I tend to be just a bit disorganized. No matter how many ways I shuffle, order, and package small pieces of paper, I continue to lose them. As a Krazy Couponer, nothing is worse than losing a coupon. I’d walk out of the store without using coupons I’d clipped and intended to use. Now add in ECBs, RRs, +UPs. How many more letters can I deal with?! It was getting to be too much (back of hand to forehead and swoon.)
For a long time I faithfully used my binder for manufacturer coupons. But, for the life of me, I could not keep the specific store items organized. I needed a new system that worked for me.
So I pondered how and where I used coupons, how often I handled paper during the transactions and decided to create the following system for coupons/rewards at my three main stores:
1. Letter Size Envelopes: For each store that I frequent, I keep a letter-sized envelope in my purse next to my wallet. That way, I’m reminded to check the envelope before I pay. Inside each envelope, I keep:
- Store coupons.
- My store rewards card. Some couponers choose to store them in their binders. Just make sure they’re visible at checkout.
- As I shop during the week, my receipts go in the store-specific envelope. If I need to make a quick return, I know right where the receipt is. I can also get discrepancies quickly cleared up at the check stand.
- ECBs or RRs go in the front of the specific envelope for the store with the expiration date highlighted. My stores do not extend coupons past the expiration date. Several times, I have lost ECBs or RRs because they expired a day earlier. Remember to rotate your ECBs/RRs with the closest expiration date to the front to spend it first.
- Catalinas. Place Catalinas in the envelope specific to the store. For example, Walgreens may print one for $3 off $10 of Walgreens brand items if I use my AARP card. I place this Catalina in the envelope to remind me to use it. The Catalinas may be store specific or manufacturer coupons.
- Specific store coupon books. For example, Walgreens has a savings booklet at the front of the store each month. The booklet slips into the envelope nicely. If the book won’t fit, tear out the coupons and place them in the envelope.
- Store maps, like the one provided by my local grocery store, Harris Teeter.
2. Write it down: I stay in control of my weekly $100 budget for groceries, household supplies and personal items by writing everything on my envelopes. I have no clue how to do a spreadsheet, so I use this “Average Josie’s” way of organizing and monitoring my savings:
- List amount spent/amount saved on the outside of the envelope after each shopping trip.
- At week’s end, I total my spent column and compare to my savings column.
3. Store the Envelopes: That way you can track your savings by month, quarter or year.
- Purge the envelopes at the end of the week and remove your receipts. Check for expiration dates of ECBs, RRs, and store coupons. The envelopes usually last about a month before they need replacing.
- File the envelopes by the month, quarter, or year.
This has been a guest post by Tammy from North Carolina
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