I thought I'd do a series of Works For Me Wednesday posts about my routine when it comes to couponing, shopping, and saving money on groceries and household items! I thought some of you might be interested in how I do things, and maybe you can find something in the mix that will work for you too! Also feel free to make suggestions if you see a way I can make my routine better!
I'll start the series with how I gather coupons. Although I print online coupons whenever I find them throughout the week, Sunday is generally my coupon day. On Sundays, I gather all the coupons I've printed that week along with the coupon inserts from the newspapers, and I have a clipping bonanza. I cut out the printed ones, and I go through the inserts and cut out the ones I know I'll probably want to use.
Then I pull out my handy-dandy coupon organizer (a gift from my mom - THANKS!). Before filing away my new coupons, I go through each section and pull out the ones that have expired. I also pay attention to see if there are any good ones that are going to expire that week that I want to make sure to use before they do. (Note: You will NOT save money if you feel like you have to use every coupon before it expires! Only do this for ones that are really good deals or for things that you know you will eventually buy anyway!) Then I file all my new coupons into the organizer by category.
After doing that, I label the inserts with that Sunday's date, and I file them into my insert keeper - a seven-pocket binder in which I file them in order by date. (Older inserts just get lumped together in the back, and I just toss them in the recycle bin as their coupons expire.) I do this because sometimes things go on sale that I wouldn't have bought otherwise, but the sale plus the coupon makes them really cheap or free. So I never throw away a coupon before it has expired, even if it's something I don't think I'd ever want!
Note: Sometimes things are really great deals, but they're not anything I would ever use or they're things we already have a large stockpile of. If this is the case, I consider if it might be something that could be donated. If it is, I'll go ahead and get it anyway, and put it in a box that I keep in the pantry just for that purpose. I have a large collection of various toothpastes, shampoos, soaps, medicines, etc. that I was able to get at great deals, and the next time I hear of somebody collecting toiletries for the needy, I'll be able to give SO much more than if I wanted to just go out and buy a bunch right then. We also have several shelters in town that would always accept donations of items like these. This is a great thing to do with food items too!
I carry the small coupon organizer in my purse at all times just in case I spot a deal I hadn't planned on, but at home I have ALL the coupons filed away so I can clip the coupon for a sale I'm planning ahead for!
Next week: Menu Planning!