My piano students have had their recital, so summer has begun for me even though the munchkin still has another week of school. This means I have time to reorganize my coupons! I've learned how to save significant money by using coupons when staple items are on sale and then buying multiples to stockpile until we need them. Hopefully, my new system of coupon organization will help me keep it going!
My old system was an accordion file, but in order to see the coupons, I had to pull everything from one category out and flip through each coupon. This system is much better. I'm saving more coupons but clipping fewer of them, and the ones I do clip, I can see at a glance. Now that the munchkin is old enough to help, I can put her to work clipping and culling the expired ones.
So here's the system. I bought a zippered binder, and I put a dedicated pair of scissors and a Sharpie in the front pocket so I don't have to search for them. When I get the inserts in the Sunday paper, I write the date on the front and slip it into a sheet protector. Many sites like Coupon Mom match up these coupons with store sales each week, and they reference the coupon by the date of the insert. By organizing them this way, I just pull out the insert I need and find the coupon rather than clipping them all.
I organize other coupons in baseball card pocket sheets. It took me a while to find these in the store! I thought they'd be with the other sheet protectors, but they weren't. At Target, I found them near the registers with the collectible Pokeman and other similar cards. I have dividers that create categories for coupons that are specific to certain stores as well as all of my grocery categories. Now I can go quickly to the section I need and see all of the discounts and the expiration dates at a glance.
Is it worth all of this effort? Absolutely! I saved $50 last week on groceries using store sales and coupons. It took me about an hour to plan my trip, but I'm out of practice. I'll get faster at it! Anyway, $50 / hour is nothing to sneeze at.