Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Week One of Couponing

So I have decided to start the great adventure that is couponing. I have watched the TLC show, read the blogs, and made a game plan. One thing I've noticed is that couponing posts and blogs are all made by professionals who have been doing it forever. I wanted to see someone who had just started like me, going through the learning process of becoming a successful money saving genius. So when I couldn't find one, I decided to start one. This will not be a how-to post, or any type of tutorial, because I have no idea what I'm doing. This is just me testing out theories I have found.

Why coupon?
My question to you is, why not? It took me about three hours today to get completely organized and make all the things I used to get organized and cut the coupons(cutting the coupons only took like 45 minutes). That's three hours that would have been spent on pinterest any other day. As someone who is used to having a job, and who is really struggling with not providing financial assistance to my growing family, three hours is worth saving any money to me.

How I Got Started
So, I am a big organization freak. If I start a new project and it gets too messy, I lose interest very quickly. So I figured the best way to start this and stick to it would be to get organized first. Figure out a system that may work for me and then start the couponing.

I would love to use the baseball card filing system where you have a completely separate coupon binder and you have a bunch of those clear baseball card protectors that hook directly into your binder. From there you fill all the slots up with your coupons, making it extremely easy to flip between all your coupons. This system seems ideal to me, but I didn't really feel like dishing out the dough for the sheets. This is about saving money right? So instead I made myself a coupon envelope. See the tutorial here. I figure this will help me get started, and then when this turns into something real, I can get a little more obsessive with it.

Now where do I find those coupons?
That's what it is all about after all, those flimsy newspaper inserts that save you dollars and dollars when used in the right way. So where do you get them all? Normally, I don't get any. I always forget that it is Sunday and the paper is out, but since I checked my handy homemade planner I was able to remember it this week. So I forced the hubs to take me to the nearest gas station (I can't drive his car, it's a stick shift) and I bought two newspapers. Yupp, only two. This will give me enough coupons to build up a little bit of a stock pile, but not so much that I wasted too much money. The experts all say that you should start small so you don't get overwhelmed, and it is advice I intend on taking.

Time to clip coupons.
Since I bought two papers, I matched up all the inserts and cut them both at the same time. This was a lot easier than I thought it would be, it cut the clipping time in half, and it made organizing the huge stack a lot easier since they were doubled up in the pile. When I was done, this is what I had:
That's such a huge stack of coupons for just two papers! Way more than I expected actually, and I wish I would have made my envelope a little bigger because it won't hold more than a few weeks worth.

Organizing my coupons.
So I have my envelope, I have my coupons, but how do I work this into a usable system? I took notecards and I wrote different categories on each of them so when I looked through ads I could check that category and see if I had any coupons to make it a super sale.
I got most of the categories from The Krazy Coupon Lady but I adjusted some of them for my own use. The categories I made are:
Produce: Fresh Fruits, Veggies, and anything else in the produce section
Salty Snacks: Pretzels, Popcorn, Chips, Crackers, Snack Mix, etc.
Granola Bars: And Fruit Snacks, Breakfast & Energy Bars, etc.
Fruit: Canned fruit, Fruit Cups, Applesauce, etc.
Vegetables: Canned vegetables, pickles, beans, etc.
Pasta: Dry noodles and pasta sauce
Soup: Canned soup, Broth & Dry Soup Mix
Baking: Flour, Sugar, Oil, Cake Mix, Frosting, Chocolate Chips, Raisins, Evaporated Milk, Shortening, etc.
Breakfast: Cereal, Oatmeal, Toaster Pastries, Syrup, Pancake Mix, etc.
Prepared Sides: Rice, Instant Potatoes, Country Crock sides, etc.
Condiments: Salad Dressing, Mayo, Mustard, Ketchup, Soy Sauce, etc.
Drinks: Juice, Drink Mix, Hot Cocoa Mix, Creamer
Refrigerated: Eggs, Cheese, Dairy, Deli Meat, Dips, Rolls
Frozen: Veggies, Pizza, Meat, Ice Cream
Storage Containers: Reynolds, Ziploc
Cleaning: Surface Cleaners, Laundry, Dishwashing, Air Fresheners
Health: Cold/Allergy Medicine, Vitamins, First Aid, Oral Health
Hygiene: Beauty, Soap, Hair Care, Lotion, Shaving, Deodorant, Feminine Hygiene
For me this is just descriptive enough to fit into my coupon plan and searching for coupons, but not so descriptive that I spend more time sorting them than anything else. So now that I have cut them all out and made my coupon category cards, I laid them all out on my bed to match the coupons with them.
So I put all the coupons in the correct category by sitting the coupon above the notecard.

And week one is done!
Now I put all my coupons in the envelope and I finally have all my coupons all set up for me to make my grocery list next week (we move in on Saturday!) Week one was super easy, but if I'm really going to save some money, I'm sure it will get a lot more difficult!

Happy saving! ♥ Jess

I linked this post up with: Family Ever After and A Bowl Full of Lemons.


  1. You're so welcome! I really hope this helps at least one other person like it helped me! :)

  2. Wow! I am so impressed! Hope your new system totally rocks for you!


  3. Oh yes! I am going to get started right away! I am looking forward to your follow up ;)

  4. You are just what I needed, so I hope you keep going with this, so we all can learn more.