How I Got Started with Coupons

12 Sep

I have been putting off posting about coupons since I’m my coupons are a little disorganized and I keep putting off organizing it since other things have taken priority.  But, I thought today I would finally sit down to share how I got started with coupons.

I have heard stories of helping my mom with her “poo-cons” when I was small.  She and my aunt would get together to clip coupons and get deals.  Something must have stuck at that early age, because now that I have a family of my own and we are a 1 income household, I am always looking for a deal.  I handle all the finances for our household, and after our second daughter arrived, I knew it was really time to buckle down on our finances and find more ways to save money.  We had already taken a lot of extras out of our budget, things like cable TV, minimum house phone and cell phone services, but we still needed a way to save more.  I occasionally would use coupons, but generally would forget.  Around this time, a friend of mine really started to get into coupons. She was my motivation for getting more into coupons, and in April of 2010 I really started paying attention to sales ads better, getting multiple newspapers each Sunday for the coupons, and reading coupon blogs.

I found that I needed better organization, so I created my first coupon binder.  I bought a 2″ binder, 16 dividers with pockets, 2 packs of 9 pocket pages (like for baseball and trading cards), and 50 full sheet protective sleeves.  I decided that I would clip and organize by store aisle, so I created a cover page with my name and contact phone numbers in case I left my binder somewhere (and yes, this has happened a couple times) and a list of the sections I would divide the coupons into.

Then, I went to work each week clipping and organizing my coupons in the 9 pocket pages.

9 pocket page with coupons

I used the full sheet pages to put inserts I hadn’t clipped yet and to put the weekly store ads in.

Full sheet protectors with unclipped weekly inserts

This method worked for me for quite a while.  I also was reading blogs like The Krazy Coupon Lady and “The” Cents’Able Shoppin to get the coupon match ups for the weekly sales.  After a while, I made some changes to my organization, which I will talk about after I can get my coupons organized better and get some pictures to share what I do.

If you want to get started in coupons but don’t know where to start, I really like The Krazy Coupon Lady’s Beginners page.  It talks about different ways to organize your coupon binder, how to find coupons, how to change your mindset about shopping, how to understand sales cycles.  Another great resource for getting started is Jill Cataldo, founder of Super-Couponing.  You may have read her columns in your local newspaper.

With coupons, you have to be willing to give up some brand loyalties and decide what prices you are willing to pay and knowing how low of a price you can get on something.  It can be rather confusing at times, plus it’s a lot of work, but in the end, the payoff is worth it.

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