This is a source of contention that I personally have with many of the ultra-extreme couponers that I’ve personally seen on TV and so my advice here will be COMPLETELY on personal preference more so than anything else. Everyone will have their own strategy so mine is by no means “the gospel” but what it does do is explain my position and my reasoning.
That disclaimer made…
I have watched videos where people demonstrate how to spend time cutting each coupon and every coupon (which, if you’re buying a dozen papers can be rather tedious in and of itself), collecting them together into groups, labeling the groups, and organizing them in monstrous binders in baseball card style protective sheets. Now being a former baseball card collector, I know those protector sheets are not cheap, and so unless you’re getting pages with incredible sale pricing, it seems a bit crazy to clip every single coupon and organize them all. First off, of all the coupons in the newspaper advertisements, I use on average about 20-25% of them, meaning that by following that model I’d be looking to store and lug around roughly 75-80% trash. (Not to mention the time and energy spent cutting all of them out!)
Then, when you get to the majority of the coupon sites online, this among them, you begin to realize that coupons are organized for you by advertisement and date, so where you previously went through the binders finding the one you were looking for, or even looking for the pages you were looking for, then pulling them out (careful – don’t accidentally tear them) and then clipping them, and delicately trying to slide them back in…I don’t know about you, but I don’t have the time or patience for that. Remember, time is money and because of time constraints my goals is to find the quickest way possible to get through the advertisements, and to also access them when preparing for a shopping trip.
I prefer to take the ads as they come in, skim through them briefly to see if anything jumps out at me (that I didn’t already take note of in the advanced preview pages available online) and then write the date in bold, dark marker on the front, storing them (in their entirety) in a manila folder labeled for their specific type:
- Red Plum
- Smart Source
I also keep folders for:
- Restaurants – these I do clip out and store in my truck so that I always have my restaurants with me – when it comes to eating out…you have to be ready at a moments notice if the family changes it’s mind on what they feel like for dinner.
Now again…opinions will vary on this one, and there are a great many people that proudly lug their 40lb binders around with great pride – God Bless Them that they have the time to deal with that chaos. I spend roughly an hour a night flipping through the sites to see what’s new and b/c they provide me the paper and the date of the coupon, I can grab the right folder, the right booklet, and in seconds find what I’m looking for…but again…that’s just me.
Next….BOGO, RedPlum, Blinkie…