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Couponing 101-Stockpiling & Organizing Your Groceries
Now when stockpiling please keep in mind that you need to have room in your home for these items. You can store non perishables in closets or in the basements, and perishable items make sure you have a large freezer to help you out. The idea is eventually your house is going to be stockpiled with all of your goodies that it will make your grocery shopping a lot easier because then you will only be shopping for items you can get good deals on not items you need because you are already stockpiled. And don
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.
Saving up to 90% or more on your grocery bill takes time, organization and planning. Your arsenal is the tools you choose. Coupons, an organized filing system and your handy binder are the strongest part of you weapon stockpile. You need to think like a warrior. Act like a warrior and triumph like a warrior.
Pick your shopping battle ground.
Get your newspapers out. Scour the stores that offer you the most value for your coupons and have the best sales according to the items you purchase. If you live in a highly populated area you will be able to plan for the best values due to the larger store chains and in store specials. Look for stores which: offer the lowest prices and the best sales, BOGO specials (Buy One Get One Free!), store reward discounts. Shop wisely and get the biggest bang for your bucks!
Preparing your list:
Your first time may be confusing or frustrating if you are not prepared! You have spent countless hours finding, clipping and storing coupons. You are mentally prepared to do coupon battle in the grocery aisle.
You need to make a list. If you are like most busy people you will write things down when you run out of them. If you plan your meals, the items that you need will be on your list. Once you have your list prepared, you will need to prepare your list! One of the best ways to prepare your list for the battle ground is to have a well organized computer print out. If you are computer savvy you can design your own list using excel or word doc. If you are not computer savvy perhaps your friend is? Or if you have children one of them are sure to know their way around the computer. There are also apps and online programs available for you to download and print lists as well as software you can purchase.
There are 2 ways you can outline your list. By food group or according to the layout of the store. Either way will work depending on your shopping style. The more organized your list the quicker you can navigate through out the aisle and fill your cart.
Store Layout Style: If you shop at the same place always compile your list using the store layout style. If you start your shopping with the canned food section that’s where your list should start.
Food Group: This is the most general way people design lists. Since stores are categorized according to food group, produce, canned, meat this list type is easy to follow.
This is where a well organized binder comes into use.
Everyone will develop a different style depending on how organized you plan to be and what works best for you. Here is one style that could be used for your first shopping trip. Your binder should have the front sectioned filled and ready before you leave your house.
The coupons for items on your list and that you plan to use should be in the center of a clear 3 pocket page. When you are placing the item in your cart, pull the coupon(s) and place them in the top pocket and mark it off your list. When you are ready to check out you will have your coupons all ready for the cashier.
The rest of the coupons should be visibly handy in the colored tabbed section of your binder. If you come across an unadvertised store special you will have those coupons available.
If this is your first shopping trip don’t get frustrated. Many consider Extreme Couponing to be an art that you will need to perfect and practice. A first time trip well planned and executed should gain you at least 20-60% savings on your total grocery bill. Start slow and ease your way in. Practice make perfect.