Staying on track with your savings goals when you have no time
Many people assume they don’t have time to coupon, because they envision spending hours each week carefully clipping, sorting, and organizing their coupons into a massive color-coded binder (like this one available for sale on Amazon.)
That works for some shoppers, but I personally get tired even thinking about it!
However, you don’t want to go in the opposite direction and have stacks of coupons scattered around your house.
If every spare surface in your house looks like this ^^^, you are going to really stress yourself out!
So here’s my foolproof way to organize coupons in less than five minutes a week. Are you ready?
- Get an accordion file. You can usually snag these for under $10 at your local office supplies store – or even cheaper if you buy during a back-to-school sale in July or August. Look for one with 10 to 12 sections, which will be enough to hold two to three months’ worth of coupons.
- Organize your coupon inserts by date. If you turn your insert on its side, it will say the date in teeny-tiny type near the top, like in the photo up above. Keep that week’s inserts in their own section in your accordion file.
- Only clip directly before you shop. When you get ready to go to the store, pull up your favorite coupon deals site – and if you don’t have one, please check out Spend Less, Shop More! – and check out that week’s sales recap. All the best deals in a store’s ad will be matched back to existing coupons, listed by date.
For even faster reference, here are the sections of my blogs that cover individual stores. That way, you can check out current deals even more quickly:
For example, you might see that Target has Success rice on sale for $1 per box, and that there was a 50 cents off coupon in the 9/12 Red Plum. (This is a fake example, by the way -- so don't go rushing to sort through all your coupons!)
You decide you want to buy that rice – so just go to your file, pull out the inserts from the 9/12 tab, and clip your coupons!
At that point, I just toss my shopping list, plus all the coupons I plan to use, into a plain envelope. Then I seal the envelope and write the store name on the front.
That way, nothing gets shuffled around or lost in my purse before I get to the store. I also don't wig out cashiers when I get in their line, because I'm not lugging a heavy binder around.
And of course, your accordion file is perfectly portable – so nothing’s stopping you from keeping it in your car trunk, just in case you find an unexpected deal at the grocery store!
In addition to saving you lots of time, this organizational method also helps you save money.
Studies have shown that the simple act of clipping a coupon makes you more likely to purchase an item – so if you only clip the coupons you know you need for that trip, you cut down on the possibility of impulse purchases in the store.
Saving money is great, but you're actually wasting money if you buy items you don't need or won't use in a timely manner (unless of course your item is free!)
Have more questions about getting and staying organized with your coupon collection? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!