I Need A Simpler Couponing Strategy

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Old 03-02-2014, 07:58 AM
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Help Sign I Need A Simpler Couponing Strategy

Hey Ladies,

I'm in need of some advice, been in the coupon game for years but over the last couple I've lost track due to the time I was putting in.

So I'm trying to draft a plan to limit my time and get back in the game. Where I got stuck was in the clipping and organizing, although I do prefer a binder. It just feels good to have a big fat binder all nice and neat with everything already clipped and easy to find. I didn't have time to clip and organize and soon I had papers piling up and I just cancelled my subscriptions.

To get back into it, here's what I'm thinking:
  1. Instead of getting full inserts, I'll look through the week's coupons and place orders to clipping services for what I will use.
  2. I'll sit down each week to plan my deals.

I'm curious if anyone has a similar strategy and how far ahead of time you plan your deals?

The ad scans come out pretty far ahead, so I think I could look them over and place any additional orders I need for specific products early.
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  #2  
Old 03-02-2014, 09:36 AM

RE: I Need A Simpler Couponing Strategy

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I will order if I find a good deal in advance, but my best advice for you is to have envelopes for stores and place the Q's you need in them immediately. I have found I have to have a plan and stick to it to reduce time. Many times Ads are out 3 weeks in advance, I will put things in those envelopes dated for specific weeks, saves a ton of time when that week comes around.

I still use a binder, but I no longer cut everything, sure if I am prepping for trips and have to pull a page I will cut the whole page and file, but the inserts stay in a file box in date order. About once a month I go through and get rid of outdated inserts. Plus all IP's get cut and filed. Unless of course they are in one of the folders.

I am also finding that with the Q's being so short dated it is a must to clean out my binder once a week.

Probably the #1 question I get is about how much time is involved, I tell them, YES absolutely it is time consuming anything worth doing is worth putting the effort into. However, and I am sure you know this as you have been doing this for a while. It does get easier and it is really about what works best for you. It used to be an everyday thing, and took me 3 hrs. to plan a trip. Staying organized helps me, I can now prep for a trip to 3 separate stores in about 1/2 an hr. Sometimes even less than that. For me 1/2 hr prepping and we will say an hour and half at those 3 stores saving about 80% between the 3, UMMM yep totally worth my time.

Another positive for me is Having my binder and file box in my vehicle with me, if I head out to pick my DD up from work, I can grab what I need in right then and run into a store. Again takes only seconds and many an impromptu trip has turned into UBER savings!

Good Luck and welcome back to the Game


Edit: one more thing for me It makes sense to get papers Mine are only $.50 and there is no way I could order all those Q's for that amount. But I do date and file them as soon as they come into my house.

Last edited by barracuda; 03-02-2014 at 09:40 AM.
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Old 03-02-2014, 10:20 AM

RE: I Need A Simpler Couponing Strategy

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I have refined my couponing to only the items I regularly use ... I no longer chase every freebie or new product that comes out ... unless I am really going to use it. I no longer have to keep a binder, only the dresser top in an extra bedroom. When company comes, I slip the q's in a binder or in an empty top drawer. I print q's and get a free insert in the mail. If I really want multiples of something, I can buy q's. No more buying papers. The only research I have to do is to look ahead on several sites, for the items I use/want that are on sale. Then I use the q databases to print what I need. I also have signed up with all the websites of products I want ... so they give me some great q's. When the kids need a bunch of stuff, I can expand this system, then shrink it down when I want to coupon less, and have time to do other stuff.
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Old 03-02-2014, 11:06 AM

RE: I Need A Simpler Couponing Strategy

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In the past year, I've really cut back on how often I shop, so I've almost completely changed how I coupon. I used to shop several times a week. Had a couple big binders stuffed with Qs that I refilled it when I got new inserts each week. I shopped for all the freebie/cheapies I could and had a great stockpile of things for us and things to share/donate regularly. Enter new baby and the stopping of double coupons.

Now I print most of the Qs I use and order good MQs or ones I know I'll use in an upcoming deal. I can get 6 prints from computers and, if I can figure out how to get my wireless to work, should be able to get 4 more from phones soon. That is usually plenty for the amount of time I have to shop now. I just get the coupons from 1 newspaper each week. If I need to order Qs and it makes more sense to get the full insert instead of individual Qs, I'll do that. I don't spend nearly as much time organizing as I did before, though sometimes I don't cut coupons immediately and they stack up. Printing can be expensive, but I've kept my costs down by trading for a used laser printer that I've refilled 7 times now and I buy paper when it's on sale. When I was using an inkjet, it got to be very expensive. So if you go that route, be sure to consider the printing costs.

I don't do a binder any more, just use 2 baby wipes boxes and a rubbermaid box. One wipes box is for unsorted/held cut coupons. The other is organized by store with the coupons that need to go into the store with me. The uncut coupons are kept in the rubbermaid box.

I shop maybe once a week now, but it's usually a several-hour trip to several stores. My shelves are still well-stocked and the freezers are full. We still do donations as before, but have cut back on sharing so much with family because there isn't such a need now as there was before.

The thing I really have to factor into my couponing is the cost of gas. I've prepped for some great deals over the past year and then did the math with the price of the gas to get them figured in. Often decided to stay home instead. I figured it in before, too, but I was usually getting much more or going to more stores, so it wasn't as significant. Sometimes I have to ask my DH to tell me we don't need whatever it is that will be free and that it will cost more to go get it than it's worth. You know how it is when you know you can get x bottles of free shampoo, cheap soap, and nearly free candy. Luckily the deals usually roll back around.
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Old 03-02-2014, 11:08 AM

RE: I Need A Simpler Couponing Strategy

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I have been seriously couponing for 6-7 yrs now. My paper man used to give me 60-70 extra papers every week. Too many. Now my parents live with us and we get 2 papers on Sunday, delivered. I also have a friend and a neighbor give me extras. I do cut every coupon. As I am cutting, I set aside coupons I won't use for sending to the troops (somebody we know takes them to her church and they send them out). I have a file box set up to organize them when I first cut them. Then I take them from that box and file them in my binder. I really stay on top of the coupons or it's not worth doing it. We just had super doubles last week and it was easy to pull my coupons because I keep up with the organizing. I have a small accordion binder that slides in my purse. It has a pocket for each store I go to. I keep my ECB and coupons for each store. I can just grab it and go in to that store. I know some people just file the inserts but I prefer to spend the time to cut and organize the cut coupons and then they are ready to use.
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  #6  
Old 03-02-2014, 11:34 AM

RE: I Need A Simpler Couponing Strategy

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This is just about my old strategy...but I got behind on clipping & filing and just said forget it.

There are only two of us and I have food allergies so getting a paper each week (I used tho get two) isn't worth it anymore.

I'm gonna try sourcing only what I need from the FSOT forum, clippers, and printables I think and see how it goes. Of course I'll need to factor in the costs of printing and the coupons tho see if it really works...ha, but if it gets me tho use coupons again at all I think out might be worth it!

The envelope system mentioned ours brilliant for planning out in advance!

Quote:
Originally Posted by qrazy View Post
I have been seriously couponing for 6-7 yrs now. My paper man used to give me 60-70 extra papers every week. Too many. Now my parents live with us and we get 2 papers on Sunday, delivered. I also have a friend and a neighbor give me extras. I do cut every coupon. As I am cutting, I set aside coupons I won't use for sending to the troops (somebody we know takes them to her church and they send them out). I have a file box set up to organize them when I first cut them. Then I take them from that box and file them in my binder. I really stay on top of the coupons or it's not worth doing it. We just had super doubles last week and it was easy to pull my coupons because I keep up with the organizing. I have a small accordion binder that slides in my purse. It has a pocket for each store I go to. I keep my ECB and coupons for each store. I can just grab it and go in to that store. I know some people just file the inserts but I prefer to spend the time to cut and organize the cut coupons and then they are ready to use.
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Old 03-02-2014, 12:43 PM

RE: I Need A Simpler Couponing Strategy

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I changed over from a binder system to a rubbermaid-type container. I do cut & file them all, but I have an envelope for each letter of the alphabet, and one for each store. I bought some colored envelopes on clearance, and I got some sticker tabs and colored index cards for the letters & store titles. It takes a lot less time to put them into/remove old ones from the envelopes than it did sliding them in & out of binder pockets. Also, I try to single out the q's I need for each store before I go. If I'm not going to get a raincheck if the store is out of stock, I have to remember to put them back, though.
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Old 03-02-2014, 05:53 PM

RE: I Need A Simpler Couponing Strategy

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I love IPs and DigiQs. Seriously, if you have stores fine with taking multiple IPs and DigiQs, then you can find many MQs... company websites, Facebook, coupons.com, smartsource, redplum, p&g everyday, readyseteat, boxtopsforeducation, bettycrocker, pillsbury, cellfire, savingstar, etc. But, it still takes time to load DigiQs and print IPs.

But, you'll still want to buy the papers with the P&G insert if you use a lot of P&G items.
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Old 04-16-2014, 10:42 PM

RE: I Need A Simpler Couponing Strategy

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I've never used a binder -- I coupon for just me and my boyfriend, and we're fairly picky about what we buy (a lot of coupons are for things we don't use), so we get two papers each weekend and we clip only when we need it for a specific sale. I keep my inserts in a magazine holder (fits about four months of inserts) and I keep blinkies and tearpads in envelopes for categories I use (yogurt, cereal, etc). Then I just pull and clip what I need for a deal a few days before I go to the store. It works pretty well for me and doesn't take too much time!
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Old 04-17-2014, 05:14 AM

RE: I Need A Simpler Couponing Strategy

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since a lot of coupons from inserts have short(er) expiration dates, (with some we only have a week to use them), I take note of exp dates and if most of Qs in inserts expire in 3 weeks, I don't buy complete inserts but stick to cut/clipped MQs.

I keep an eye on Qs for items that I stockpile like butter, evap milk, canned veggies, etc. If they have longer than a month exp date, I wait for the time when the demand for them has waned since I can buy them cheap. I keep those Qs until a loss leader sale comes and that's when I use them. So far, so good. When looking for coupon clippers, my first choice is one from same state since delivery is next day. When there's none, I choose those with the lowest prices, I don't buy complete inserts for more than .40 each with shipping included. Flat rate shipping with DC is now very expensive so I will only pay 20 to 25 cents, max, for each inserts (+ shipping) with all great coupons I want. I am glad there's healthy competition among sellers to keep prices low.

like tratra, gas price is a huge factor for me even if we live in an area surrounded by stores; I don't chase deals like I used to. I am a cherry picker shopper so what I do is gather all ads from our papers and bring it to the store nearest me for ad match. Aside from ad matching loss leader sales, they double my Qs up to .60 as long as I show the ad. I've S/P lots of canned goods using ad match stacked with double Qs. I get better deals than if I ad match at WM because of Q doubles. I am glad shoppers don't abuse their policy so we can continue to enjoy the savings.
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Old 04-30-2014, 03:26 PM

RE: I Need A Simpler Couponing Strategy

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tratra View Post
In the past year, I've really cut back on how often I shop, so I've almost completely changed how I coupon. I used to shop several times a week. Had a couple big binders stuffed with Qs that I refilled it when I got new inserts each week. I shopped for all the freebie/cheapies I could and had a great stockpile of things for us and things to share/donate regularly. Enter new baby and the stopping of double coupons.

Now I print most of the Qs I use and order good MQs or ones I know I'll use in an upcoming deal. I can get 6 prints from computers and, if I can figure out how to get my wireless to work, should be able to get 4 more from phones soon. That is usually plenty for the amount of time I have to shop now. I just get the coupons from 1 newspaper each week. If I need to order Qs and it makes more sense to get the full insert instead of individual Qs, I'll do that. I don't spend nearly as much time organizing as I did before, though sometimes I don't cut coupons immediately and they stack up. Printing can be expensive, but I've kept my costs down by trading for a used laser printer that I've refilled 7 times now and I buy paper when it's on sale. When I was using an inkjet, it got to be very expensive. So if you go that route, be sure to consider the printing costs.

I don't do a binder any more, just use 2 baby wipes boxes and a rubbermaid box. One wipes box is for unsorted/held cut coupons. The other is organized by store with the coupons that need to go into the store with me. The uncut coupons are kept in the rubbermaid box.

I shop maybe once a week now, but it's usually a several-hour trip to several stores. My shelves are still well-stocked and the freezers are full. We still do donations as before, but have cut back on sharing so much with family because there isn't such a need now as there was before.

The thing I really have to factor into my couponing is the cost of gas. I've prepped for some great deals over the past year and then did the math with the price of the gas to get them figured in. Often decided to stay home instead. I figured it in before, too, but I was usually getting much more or going to more stores, so it wasn't as significant. Sometimes I have to ask my DH to tell me we don't need whatever it is that will be free and that it will cost more to go get it than it's worth. You know how it is when you know you can get x bottles of free shampoo, cheap soap, and nearly free candy. Luckily the deals usually roll back around.
Thanks for this. These are strategies I am trying to utilize.


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