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Me & Coupons

Coupons, I have had this love-hate thing with them. I shop the perimeter and often those items do not have coupons. My kitchen is strapped for cabinets, I do not have a pantry or a closet to make into a pantry so stockpiling bargains is a challenge. When I flip through the inserts, see plenty of products I would never buy no matter what the price, because they just are not product I use (i.e. air fresheners, pet & baby products, most cleaners). However, I do use toilet paper and as Andrea of Mommy Snacks pointed out in her guest post, Couponing for Smaller Households, there are often coupons for health and beauty products.

No matter how excited the rest of the coupon blogosphere gets about $2.50 Electrasol* coupons, I only clip and organize the coupons for products I know I can store and use. I pull out others for my mom and sister and the rest are donated to the coupon box at work. Every couponer finds a coupon filing system that works for her, I prefer using an old 8×11.5×1 binder with baseball card protectors (my mom and I split a pack) and sleeve protectors. The front sleeve protector is for housing the coupons I am using on that day’s trip, first of the back two protectors are for to-be filed coupons (ones I get from my mom) and the last for other store coupons (like Michaels, Archivers, clothing stores etc). It is a light-weight system that I can put in my black purse or leave in my car. My coworker uses a small photo album meant for wallet photos, which she can stow in her purse and a black binder clip for holding the trip’s coupons. Like many couponers, both of us have had our binders admired at the store, which makes us smile!

Throughout the week, I keep an eye out for hot coupon Tweets and scan the coupon matching scenarios on local blogs, like Mommy Snacks and Cincinnati Cents in order to make my plan of attack so that I spend the least amount of time in the store. Then, I make my list so I can race through the store like I am on SuperMarket Sweep (okay, not really) and arrive organized at the register ready to watch for price errors.

If you are local and interested in learning more about Stretching Your Shopping Dollar, plan to attend Andrea of Mommy Snacks presentation at the West Chester Public Library on January 8 at 7pm.

*I am the dishwasher

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  • Sarah January 6, 2009, 11:16 pm

    At first I was very ambitious and tried to clip every coupon I found – now I have it narrowed down to what we use! There are just two of us here, no kids, so finding what worked for us was tricky at first. And you are so right – I am so tired of hearing about those damned electrosol coupons!

    I do the binder thing, too. I have pics of it in my blog somewhere, but boy, has it grown! I should take pictures again. I have the SO trained so he knows that any coupons he pulls get put in the bright green pencil case at the front of the binder. He loves couponing, though, so it didn’t take much!

    Sarah’s last blog post..More free stuff and “How do you do that?”

  • Andrea @ Mommy Snacks.net January 6, 2009, 11:48 pm

    I’m telling you girl you would love the file by insert method! Just one month at it and you’d surely be a convert 🙂

    Thanks for the mention about the class! I have 60 rsvp’s already and I think there will be several walk-ins! Good thing it’s at the library, huh! Gotta love the library!!


    Andrea @ Mommy Snacks.net’s last blog post..Losing Weight and Striving for Financial Freedom

  • Andi January 7, 2009, 11:42 am

    Thanks for the feedback Sarah and Andrea. With the binder, I know what’s in there is what I use. After each shopping trip, the binder is picked down.

    Even though the file wouldn’t be clutter, it would feel like clutter to me because of the size of the system and it wouldn’t be as mobile or tidy feeling. I can clip & file coupons on my 30-minute lunch break and pass on the inserts for my coworkers to use in a timely manner. My mom was doing the file system for about 6 months and then switched to the binder. I think our brains are similarly organized. Plus, I think I’d feel like I need to stay on top of the coupon blogs more than what I can now. While I like saving money from coupons, there’s much I aim to do in a day in addition to that thing called a j-o-b!

    My friend’s purse is full of coupons for stores, I love her pieces, but I don’t want my purse looking like that so that’s why all those coupons stay in the binder, which is in the car.

    Andi’s last blog post..Recipe: Cream of Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

  • Robin January 12, 2009, 11:29 am

    Wish I was able to attend this. Please keep me posted if there’s another discussion on couponing.