Friday, March 9, 2012

My coupon filing drawer, part 2

Welcome to this week's Frugal Follies Frugal Tip!

Last week, I showed you my coupon filing drawer.  Here it is again:

The first file contains coupon booklets and magazines; the other 19 contain 19 weeks' worth of coupon inserts.

So when I make my shopping list for the grocery or drug stores, I look through the ad for items I might want.  When I find something I'm interested in, I look up the item in the Coupon Database to see if there are any matching coupons.  (I'll also check coupon matchup sites such as I Heart Publix, Southern Savers, or Deal Seeking Mom.)

If there's a printable coupon, I'll print it.  But if a Smartsource, RedPlum, Procter & Gamble, or General Mills coupon is listed, I head over to my coupon file.  I pull out the file for the appropriate date, which is listed in the database entry.  Then I start looking through the inserts!  Some of my inserts are identical - you can tell by the newspaper names on the spine of the insert.  If there are two inserts from one company in one week, you'll have to check both for each newspaper.  (I get inserts from the major newspaper as well as two other local newspapers.)

Once I find the coupons I need, I cut them out and paperclip it to the index card I use for my shopping list and add how many of the item I'll be buying. 

But sometimes I can't find the coupon.  That's because coupons can be distributed regionally, and I might not live in the region where it was given out.  If that happens, then I have to decide: do I want to buy the item without a coupon, or do I pass on it this time?  Generally I pass until the next opportunity where I can combine a sale with a coupon.  If it's something I use a lot of, and it's a good sale price, I might buy it anyway.

So what happens when I get new inserts?  I pull out the file in the back - the one with the oldest inserts - and remove them from the file.  If I were really organized, I'd do a search of the Coupon Database to see if any of the coupons included have not expired yet, find them, cut them out, and put them in my coupon binder.  But I'm usually not that organized, so I just throw out all the inserts.

Then, I take out the tab, erase the old date - I used pencil, so I can do this - and then write the date of the new inserts on the tab.  Then I put the tab back and put the file folder in the front of all the other coupon inserts file.

Any questions?

Next week, I'll show you my coupon binder.  It's not as impressive as those of people who cut all their coupons from the inserts, but I still find it useful.

For more frugal tips, please go to my Linkup Parties page and check out the bloggers listed under Frugal Tips Linkups.  There are lots of great ideas on each blog and I'm sure you'll find lots of wonderful tips!

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