2- How do you match coupons with sales?
3- How do you remember to use them before they expire?
4- How do you know who doubles coupons?
5- Where in the heck did you get your super cool, one of a kind, fashion diva coupon binder? (Ok, maybe without all the adjectives)
Matching Coupons with sales:
The easiest way to answer this is to advise you to 1- clip every coupon you see whether you think you'll use it or not and 2- Make a habit to check weekly circulars. Now, the reason for #1 is simple. You may not be willing to try a $4 box of cereal; however, if the manufacturer issues a $2.00/1 box of cereal and that cereal goes on sale to $2 a box, well that's FREE cereal right there and we all know that free food just tastes better.
Say you get a Sunday paper each Sunday and you decide to check this site each Sunday to see what cool coupons I link to. Well, I recommend getting all of your coupons together and holding them for a few weeks. That's right. HOLD THEM. The reason being that most grocers actually run their ads on a 6 week cycle. Subsequently, most retailers run their coupons on a cycle as well. That means the items you received coupons for in this Sunday's paper will more than likely be on sale in a few weeks. Sale items plus coupons equals tremendous savings.
2- How do you know who doubles coupons?
Kroger does up to $.60 per coupon (means a $0.60 coupon is actually worth $1.20)! Brookshires triples their $0.60 coupons to $1.80, but we don't have any local Brookshire's stores anymore. I only learned of their coupon doubling/tripling by reading the weekly circulars.
3-How do you remember to use them before they expire?
Truth be told, I actually let some coupons expire without ever using them. If I say I am not paying more than $1.00 for a box of cereal and if between the coupon and sales price, it never goes below $1.00? I don't buy it. Period
**btw, I've learned that expired manufacturers coupons can be sent to our military bases overseas and their commissary accepts expired coupons for up to 6 months! They do not accept printed coupons though. I'll post the address as soon as I find it!
Another way to keep them from expiring if I inted to use them come heck or high water is to develop a REALLY good organization system. This goes hand in hand with the next question, but for me I use the binder method. Yes, it's bulky, but it works for me. I started with a plastic accordian folder which I quickly outgrew. I then moved onto the index box method, which became more difficult for me to organize as my coupons increased. Now, I'm at the binder method. I actually recommend this to EVERYONE regardless of your coupon background. It's so simple:
Visit this site and link to all your favorite coupons. And don't forget your Sunday paper!!
Gather, print, and clip all your coupons.
-Get a 3" binder - Trust me, don't even attempt a 1" or 2". You will outgrow it and it is a PAIN to switch them over
-Purchase (2 packs) divider tabs. Pay a little extra to get the hard plastic ones with the holders on them. They are about $3.88 per pack at WalMart and I use two packs because of the way I have my things labeled. The paper dividers will tear easily and the holders are wonderful for coupons not yet clipped.
-Purchase a pack of baseball card sheets. At my local WalMart they are actually found by the tobacco isle, with the game cards. Thanks for the heads up, Rhonda! I looked ALL OVER for these things. They are about $4.88 for a pack of 35 sheets. Each sheet holds 9 coupons, so use your judgement on how many to purchase. I would only start with one though. To date, I only have 2 packs total and have plenty of room. And I use A LOT of coupons.
-Label your tabs. This varies for everyone. Mine are as follows:
Grains / Sauces (at my WalMart, the bread is opposite the pasta and sauces)
Cans / Boxed
Snacks (I put candy, chips, cookies here)
Breakfast (cereals, grits, poptarts, granola bars, Fruit Rollips- these are all on the same isle)
Fridge (if it goes in the fridge, it goes here)
Children (baby needs, toys, DVD's)
Paper / Foil