Saturday, September 27, 2008

Aw, Shucks... It's Really, Really Not Hard

(Hmm, that sounds like I'm having a viagra-related problem. Have you ever noticed that the viagra commercials are going to be for this generation what the life alert commercials were for us? And that they're BOTH about old people not being able to get up?! although in different ways, I suppose.)

ANYWAY, thank you, thank you very much.... as I was starting to say before I was so rudely interrupted by my own perverse mind...the couponing thing is really, really easy. Seriously. I don't work *that* hard at it. All I do is get two Sunday papers - my local one and the Washington Post - because even though they're both technically 'area' papers here, the coupons are different for some reason (except special coupon sections, like P&G brand inserts, which are the same everywhere, I assume). I actually like that, though, because sometimes having identical coupons is a good thing, like if your coupon is $1 off of one box of detergent, and then the store has it on sale as well, you get basically double off. This is my favorite thing. Since I've been cutting for awhile, too, I'm getting to the point where I basically have coupons for most things I need, all the time, and I don't know if it's accidentally or on purpose, but our local store tends to have things on sale that are also having coupons in the paper. I read somewhere that almost all sales are season-based, so that would kind of make sense.

Some people will say to only cut coupons for what you know you will use, but frankly I cut everything unless I know I *won't* use it. I mean, if I have a coupon, and it's on sale, I'm willing to give anything a try at least once. Plus, there are a lot of times where I like several brands, like dog treats, shampoo, lotions, etc., so I'm bound to have a coupon for *something* in those areas whenever I go because I just cut them all out, and then I wait until I get to the store to see which one is on sale and get that one, so I can double-dip on savings. Add to this having my coupons doubled by the store, and it's really a triple-savings!

An important fact about coupons is that online coupons are generally better than the ones that come in the paper. is my favorite site, and their coupons are reliably at least $.10 better than the other kind. I just select the ones I want to print, and out they come. The store doesn't bat an eye when I use them, either.

One trick at our store is that they only give gas points for certain dollar amounts spent, like I have to spend $50 to get $.20 off per gallon, $100 to get $.40, etc. Unfortunatly, that promotion is going to end soon, so the gas rewards will be half of what they are now. There's another store in town that lets you accumulate gas points for every dollar you spend, but that means you can only get up to $.10 per $100 spent. That system works better if you are a 'drib-drab' shopper, but since I do big loads every other week with one or maybe two smaller trips midway through for milk and produce, having to spend the larger amount works for me. If I find that I'm close to the $50 mark, like above $40, I'll throw in something else, like another box of cereal or pack of tp or whatever, to make up the difference. These days, though, it's not exactly hard to get to the $50 mark, so it's not usually a problem.

Today, I did a big thing for myself. Until now, I've been using a regular coupon holder, one of those accordian things with 12 pockets. However, I've been reading on some other people's blogs, like commonsensewithmoney and moneysavingmom (I highly recommend that you subscribe to their blogs, as they post several times a day with freebies from many-varied companies that are great, like free food, makeup, etc), that people are doing all kinds of interesting things to contain their coupons. I knew I didn't really want to carry around a recipe box, and the accordian holder really wasn't cutting it because I need somewhere to put store coupons, like Target, where they can be in a place by themselves rather than integrated with regular coupons where I forget about them when I go to the certain store, so today I bought a pretty 3-ring binder, three packs of photo-holder inserts that have two 4x6 pockets on each page, and a package of colorful self-adhering plastic labels. It came out like this:

Now, I can have as many pockets as I want, replace ones that get worn out, AND see what and where they are right away! I'm a total dork, but I'm thrilled with this! I made all the usual pockets, but used the extra space to make individual pockets for yogurt coupons (there are always at least two every week, so they pile up), and I split out cleaning supplies into household and detergents, as well as toiletries into hair products, face products, lotions, and medications. Also, there will be no more trying to squeeze random things into other things' pockets; where to put toilet paper? Was that a cleaning product or a toiletry? Where to put instant veggies, and boxed meals? Were they veggies, meats, or frozen foods? I never could decide, and thus put them in a different pocket every time I cut them out, which was a mess. Problem solved! Frozen foods are in one place, meal 'helpers', such as Wanchai Ferry mixes, in another, and paper products are in a place all their own! HA!

I am hoping that this organization will cut down somewhat on the amount of time I spend at the store. At the moment, it takes me a solid two hours to shop. However, I could cut that time down by getting out the flier, organizing before I go, etc, but usually I don't like to do that. I just paw through what I've got, pull out what I *know* I'll need (I put them in a clip, and tucked them into the front of my accordian, but now I'll just put them in the binder's front pocket) and head off. A good amount of time has been spent in the past pawing through the accordian for coupons for something I've found at the store that I forgot I wanted, or didn't originally want but is now on sale and will keep so I should use the coupon, too but where is it?! That problem should be gone, at least.

So, I will look like a dork at the store with my pretty binder, but I don't care. Not to mention, now that I have a larger binder, I don't have to worry about it getting buried under things or falling through the the leg holes. Besides, when the store manager, who has to come over whenever you shop because you need so many overrides for coupons, tells you that you've done a great job, it's worth it! Crazy? I think not! Bwa haa haa haaaaaa!


Kristi said...

That is so cool, and you're binder is so pretty! I think I'm totally putting coupon cutting on my list of things to try. You make it look and sound so fun!

Marie Green said...

Ok! Fine! I'm going to get a sunday paper tomorrow and clip coupons! You have inspired me to at least TRY. =)

Melissa said...

"we're not worthy! we're not worthy!"
God bless your money saving ways ..and to make it cute too. :D

d e v a n said...

Wow. I'm still in awe.

Sherry said...

wow! Martha Stewart, eat your heart out.

Kristin.... said...

Ahh, see, I only cut coupons for the products I always use. Mostly because I don't want to waste my money on something we're unsure of. We don't get the newspaper (because it would be left 1300 feet from our house in rain/snow/etc) so I wait for my parents to give me their used coupons. Sad but true.

creative kerfuffle said...

ahhh, i bet you got that sweet binder at tarjay didn't you? : ) it looks like tarjay. i too am still in awe. we don't get a newspaper so maybe i'll have to try that coupson site and start clipping and printing.

Anonymous said...

I echo the "wow"s!!! & I think your binder rocks.