Friday, June 26, 2009

Out with the old, In with the new

I've always used coupons. I can remember being barely old enough to use scissors, sitting in the floor clipping coupons for my mom on Sunday afternoons, then going down to my grandma's house and doing the same thing for her. I still do this on Sunday, only now I set aside coupons for Mom and mailing her what she uses. She in turn does the same for me. People at church even leave diaper coupons in Quinn's cubby in the nursery (thanks for those!!), and friends at work save me their whole coupon sections from the paper. I also pull coupons from the dispenser boxes in the aisles of the grocery store. I use websites like CouponBug.Com, and Coupons.Com to print coupons. Because of this, I have accumulated quite the stash of coupons.

So I've decided that my current way of keeping up with my coupons was not working for me anymore. Can you blame me?? Take a look at my coupon organizer, and see what I mean.

There is absolutely no rhyme or reason to what is going on in here. The only way you could say this is organized is that the coupons were in order by date. I kinda, sorta knew where certain coupons were based on date. For example, any Proctor and Gamble product (Pampers, Dawn, Cascade, etc) would be near the end of the month. Other than that, I would have to search through this humongous stack, hoping to find the right one. (And yes, that envelope does have several pockets, and no, I was not using all of them...just one!)
So after reading some coupon posts on MoneySavingMom and on Life As Mom, I decided it was time to re-organize.
I pretty much used the idea of MoneySavingMom as seen here. To make this coupon box, you need some small envelopes, some small index cards, and some sort of box. I used a leftover baby wipes box.
Basically what you need to do is tear off the flap of the envelope. Then take an index card and staple it to the inside. Also write the category of item on the index card as well. I discovered after I had stapled all the cards in that the lid of the box wouldn't shut, so I had to go back and trim the cards down. You may want to write the category just above the envelope and then trim the top of the card off.
Then I went through all my coupons and sorted them based on category. What did I use for categories? Well, if you go back up and click on the link of how Crystal (MoneySavingMom) did her box, I used many of her categories, as I thought she had broken them down really well. For example, she didn't just say "Cleaners". She had an envelope for all-purpose cleaners, bathrooms, furniture, glass, etc. I added some categories, took away some categories, and pretty much fit her list to our family's needs. Then I alphabetically organized all the envelopes. Then I organized the coupons in each envelope by date, so the most recent date is on top.
Now, my coupon box looks like this.

I am hoping this will resolve my coupon issues and will allow me to quickly find what I need.
If you do the "coupon thing", how do you organize your coupons?? If you don't coupon....tell me why! I can't imagine people not using coupons, but I know some do. Either way, I'd love to hear your methods!
For other Frugal Ideas, check out Frugal Friday hosted by Life As Mom.


Ashley Beth said...

I started really couponing about 4 months ago. I wanted to so that our grocery budget wouldn't be affected too much when diapers and wipes were added =) I love! I think it is the greatest. I also organize my coupons very similarly to what you just described except my "box" is a giant ziploc - I have lots of dividers inside separating all my coupons. I'm going to check out some of these websites you mentioned - thanks!

Tracey said...

I really like how your box is organized. I should show a picture of my coupon organizer - I have had it for years and it is literally falling apart! I'm looking for something to replace it so appreciate your timely post!

Mom2fur said...

I keep mine in their circulars, and keep those circulars in plastic sleeves in a binder. To make it easier to find what I need, I also have a data base on my computer. Since I only type in what I will use (I give most of the others away at the pediatric office where I work), it doesn't take much time. My data base is divided by date, type (food, health and beauty or household) and value (under a dollar, a dollar, high value).
I like the way your box has sub-sub categories instead of general ones. If I ever redo my method, I'll have to keep this in mind!
PS--I also can't understand people who don't use coupons. I suppose they just don't know how to really make them work!

Heather said...

That is the exact way I do mine! Although mine is a plastic shoe box.I like the diaper wipes container idea too.
Ask Pam to show you how she does hers. I am eventually gonna do that as well for the Sunday inserts only. It looks like the post above mine does something similar to Pam's.

Anonymous said...

Your coupons look great. Don't you want to organize mine for me??

Love you


Pam said...

How very thrifty of you to repurpose an old wipes box!!! I used Money Saving Mom's catagories too when I made mine...except that I don't use it. I just take all the circulars for a given Sunday and stick them in a manilla folder labeled with that date. Since almost all the couponing is done with deals I see online, and they always list which circular the coupon is in, I just go to the folder and clip the coupon I need. If I didn't have my little "helpers" with me all the time, I might carry my coupon box. I go back and forth between the two in my mind all the time, but what it really comes down to is that I don't have time to organize them.