My coupon box, and all those things that bring me joy

If you’ll recall, I returned home from the homeschool convention a couple of weeks ago, not with curriculum, nay, but with the pretty pink box which now serves as my new coupon organization system.

I also told you that I’ve long considered myself the coupon queen, with “no expiration” coupons dating back to the early 80’s.  I’ve since learned that all those years?  Wasted.

Now I’m couponing with a purpose.  And for the sake of full disclosure, whenever I type the word “couponing”, my computer auto-corrects making the word “coupling”.  Which makes me laugh every time.

Because I’m 6.

Anyhoo.  In my couponing past, I’ve simply cut wanted coupons out of the Sunday paper and filed them in a small plastic index file box, under the requisite categories.  Categories typed on paper dividers that have been in that box for a good 25 years or so.

With this new system of couponing, I no longer cut coupons as soon as I receive a paper, but file them by week in the pretty pink coupon box.  Which, by the way, I saw at Office Depot for $9.99, in other pretty colors as well.  All you would need to do is add your own hanging files with weekly dated file folders.  And viola, you have your own pretty coupon file box.

There are a myriad of wonderful websites that will list all the different sales, and will tell you what coupons to use and from what week to pull them from.  I’ve compiled a list from you all and from my girlfriends, and I’ll post them at the end.

For example, I can go to a website that lists what’s on sale at Publix for the week.  They will tell you if the deal is buy-one-get-one, etc.  You can use TWO manufacturers coupons for bogo offers, plus you can “stack” another coupon if it’s a store coupon (either from Publix or Target).

I want to be super clear about one thing.  I do not watch, nor will I ever watch the show Extreme Couponing.  To me, it reeks of hoarding.  What I’m talking about, and what these websites that I frequent talk about is buying what you need.  Not clearing the shelves off so that no one else can take advantage of the offer.

And then, when you have what you need, you are in a position to give to others in need.  I love that concept.

So.  I’ve been using this new couponing with a purpose method of savings for the last couple of weeks, and I’ve been very very proud of my grocery bills.  I’m still on a learning curve, but I think I’ll be able to whittle our budget down a good deal.

What I wanted to brag about was the coupon box that I just came up with.  Besides the pretty pink file coupon box, you also need something that you can carry with you to the store.

I found this box at Office Depot:

 

(It measure approximately 7 1/2 ” x 4 1/2 “)

I shelled out about $2.99, after using a 20% off coupon.  It clips shut, and will hold not only all of my dividers, but a small stapler, calculator, staple remover, and a coffee maker.  Okay, rather, change for a senior coffee at McDonald’s.  Even though I now only clip coupons the week of the sale, I still need a place to stash those, plus any print-out coupons, and “blinkie” aisle coupons that I find at the store.

Then I made my own dividers.  I could not find any coupon dividers, and looked online but could not find what I wanted.  So I took some card stock and cut it to fit the box.  I used a label maker to print customized labels (such as Beauty Products, Cereal, Coffee/Tea, etc.  And because I’m one to take things too far, I laminated them.  They should see me into the next century, I think.

I also created a divider for Publix, Walgreens, and CVS for in-store coupons, Register Rewards (from Walgreens), and Extra Care Bucks (from CVS).

My shopping list does take a little planning, but I’m getting a little faster the more I do it.

Here is a list of a few websites that do a tremendous job of alerting me to sales and specials:

True Couponing
Wild for Wags
Coupon Mom
I Heart Publix
Coupon Divas
Money Saving Mom
For The Mommas
My Sweet Savings
Grocery Server

If you know of any others, please share them in the comments section.

Happy Coupling Couponing!

Post Script: I have to apologize for something.  I am completely convicted of sounding all judgmental about the show Extreme Couponing, especially since I have NEVER EVEN SEEN IT.  Shame on me.  Please accept my apology!

Post Post Script: Y’all, my sister in law, Cathy, just sent me this website for beginning couponing!  It looks awesome:

Hot Coupon World

20 Responses to My coupon box, and all those things that bring me joy

  • I’ve watched a few episodes of Extreme Couponing – it’s fascinating to me. Perhaps some of them may verge on “hoarders” but for each of those there are others who are just moms feeding big and small (quantity – not size) families on next to nothing. Next to nothing but with tons of work to achieve it, that is. I haven’t couponed in years, but after watching these episodes I was inspired to at least think about it again (at least for household stuff – I shop at Trader Joes for food so no coupons for me there).

    The episode I watched featured Florida’s coupon queen Missy Eby- http://feedinggodspeople.com/ That girl has a ministry with couponing. She’s only been doing this since January 2010! Wish there was someone like that up here in the mitten!

    Do you have a source for the folks who sold you the box at the convention?

    • Judy,

      I have to tell you that I just issued an apology on my post for sounding so judgmental regarding the show Extreme Couponing. That was rotten of me, especially since I’ve never even seen it. I am so sorry. 🙂

      I do have a source for the large box, but I think that they were only selling it at the convention. (TrueCouponing.com) You can totally do your own by getting a hanging file box at Office Depot, filling it with hanging file folders, and then just labeling the date for each week for your coupons. I bought the one at the convention because it came stocked with 4 weeks worth of coupons already (at 4 copies each). I knew it would give me a head start and not be tempted to procrastinate! Good luck!

  • I actually don’t coupon anymore. It’s not because I don’t want to; rather, because in the last few years I found it a complete waste of time.

    For example, I’d pay x amount of money for the paper and pull out less than x amount of coupon value for our family.

    I have Colgate toothpaste coupons out the wazoo, but hardly anything else.

    Here’s a concept: Why don’t manufacturers / retailers just drop the price; forget the coupons, and save trees?

    (Should be noted that I shop at a military commissary, and in our current area, it is by far cheaper than regular grocery stores.)

    • I shop at the commissary as well. I do use coupons for items I’d normally buy, but personally I feel the other kinds of couponing are too much work. I like being able to go to one grocery store and get what I need. Not that I don’t ever go to the WalMart Supercenter (esp. on Monday, when the commissary is closed)…

  • Glad to see you are loving it! It can be a lot of fun to catch the amazing deals. I love your smaller pink box too. I no longer coupon, but I’m trying to find an excuse to make my own for… well, I have no idea what, but I’m sure I could think of something! ha ha

  • Glad you are trying to feed your family on less. Good for you! Up where I live you can’t double any coupons and you can’t stack them so I don’t do a lot of coupon shopping.I will look at some of the websites you mentioned but we don’t have a Trader’s Joe’s or a Publix or even a Super WalMart by me. So I’m limited by the fact that I live in the country and far from a lot of stuff. The plus side is I live in the country and far from a lot of stuff!! I don’t need more stuff!

  • Actually I do watch extreme couponing and while I see a few people who are either hoarding or not using coupons correctly waht I HAVE seen that makes me happy is that quite a few of these extreme couponers are not only doing it for their family but they are taking all their extra stock and donating it to worthy causes like the local food bank, shipping it overseas to our service members (one guy did an entire couponing grocery trip just for that…over 2k worth of groceries in supplies) and a lot of them will get pet food and donate it to animal shelters. So there is good people out there using it not just for themselves. 🙂 They have literally turned it into a ministry while still providing for their family. Now I will step off my pedestal and say that I don’t coupon because there is rarely coupons for fresh food that I buy, but I am inspired to start using it for paper products and toothpaste etc. 🙂

  • I watched Extreme Couponing for the first time last night and I’m still stressed out about it. I don’t understand the concept of buying 540 yogurts just because you can get them for free. It’s just lost on me.

  • Wow. I’d love to do couponing like you are, but wow…my head is spinning from just reading this post. I know it should be simple, but right now all I can think is…
    *Ok, so I need a box…no 2 boxes
    *and hanging file things
    *in what order do I need to file the coupons?
    *why do I need to get online and look at those sites??
    *I don’t understand!
    *my head hurts now
    *this sounds like too much work
    This is my normal thought process when I encounter anything overwhelming that my brain cannot comprehend (like basic math)
    I think I may need “Couponing for Dummies”

    • Lisa,

      I’m with you. I think that there needs to be a book called “Couponing for Dummies”. And I really think that I should write it. 🙂 Kind of like the blind leading the blind…

      As far as the hanging file goes, the one that holds all of your coupon inserts, file them with the most recent up front. As far as going online to look at the sites, you would go there simply to see the weeks sales at your favorite stores, and the site will tell you what week to pull your coupon from. It’s really not too much work once you get the system set up. Pinky swear. E-mail me if you’re stuck and I can walk you through it. 🙂

  • My 9 year old son LOVES extreme couponing, and tries to guilt me into doing it myself every time we watch. He doesn’t understand that I have to, you know feed and clothe him and his brother, and work, and sleep. I don’t have 30-40 hours that these people put into couponing each week. They have no grocery bill, but what about paying for 30 papers each week, and what about buying whole basements full of shelving to display their stock piles?? and the stockpiles taking over their whole house. 93 packages of croutons?? why? just why? 🙂

    I have done the CVS and Walgreens thing from time to time, but I always burn out on spending hours a week on it. Also- iheartcvs and iheartwalgreens are good resources!! 🙂

    • LOL~that is what I thought! Who needs 90 bags of croutons? That, I believe, is DeeDee’s point with the ‘hoarders’ – they clear the shelves so nobody else can get the deal and I think because they can. That particular family was not taking 80 of those bags to the local food bank.

      I do like watching that show though – even though I know I’d never come near to what they are able to achieve mainly because no way would I buy 30 papers so I could get their coupon inserts and no way am I going to be hanging to the outside of a dumpster with my toes while I dive for coupons either! DeeDee – if you ever start dumpster diving for coupons let me know – I’ll be standing beside the dumpster with wipes and our senior coffee when you come back out. Rock on!

  • http://www.southernsavers.com is a site I use weekly. There’s a tab “Learn to Coupon” that teaches you how to coupon. Highly recommend!

  • I didn’t even know there was a TV show about couponing. I know one “extreme” couponer (IRL) and when she starts explaining to me how to buy a lot of unneeded/unwanted/excessive items in order to “make” money I start cringing. I barely have the time and space to buy necessary items, ya know?

    But my hairdresser told me she started couponing in a less extreme way and was saving quite a bit, She said she clips then sorts her coupons in a binder with baseball card holder inserts. But I like the sound of your “no clip til you need it” method better.

    Thank you for sharing this; keep us posted – I am being inspired to get started!

    P.S. Why do you need a stapler?

    P.P.S. Coupling *snicker*

    • Lisa,

      I use a mini stapler to corral coupons if I’m buying a multiple of something, and have a multiple of coupons. Then I quickly remove the staple before handing the cashier the coupons. Also, I started stapling rainchecks to their intended coupon for later use. And for CVS purchases, I clip the ad (they are usually very small) and staple to the raincheck to help me remember what the heck it was. It sounds time consuming, but it’s quick if you do it on the spot. 🙂

  • You’re correct on the whole hoarding on extreme coupon. 1 lady cleaned out the whole store of 1 item. There is no way they can use all that stuff before it expires so I don’t get it.

  • I only coupon on an extremely small scale, but I wouldn’t have even done that if someone hadn’t introduced me to it. With that said, I enjoy the talk here and am learning as I go. Please continue to share as you see fit.

    You have the sweetest heart, Dee-Dee; you really do!