Before you begin.
Couponing does take some time. The amount of time it takes, though, can be minimized if you have the best organizing system. Sometimes creating the best system for you will take a bit of trial and error. Once you design and utilize a functional system, stick to it.
Find an area in your home that can be used for your couponing. You will need a lot of space to store a filing system, clip coupons and organize your shopping trips. A corner of your office, garage, basement or area in your dinning should provide amble space. You should find an area that is comfortable for you with as few distractions as possible. If you want to incorporate the whole family into the process an area in the family room would work well.
You will need to set up a system to keep all of your coupons organized. If you’re already a thrifty couponer then you already have a good idea of what your needs are. If you’re still not sure if couponing is right for you, you should start small with a recipe box so you can test the waters before you jump in with both feet.
When you find your recipe box is to small to handle the amounts of coupons you clip, then you will know it is time to move onto an expanding folder or portable binder.
Expanding folders or a file system can be used to store your clipped coupons. If you are computer savvy you could set up a file system on your computer that will keep track of your various coupons and locations. Your files and folders should be organized. Your style of organization will depend on how your search for specific coupons will fit your style. Do you want to file for brand types or general categories such as dairy, canned, meats, produce ect…? Think about the system you will find easy to navigate at a moment’s notice.
Now that you have a good idea what you will need to get your coupon area set up in your home, your a next tool is a nice 3 ring zippered binder to store your coupons for the grocery store trip. A 3 ring binder is portable and can be carried with you where ever you go. The bigger the binder the more coupons it will hold. You will want to make sure you are getting one that is well designed and durable so it will hold up during your organization process and the shopping trips. A 3 ring binder fits nicely in the shopping cart and when organized correctly can be easily navigated. You may also consider purchasing extra packets of the clear double sided coupon sleeve pages just so you never run out. You can purchase them at Amazon in 3, 6 or 9 pockets per page.
The binder itself should be organized clearly and efficiently. You don’t want to be caught unable to find a specific coupon that you know you have ‘somewhere’ during the shopping process. You may want to consider purchasing tabbed dividers and coordinating them with color coded shopping lists to make navigation easy. The colored tabbed dividers will help you keep the coupons together in specialized sections. When you come upon a daily or in-store special that wasn’t advertised you will be able to flip directly to the section and find a suitable coupon.
Your binder should also have room to carry a pen, calculator and notepad. If your binder doesn’t include a zippered pocket to store these items you can purchase one online or at your local department store. If you have kids you will know how handy these can be.
Once you have a system in place the rest will fall in place. Remember, this is the time of trial and error and you can re-organize and perfect as you go.