I totally wish I were an Extreme Couponer. If you haven’t seen the show on TLC that chronicles this group of money savers, it’s a total gem and I recommend checking it out. Basically there are people out there who diligently collect and track coupons (we’re talking dumpster diving for circulars and JUMBO binders full of clippings) and are able to bring thousand dollar grocery bills down to just a few dollars. It’s amazing. The good ones maintain master Excel spreadsheets that help them to figure out the exact amounts of each product to buy and how much they’ll save before they go to the store. One rejected coupon at the checkout and all their math is off. It’s riveting. And most of them have stock rooms at home built for the sole purpose of storing their stuff – I mean entire basements dedicated to storing the 100 jars of marinara sauce, 50 tubes to toothpaste, and 65 jugs of laundry detergent, usually impeccably organized and labeled. I will say that I have seen a decent amount of them dedicate the stuff they know they’ll never use to their church or charity. So they aren’t all just hoarding mass amounts of stuff they’ll never use.
But anyway, these people have serious skills. Math skills, organizational skills, and supermarket skills (which you know are near and dear to my heart!). And I totally wish I were one of them. But sadly I am not, I’m just your average manufacturers-coupon-for-diapers-and-20%-Bed-Bath-and-Beyond-couponer. But a girl can dream right?
Earlier this summer I noticed that I kept coming home from a trip to the store realizing that I had forgotten I had a coupon for something I just bought sans discount. Very frustrating. While out at Target one day (probably without my coupons), I noticed a fun ‘Real Simple’ coupon organizer on clearance. I tossed it in the cart and ran home to organize my coupons.
First, I trimmed them all down to get rid of excess paper that I didn’t need. Then I laid them all out on my kitchen counter, tossing the expired ones (except those Bed Bath & Beyond super coupons – they never go bad!). Next I grouped like-kind coupons together: grocery, baby, household, etc. This is what things looked like after that step:
The coupon pouch came with labels so when I was finished arranging the coupons into a few logical piles, I wrote the category name on each tab. Then I filed the coupons away, like so:
You can probably see I also tossed a pen and some paper clips in there. The pen really only went in there since there was a pen holder (duh), but the paper clips serve a purpose: when I’m running an errand where I know I’ll only need a few of my coupons I leave the big folder at home and just clip together the few that I need and bring them along.
I’ve been using this system for a few months now and so far so good. I decided my folder was looking a little JV so I started visiting some sites like Coupon Suzy and Cool Savings to beef up on coupons. And I’m happy to report I’m actually using them! Being resourceful + saving money = amazeballs.
So moral of the story, even us common folk can get our couponing on, and keeping them well organized can possibly save you more dough in the long run. Efficiency rules.
And since I’m still playing around with my camera and my new Photoshop app, I will leave you with a quasi-artistic shot of my nicely organized coupons. Complete with my felt tip pen, half chewed by KP on the bottom. Typical. Happy couponing!