to track your savings - the old fashioned way (pictured below), a spreadsheet, your blog, or whatever works. As you can see from the picture below, I usually just save the bottom half - which shows the total amount spent and saved.

My receipts since October 2009. They are all held in my coupon binder, in a pocket.

The method I have chosen to organize my coupons is with a binder. The one I purchased below is found at Wal-mart. It has a zip pocket on the front, one inside, and several accordion type dividers. It also has the typical 3-ring binder. I would suggest finding something similar, if you choose this route.

Your next step will be to place dividers and baseball card sheets into the 3-ring binder. You'll want as many dividers as categories for your coupons. Some may want to use a divider for each aisle or section in the grocery store. Some may choose dividers for him, her, or the kids. I have one for my dog! Here are my dividers' categories:

1) Deli/Bakery
2) Produce
3) Meats
4) Dairy/Refrigerated
5) Frozen
6) Canned/Bottled
7) Packaged Goods
8) Baby
9) Paper Goods
10) Toiletries
11) Cleaning Supplies
12) Medicines/Vitamins
13) Pet

One other thing that I have done, is organize each name brand in one card slot. For example, in my Packaged Goods divider, I have all of my Kellogg cereal coupons (which, usually average less than 5) in one card slot. Now, as you start couponing, you will notice that some brands offer quite a bit more coupons, than others. For example, Pillsbury, Tide, Pantene, and really, most toiletries far exceed other brands. You may have to use more than one card slot for these coupons. Be creative. It is all about trial and error in the beginning. Doing this, will also help you keep current with your coupons; and you'll easily ditch the expired ones.

The last thing that I would like to share is my Weekly Deals Ziploc bag. This is the place where I store coupons that expire within a week or so. I try to remember to shop the sales at these stores during the week. The clear bag helps me to see the coupons, and remind me. I usually have this placed around my planner. Some coupons that I have placed in here are Michael's, Babies R Us, and Cost Plus World Market. Most of these coupons are found in each store's weekly ads.

You will most likely spend at least 2 hours getting organized the first time. And, you may spend that much time during the first few weeks of clipping or sorting. But, it does get easier. And, before you know it - you'll be an old pro! I typically spend an hour each week organizing and clipping my coupons. I also plan my meals (which is essential when couponing), so that tends to take a little more time. Whatever you do, do not get discouraged and give up. You typically do not see a lot of savings until you have been couponing for 3 months!

Ok, to recap -
Step 1: Seek out support or help to get started.
Step 2: Subscribe to your local paper.
Step 3: Get organized.
Step 4: Save your receipts.

Next week, we'll sort through coupon language and lingo, and what it all means!


Aims said...

Dang, Jen! Your couponing skills are quite impressive! I have a small accordion-style filer, which is put to shame by your binder. I'll post pictures. Thanks for all the helpful tips!

Shannon said...

And I thought I was organized! Impressive, Jen!

Stink-Stank said...

I found your blog through Boots & Totty. Anyhow, thanks for the ideas on organizing coupons. I do clip and use coupons, but I am finding my current organization is no longer worker. I think I am going out to buy a binder today!

Jessica said...

Wow...your type A-ness is very impressive ; )Soon you can offer workshops! lol


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