Sunday, May 1, 2011

Getting organized

Over the weekend, I've been busy getting organized - or at least with my coupon strategy.  One thing I quickly found was that I had coupons laying around everywhere, and it was making me crazy.  I knew I needed to get organized and put everything in one location.  To do that, I put together a little filing system.  It looks nice and neat and is compact in a plastic tub.  See picture below!

I know there are similar versions that you can purchase through coupon experts, however, with some mailing envelopes, index cards, glue stick, scissors and a marker, I was able to create my own on the cheap!

For those interested in putting together something similar, this is how I did it:

  1. First, you'll need a plastic tub to hold all of your coupons.  I bought mine at Walmart, for somewhere in the $3.50 range. 
  2. Next, begin by cutting off the flap part of a letter-sized envelope, like this:
    3. Then, take an index card and, using a glue stick, add glue to the bottom 2/3rds of the card.  Adhere card to the envelope, alternating between left side/middle/right side.

   4. Label the cards using descriptions that will help organize your shopping trips.  Or, I came up with my own that I've listed below.  I got a little carried away and may reduce the categories as I become more experienced, but time will tell.  Coupon Closet lists her categories here.  She also provides some beginner categories, which can be found here.  As you find coupons for each category, just insert them into the appropriate envelope.

  • Office supplies
  • Outdoor (bug spray, charcoal, lighter fluid)
  • Side dishes (pasta, rice mixes)
  • Chips
  • Mexican (tortillas, taco shells, enchilada sauce, jalapenos)
  • Batteries
  • Canned goods
  • Cookies
  • Candy
  • Hair products
  • Kitchen wrap (foil, saran wrap, etc.)
  • Kitchen bags (trash bags, ziplocs, etc.)
  • Makeup
  • Pasta
  • Seasonings and spices (taco seasoning, salt and pepper, etc)
  • Dish soap
  • Medical or First Aid
  • Bread
  • Toys and Games
  • Dental
  • Dairy
  • Bath soap
  • Sauces and dips
  • Box dinners
  • Baking (flour, sugar, etc.)
  • Dessert mixes (brownies, cakes, muffin mixes)
  • Household cleaners
  • Baby
  • Feminine
  • Paper goods
  • Meat
  • Detergent
  • Drinks
  • Breakfast
  • Boxed Snacks
  • Vegetables
  • Refrigerated
  • Fast food
  • Cheese (deserved it's own category, haha!)
  • Coffee
  • Frozen
  • Toiletries
Then, based on what I've read from other blogs, I made separate envelopes (color coded in yellow) for the stores that have weekly specials:  CVS, Homeland, Target and Walgreens

Finally, I made two other envelopes (color coded in red) labeled Transaction #1 and Transaction #2.  Not exactly sure why, or how often the two transactions are necessary, but I guess you can get the best savings sometimes by using this method.  But, basically as you shop, if you put an item in your basket and you have a coupon, add the coupon for that particular item into either the Transaction #1 or Transaction #2 envelopes.  This way, when you go to checkout, your coupons are already in one place, and you can easily hand them to the cashier.  This should also help reduce dirty looks of impatient people in line behind you :)

Quick example where I actually did the two transactions thing at Target this week...  I bought three packages of diapers and the Target promotion was that if you buy 3, you get a $5 Target gift card.  I was there to purchase a gift, so once I checked out and received my $5 Target gift card, I turned around and applied it to my gift purchase.  This was just my example, but if anyone knows a better example, or the science behind this method, please share!

One final thing...  Michael wanted to get out this morning because we needed milk.  I told him, "Wait, milk is on sale this week at Walgreens for $2.69/gallon!"  Then, I said, "Let me make you a quick list and you can grab some other things while you're there."  At first, he gave me a "look", but he waited patiently while I went through my coupons, matching up with what was on sale this week at Walgreens.

Some quick items of note: 
  • Comet is on sale 2/$1 - and I had a $.25 coupon - total price was 2/$.75.  Not bad!
  • Lysol disinfectent spray is on sale for $3.49, plus you earn a $1 Register Reward (like the ECBs at CVS) at checkout.  I had a $1 off coupon, too.  So, when all is said and done, the Lysol was $1.49 if you include the RR.
  • Dawn dish soap is on sale for $.99, and I had a $.25 coupon.  Small size, but still...
  • Enfamil formula is on sale for $21.99 w/Walgreens store coupon that I found in the Sunday paper.  I also had a $5 off coupon, so formula was $16.99
  • Pop tarts (small box of 8) are on sale for $1.99.  Payne eats these every morning, so although I didn't have additional coupons, this is a little cheaper than normal.
  • Walgreens bleach is on sale for $1, or Buy One Get One free.  Normal price is $1.99.
  • I mentioned the milk on sale earlier in this post, and we got two gallons at that $2.69 price.  Hiland, too, not a generic brand!
So, when all was said and done, the receipt showed that we saved $19.87.  Pretty proud moment - and Michael said it was actually pretty "solid" to have the coupons.  That was his word :)

Happy shopping, and couponing!



  1. Ok girly. How much can I pay you to make one of these for me??? :)

  2. Find me 10 more followers and I'll make you one! Just find a plastic tub and I can make you the dividers/envelopes if you really want me to. :)

  3. I did the diaper deal this week! I was able to print off 6 $3 dollar coupons so they worked out to be $5.99 a pack, plus the 2 gift cards, and I used a $5 gift card that I got from buying detergent last time I was there. I love your box. Which size did you get specifically? I need to coupon more like I used to, but any saved money is great!

  4. Yes, diapers and formula are both items that are hard to find great deals - you have to snag them up when and where you find them! The box I found is 11" x 7.25" x 6"h. Basically, you just need one that is tall and wide enough for a letter-sized envelope. Thanks for your comments :)

  5. I assume Carrie from Coupon Closet has the 2 transaction envelopes because she'll go to 2 Homelands in 1 day. I guess there are 2 pretty close to each other in Norman. She spoke to a Bible Study I go to and she said she would go to both stores while she was out. That's just my guess. I only made 1 checkout envelope because I don't see myself doing 2 transactions....but you never know maybe one day!


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