Friday, January 20, 2012

Doing the Coupon Thing

(takes a deep breath) I am going to do the coupon thing again. Just saying that gives me a feeling of being overwhelmed. What is it about couponing that seems impossible? Is it the sight of tiny coupons jammed into an organizer or is it watching Extreme Couponing that makes it seem so daunting?

I did the coupon thing once before but looking back I realized I was doing it all wrong which resulted in me giving up on the whole thing. Here are some things that I learned:

  1. Do not cut all the coupons and put them into a coupon organizer to keep in my purse. I am not doing this again because (1) it made things more confusing and (2) I like my small purse. I do not want to have to buy a bigger one for the sake of toting around coupons that end up expiring before I notice.
  2. Do not become obsessed with coupons and savings. Ok, that may sound weird, right? The point of using coupons is to save money so why would I not devote a huge chunk of time for it? Simple. I got burned out. I was so into it that I started to resent the time it took to scour the flyers and find the coupons.
  3. Do not expect gigantic savings right away or all the time. I will save money with coupons but that does not mean I am going to cut my grocery bill in half right away. Nor does it mean I am going to have huge savings every time I buy groceries. Some weeks will be awesome and some weeks will be so so.
This time around I am taking a more laid back approach to couponing. I am starting slowly, being more organized and not eating, breathing, sleeping coupons. I want to succeed in saving money and I want to prove to myself that I can do it and stay sane. So here is my plan of attack this time around:

  • Ok, so instead of clipping the coupons and keeping them in an organizer I am keeping the coupon flyers in a three ring binder. As soon as I get them I punch the holes and put it right in. The oldest on top, the newest at the bottom - this way I can make sure that the ones about to expire get seen first.

  • Using the binder also keeps them from just falling apart. I can just flip through easily.

  • I write the date that I recieved the flyer at the top. Why do I do this? I use CouponMom to help find the deals at the stores I shop the most. Each item listed will have the flyer name and date so you can easily find the coupon. A time saver!

CouponMom is a great site for those wanting to start couponing! Just be warned that if you sign up for the emails you will get bombarded. Some folks might be ok with that but it stressed me out.

  • Now that I'm organized I can go through the store flyers, circle items we use, go to CouponMom and check the stores I shop for their weekly deals and what coupons to use.

That seems simple enough, right? Like I said before I am taking things slow this time. Once I get a good rhythm then I'll venture into other areas of couponing. Who knows maybe you'll see me on Extreme Couponing one day. Ha!

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