Coupon Craziness- Organization (Part 2)

Hey guys! I’m glad everyone liked Part 1 of the Coupon Craziness Series. If you missed it, you’ll definitely want to read about getting started, which includes finding couponing blogs and getting coupons.

Today’s installment is all about coupon organization and deciding where to shop.

Coupon Organization

Now that you’re buying Sunday papers, saving coupons you get in packages and free samples, and printing coupons, the big question is how to organize them. After all, no one wants stacks of papers and coupon inserts floating around, and if you’re like me and every other female, your purse is a giant black hole and you cannot find anything you put in it when you really need it.

The method to your organization madness must work for you- and if it works for you, it’s the right method. I have a lot of friends who use coupon binders and cut every coupon out and place it in there- I don’t do this. The time I spend cutting all those coupons (some of which I know I won’t use) is not worth saving slightly more money. If I miss out on a deal or two, I’m fine with that- there’s more to life than couponing. Time is money- but my time is honestly more valuable.

I organize my Sunday paper coupons in an expanding file folder. Each section of the folder is one week of Sunday coupon inserts, uncut. I write the dates on the fronts of the books and stick them in the folder. That’s it. I clean out the folder each month, and I have enough slots to keep 3 months worth of coupons. That’s all I keep, because that’s about as long as most coupons last (it’s important to remember, they do expire!).

Sometimes coupons do last more than 3 months, but like I said, I’m not losing my sanity and a lot of time just to keep from missing a deal. I suppose if I wanted to keep inserts after three months, you could move them out of the expanding file folder and into a drawer.

I check my Google Reader every day for new posts in the couponing blogs I follow, but the main day I check is Tuesday. That’s because my local grocery store sales begin on Wednesday, and the weekly ad/coupon matchups are posted on Tuesday. Since the blogs I follow tell which coupons match up to the sales in the ad, I wait until the night before the sale begins to clip anything. Then I paperclip my coupons together with my list and head to the store the next day.

But… my town has multiple grocery stores. So which one do I head to? That depends…

Where to Shop

Growing up, I lived in a small town with two grocery stores. When you needed groceries, you didn’t have much of a choice- you had to hit up one of those stores, or drive 30 minutes   and risk your dairy/frozen/meat products possibly thawing out or going bad if you took too long getting home.

If you only have or two options of where to shop (or if none of your local stores double), you can still make couponing work- any amount of money saved is money saved. But, if you have multiple stores in your town, do some research to find the best one for shopping and couponing.

I’m not one of those who hits up every store to get every deal. I do 75% of my shopping at one store- Harris Teeter. Harris Teeter once had a reputation for being the “expensive” store in town, the store where women wore makeup and pearls to buy groceries (Hmm- I wear pearls to the track… and 5Ks with the hubs).

Amy and Clay Turkey Trot Pic

But, since Harris Teeter doubles coupons up to 99 cents every day, it’s now known as the couponer’s paradise of my town! If you have a local store that doubles coupons, go for the store that doubles! Doubling means if you use a coupon for 75 cents off, you really get the doubled value ($1.50) off.

The store may not be where you usually shop, but you don’t have to ONLY shop there. You can just make one trip a week for the coupon deals. I just like Harris Teeter and tend to buy most things there- they have great customer service and a kickin’ produce and meat department to go along with the double coupons. I visit Aldi maybe twice a month for very cheap produce, since I eat 2-3 pieces of fruit every day. And of course, if I need something ASAP for baking or cooking, I just go to the nearest store. I’m not driving out of my way to go to a store I like or use a coupon.

Don't mess with my fruit

Keeping watch over my fruit.

Some stores that don’t double also have store coupons that you can use with manufacturer’s coupons (which are the coupons that come in your Sunday inserts and most printables). I know Whole Foods has coupon books in their store, and you can use those coupons as well as printables or insert coupons, so you can sometimes use two coupons on an item. This is called stacking coupons, and Target allows it as well.

With that said, every store has a different policy. Harris Teeter doubles 20 coupons of 99 cents or less every day with your store loyalty card. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to use more than 20 coupons, so I’m good there.

Don’t bend or break the rules! I’ve seen ladies bring their husbands to shop with them (I guess the husband had a card himself, so he got another 20 items super cheap with doubled coupons) or even their kids. Don’t go cray-cray like the ladies on TLC and call 8 friends to do separate transactions for you. That makes couponers look like hoarders and keeps other shoppers from getting items they may want or need.


Q1.) For you ladies, what do you normally lose in your purse? I know I lose my phone a lot in mine, probably because it’s a small phone and just gets buried under things!

Q2.) How many store loyalty cards do you have on your keychain? Six here. I took a lot of them off this past weekend because I was tired of carrying around a heavy keychain.

Q3.) Do you buy bags or big packages of fruits or veggies or single pieces? I definitely buy huge bags of apples since I eat one every day, and lately I’ve been buying big containers of kiwis. I don’t buy as many bananas or strawberries though- just don’t eat them fast enough. I only buy a single piece if it’s something I’m going to eat right then.

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13 Responses to Coupon Craziness- Organization (Part 2)

  1. ladycoop says:

    1) my chap stick or pens. Can never find it when I need it
    2) none. I use my phone number at the checkout. I only have three keys on my ring. I don’t like clutter. LOL
    3) Depends on what store I shop. Central Market doesn’t have 5lb bags of produce, so I have to buy produce seperately there. At other stores I buy the 5 or 10lb bags

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Haha, I should do the phone number thing myself, that would work a lot better. I’ve also heard there’s an app you can get that includes all your cards, so they scan your phone.

      Don’t blame you to buy huge bags of produce- you have a lot of people to feed!

  2. This is great information! I just learned that one of my stores doubles coupons and I now shop there like it’s my job. We just got a Harris Teeter is town and I’m obsessed with their salad bars back at home. Though it does a number on my wallet!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Aww! Ours doesn’t have a salad bar, but they do have a sushi bar which is pretty neat =). I wish they had a food/salad bar like a Whole Foods does- lucky you!

  3. Rebecca says:

    Hey Amy! :)

    I’ve enjoyed reading your coupon craziness. And that is a good idea on filing things like that! I’ve recently found that I need to do that with my pay stubs, statements, bills, etc. Because they’re getting everywhere! And I need to keep them together.

    I’m glad to know that coupons can be very useful! I’m not sure if I’ll get into the habit of using them or not. Right now, it seems overwhelming. But I do use restaurant coupons every now and then. Maybe I should branch out some? :)

    1. Cell phone… since it’s black and usually the inside of the purse is dark. The Android is cool, but I do miss my flip-phone sometimes. :( I had a nice polka dotted cover for that! It was funny, because it kept breaking (the cover, that is), ad I taped it because I was so attached to it.

    2. I carry my dad’s Sears/Kmart card in my wallet to accumulate points for him. I have a Panera card, obviously. ;) I do have a Best Buy card that I still haven’t activated. :P

    3. Like you, it depends on what I am going to eat. For me, it’s single pieces for now because I can eat it right away.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      Yeah, I can kinda understand buying single pieces of fruit since you’re single. Then again Clay doesn’t eat all that much fruit, but I like to have it there in case he does want it :). And it rarely goes to waste!

      Couponing for groceries is definitely worth the savings. It’s something that you can start small until you figure it out, it takes time, but it saves me a lot of money- it still took a few months to perfect this “system” though. Hope I don’t make it look too easy!

  4. Patty says:

    Haha I love this! I’ve been collecting coupons but mostly they end up in a mess in my purse. Gotta get me a cute a folder!

    • Amy Lauren says:

      The cuter the better :). My expanding folder doesn’t really leave my dining room (which is where my computer is), but I don’t think I could ever lose it, haha.

  5. couponkeri says:

    Thanks! I Love it!

    Q1.) For you ladies, what do you normally lose in your purse? I know I lose my phone a lot in mine, probably because it’s a small phone and just gets buried under things!

    I always loose my pen. Every time I want to write something down I am always digging through my purse trying to find that pen!

    Q2.) How many store loyalty cards do you have on your keychain? Six here. I took a lot of them off this past weekend because I was tired of carrying around a heavy keychain.

    NONE! I have an app on my iphone called CardStar which allows me to save all of my loyalty cards and they scan my phone right at the register. I love it!

    Q3.) Do you buy bags or big packages of fruits or veggies or single pieces? I definitely buy huge bags of apples since I eat one every day, and lately I’ve been buying big containers of kiwis. I don’t buy as many bananas or strawberries though- just don’t eat them fast enough. I only buy a single piece if it’s something I’m going to eat right then.

    I always buy by the piece. I don’t like to waste so I usually just buy a few at a time.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      That app sounds really neat! I think my husband would like it. I don’t actually have a smartphone, so I use key cards. One of my friends/fellow coaches asked me tonight why I don’t have one when I work at a tech company and am obviously tech savvy… and really, I just don’t want the bill and the hassle of being wired all the time.

      Don’t blame ya on the fruit. I never buy many bananas for that reason because if I buy a bunch, we won’t eat them all.

  6. I have really big purses since I like to have a lot of stuff on hand just in case, so I usually lose small things like lip gloss or gum wrappers. It’s so annoying having to find something else to wrap my gum up in when I’m done with it!

    I live in a fairly big city so we have more grocery stores than I can count and I haven’t even gone to most of them, but I usually hit up Super Target, Whole Foods and sometimes Albertson’s. I’m actually going to start printing off the Whole Foods coupons from their website since I think it will actually save me a little money–they always have a wide variety of coupons and usually for stuff I buy a lot.

    • Amy Lauren says:

      We don’t have a Super Target here- I hear they’re very nice though. Our Target is being remodelled and the aisles are super small and make me claustrophobic right now, eek.

      I lose lip gloss too! I don’t think anyone’s ever used a whole chapstick or lipgloss, it either gets lost or washed.

  7. Pingback: Coupons – Money in Your Pocket « Sharing it Forward

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