Friday, April 29, 2011

Coupon Boot Camp - Lesson 2: Getting Organized

 Lesson 2: Getting Organized

This is the second class in Coupon Boot Camp. A new lesson will be posted each week on Thursday and Friday. Lesson 1 was posted yesterday and was viewed a whopping 46 times between then and now, so it seems there’s more people interested in couponing than I would have thought. If you missed yesterday’s post, go here first.

Once you start collecting coupons, your next step is to get organized. Coupons won’t save you any money if you can’t find them. There are several coupon organizers on the market. We’re all familiar with the accordian style envelopes that hold coupons. You can generally find them at a dollar store. They don’t work for me, but that’s not to say they won’t work for you. I have a lot of coupons and I use a lot of coupons. I have to be able to see what I have. I use a coupon binder. I’m going to describe my system for you below. There’s many options for coupon storage, all that matters is that you’re organized and that you’re using a system that works for you.

How I Set Up My Coupon Binder…

I use a 3” 3-ring binder. You can use a smaller binder if 3” seems too big to start off with. I do get the occasional funny look from someone while I’m strolling around Shop Rite with my big, ole’ coupon binder.

I use clear plastic baseball card pages to store my coupons. Look for them at Walmart or Kmart or where ever sports cards are sold. There are nine card slots per side. So one page will give you 18 pockets for coupons. Put different coupons in the same category back to back. You can cut down index cards to fit into the slots if you’d like to give each pocket two sides. Keep multiples of the same coupons all in one pocket.

I use page dividers with tabs to separate the card pages into categories. I generally use one to three pages per category, depending on how many coupons I have. My categories are set up as follows:

Baby Items



Canned Goods


Cleaning Supplies



Frozen Foods





Pasta & Rice

Personal Care




Store Specific


That’s just how I have my categories set up. See what will work best for you. You can also set up your categories in order of how you shop the store. Most people have a pattern they follow when grocery shopping. For instance, some go in, shop the produce department first, then they go to the cereal aisle, etc. You can set up your categories in order of the way you shop the store. Again, however you decide to do it is completely up to you. As long as it works for you, that’s all that matters.

I also use a 3-hole zipper pencil bag in the front of my coupon binder. In it I keep scissors, a calculator and store rewards and loyalty cards.

I use 3-hole punched paper to write my grocery list and I put in list in behind the pencil bag. I also have a 3-hole notebook in the back of the binder, behind all of my coupon pages, that serves as my price book. You’ll learn about setting up a price book of your own soon. It’s key in smart couponing.

I keep my weekly sales ads. in the inside pockets of the binder.

Here’s your homework: Set up your own coupon binder or come up with a coupon organization system that works for you. Get those coupons sorted and ready to go, you’ll be saving big bucks with them soon!

Have a question, comment or suggestion? Let me know! Leave a comment below.

Here are just a few deals going on at Shop Rite right now so you can get your feet wet. These sales end tomorrow 4/30. After I go through the new ad. that starts on Sunday, I’ll post some deals you can get next week.

Mennen or Lady Speed Stick Deodorant is on sale for .99 cents. Use this .50 cents off coupon  when you buy it. (Scroll down and look for Personal Care Special Offers on the left hand side of the page. There's other coupons on the page as well.) Shop Rite will double your .50 cent off coupon and you'll get the deodorant for free. And you'll make a penny. 

Uncle Ben's Rice Mix is on sale for $1.99. Go here for a .75 cent off coupon. Shop Rite doubles your coupons up to $1.00, so they will take an additional .25 cents off and you'll pay .49 cents for the rice.

Sunshine Cheez-It Crackers are on sale for $1.99 each. Buy (2) and use this coupon for $1.00 off when you buy 2. You'll pay .49 cents for each after the coupon.

International Delight Coffee Creamers are on sale for $1.99. Use this coupon for .55 cents off. SR will take an additional .45 cents off and you'll pay .99 cents.

Come back next week on Thursday and Friday for the next two lessons (I will be posting some deals at different area stores for next week in the mean time though). Next week I'll cover The Right Way to Menu Plan and Smart Stockpiling!

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