Sometimes mental notes just won’t do when the topic is important. When I’m searching for ad matches, there are so many couponing details to juggle that I’ve learned note-taking is one of my greatest support tools.

When I peruse the papers, I have a marker handy to circle the best prices and record the basic information on a sticky note to keep handy in my binder when I shop.

Using Post-It notes gives me an at-a-glance guide, making shopping trips quicker and easier. I follow a “just the facts” approach when taking notes for shopping trips. I note the product, the quantity or size, and the store. Here's an example of a recent note:

  • Russets $.79/5 lbs bag @ Smart & Final (or, Russets .49lbs @ Sprouts)
  • Navel Oranges 5 lbs/$1.00 F4Less
  • Best Foods Mayo 30oz 2.59 @ Vons
  • Generic Sliced Olives 2.25oz 10/$10 @ Alb (no ad-match – compare!)

I know we already invest a lot of time searching for coupons and deals, but this extra step is worth it. Here’s why:

  • I have a quick reference guide to see if an ad match gives me the most savings, and it also reminds me what I want to separate on the conveyor so I don't forget to tell the cashier.
  • Having a note that includes the store name helps act quickly when I encounter suspicious cashiers. I keep the circled ads tucked into the inside of my binder where I can easily locate the right one.
  • It helps make the most of my time. Now that I'm becoming more efficient with my dollar, it's important for me to use my time wisely because I now shop at three retailers.
  • It’s easier to make mistakes without handy reference notes to keep things clear and accurate.

I don't record my coupons because I'm pretty good at remembering those. I have each coupon page open to the corresponding aisle as I shop (just in case I need it). And this way I can also catch those unadvertised clearance items.

With my binder, organized notes, reading glasses, pen and my focused concentration, I'm often asked if I'm an employee. And I'm proud to share that I'm a couponer! Even if I got  a commission for every person I have encouraged to sign up for KCL emails, I'd still be taking notes and perusing ads! It simply makes good cents!!

This is a guest post by Manya from Upland, CA
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