I've always enjoyed being in absolute shock by the people on Extreme Couponing on TLC. Seeing the multitude of stuff they get for sometimes nothing! It's just wrong. So very, very wrong.
One day I received a flyer in the mail from The Denver Post. Two of the Extreme Couponing All Stars were coming into town to do seminars on couponing! Oh be still my beating heart. I was so stoked. I told my husband about it, asked him if I could have a night off from the kids, and signed up for the seminar. About two weeks later, I drove into Golden to learn more about this fabulous thing called couponing.
I learned a lot at the seminar. Mostly basics. They also showed us a very simple way to organize your coupons (I chose a different method that worked better for me personally). And now I would like to share some of what I learned from that seminar, and a few things I learned on my own, with you! I'm going to be splitting this into two parts. This first one will be on organizing. The second will be the basic tips and tricks to keep in mind when you are beginning to coupon!
How to Get Organized
Everyone has their own way of staying organized. One way isn't going to work for everyone. I'm going to be telling you about two different ways you can get organized with your coupons.
The first way is a preferred method of the couponers at the seminar.
You'll need hanging file folders, a container for those folders, sticky notes, and a marker. First, label the file folders like so:
SS - SmartSource
RP - Red Plum
You can add other sources if you need to. Every week when you get your Sunday paper, DON'T CLIP ANYTHING! Simply place a sticky note with that Sunday's date on the front and put everything into the file folders. Then, wen the time comes, you just cut out the coupons you need based on sales and things you need to get that week. Save SS and RP for 5-6 months. Save P&G for 3 months.
For a lot of couponers, this method is the least time consuming, easiest to maintain, and just makes the most sense for them. I'm a bit different. I like to have everything already done and ready to go when I am. I don't want to have to plan for a day or two and spend hours upon hours cutting coupons before I go shopping. I want to just go! So I use a different method.
I cut out the coupons that I know I will use, or for products I won't mind trying if the go on sale, out on Sunday. I then get all the coupons separated. I usually get five papers, so I have five copies of every coupon. I bought a zipper binder and some baseball card sheet protectors. I labeled my categories with tabs (Food, Personal, Baby, Household, Restaurants, Other). I then just slip my piles of coupons in a card slot!
In my binder I also have a zipper pouch with pens, highlighters, and a pair of scissors. I have a stack of lined paper for my lists. There's even an extra pocket where I can keep copies of the weeks circulars so I can price match if needed. This is so much easier for me because everything is in my binder. I just pick it up and go!