I am a big believer in using coupons. Combined with store sales and rebates, using coupons can greatly reduce the cost of grocery and health/beauty items. Eventually, I'd like to track my grocery spending to see exactly how much I'm spending and saving by shopping sales and using coupons. For now, I am secure in the knowledge that the answers are, respectively, not a lot and a ton.
However, my coupon habit is threatening to get out of control. For years, I used a tiny 4x6 inch accordion-style coupon holder. I wasn't serious about couponing then, and it suited my needs (which was to feel like I was saving money by using coupons, without actually doing it). Last August, when I really started clipping coupons, I bought a large yet portable storage tote and set up a system a la Money Saving Mom. For a while, this worked.
Unfortunately, my coupon collection kept growing and growing. And because Jewel and Dominick's stores in this area (Chicago and suburbs) take expired coupons, I never throw any away.
For a few weeks, I tried the method from Erica at I Heart CVS. I kept all of my inserts whole, and would just clip out a coupon when I needed it. The problem is, I only know what coupon I'll need 20% of the time. The rest of the deals are found when I'm at the actual stores. So to stand in front of a good deal in the store knowing that at home, there's a coupon that would make it a GREAT deal was just awful. Obviously, this system doesn't work for me.
Now, I'm giving a new system a try. It is similar to what Jamie does at I am a Money Magnet. On Saturday I hit Office Depot to get a sturdy binder and the plastic pockets to hold all the coupons. I also got alphabetized dividers.
Already, I can tell that setting up this system is going to take a while. I need to get all my old coupons out of my tote and get them in the binder. Then, I need to go through the stack of miscellaneous coupons and get those in the binder. Finally, I have coupon inserts going back 4 weeks. Those coupons need to be clipped and put into the binder.
Can you tell where my spare time will be going this week?