If you’re new to coupons, planning shopping trips may take a little more time—and a little more organization—than you’re used to. Use these organization strategies to keep the savings flowing with ease.
1. Create, save, and print shopping lists using your KCL profile.
Did you know you can select the boxes next to deal posts on KCL? Once a box is selected, it automatically saves to your profile. When you’re ready to shop, pull up or print out your list to help you successfully shop a posted deal. Or, use the free KCL app while you’re in-store (available on both Apple and Android phones). Create a profile here.
If you don’t have a profile, make sure you write down these details:
- How much an item regularly costs
- Size (weight, quantity) of the item
- How many of each coupon to use
- Cost with coupons
- Any gift cards, rewards, or Catalinas you’re to receive after each transaction
- Any rebate app offers you need to upload your receipt(s) to after purchase
2. Pick your top 3 stores and focus on the deals there.
Choose stores based on the best sales, location, and how friendly the staff is. I have a Target, Walgreens, and Rite Aid five minutes from my house, and they are all in the same intersection. This saves time, gas, and keeps me organized. Even if I need to go every day, my drive time is decreased, and I know the location of everything in the store, making my shopping trips so much quicker.
3. Use a spreadsheet to know exactly how much couponing has saved you.
Over the years, I've kept a spreadsheet to track my savings versus spending, which has proved very valuable. I not only have become more aware of what percentage I've saved through couponing, but I’ve been able to use this information for future decision making. For example, I recently looked into applying for a new credit card and used the spreadsheet to see how much I actually spend on groceries, which helped me determine the best credit card that would yield me the most rewards.
4. Be prepared when doing multiple transactions in the same shopping trip.
If you haven’t already noticed, rolling rewards and gift cards at the register is one awesome way to save big, fast. However, staying organized is essential, otherwise it’s easy to become flustered. Use these strategies and let the savings roll in!
- Organize your shopping cart according to transaction by using recyclable totes, hand baskets, and whatever else can act as a divider between groups of items.
- Warn your cashier about having multiple transactions.
- Be ready to make a quick decision if an item rings up differently from what you expected.
- Write down details for each transaction (see tip 1).
5. Keep your coupons and inserts organized with a binder, file box, or envelopes.
Binders help keep individual coupons organized, and you have the freedom to separate groups of coupons using specific dividers and categories. If you choose the binder method, make sure you allot more time to cut individual coupons, organize, and check for expired coupons every week. Here’s how to get started (free binder inserts included!).
File boxes, including expandable file folders, are convenient because you don’t have to clip individual coupons. Instead, just file and categorize weekly newspaper inserts by date. When posting deals on KCL, we’ll tell you which inserts contain the coupons needed for a deal (look for Smart Source – SS, Red Plum – RP, and Procter & Gamble – PG). Here’s how to get started.
Envelopes (you can also use plastic zip bags and plastic page protectors) can be used to separate coupons needed for individual stores. It’s a great way to stash coupons in your purse and keep barcodes safe from damage. If you’re brand-new to couponing, this is a very non-intimidating organization system to start with.
6. Create a folder in your inbox just for emailed deals and coupons.
Companies love to reward their subscribers with promotional offers and coupon codes—even KCL. We’ll send you the best and most popular deals of the day every day in our 3 PM newsletter and will alert you when there’s something hot you’re not going to want to miss. Sign up for our newsletter here.
Enrolling to receive deal alerts from these 32 companies will also help you save, and save almost instantly. As soon as you sign up with any one of these companies, expect a coupon to arrive in your inbox shortly.
7. Keep your stockpile in order and free from expired food.
You should only stockpile as much as you can use before the item(s) expire. Take note of these labels the next time you store and buy food products:
- "Sell by" lets the store know how long to display products for sale. Products should be purchased prior to this date. "Sell by" is typically found on perishables like meat or poultry.
- "Best if used by" is a recommendation for best quality or flavor, not safety.
- "Use by" indicates when a product will start deteriorating in quality and flavor as determined by the manufacturer.
Supermarkets rotate fresher items to the rear, so I always reach to the back of the refrigerated cases for the freshest milk, cheese, yogurt, etc. When I go to put new products away at home, I make sure to move forward the older items so they get used first. You’ll also want to keep products easily accessible so you don’t forget them, and keep track of expiration dates whenever you add new items.
8. Set a timeframe to shop and deal-search–and stick to it!
Decide how much time you can allot to couponing. Maybe 20 minutes searching and planning for deals on your favorite sites, and 15 minutes in each store. This will keep you energetic, focused, and organized.