Deb has a communications degree and applies her talents to her position as Marketing Specialist at Sharon Parq Associates. In her spare time she spends time with her children and grandchildren and devotes time to her church.
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I like to look for coupons in the Sunday paper. With great hope and anticipation I begin to cut and clip out all those money-saving coupons. If I set them aside, waiting for another day to organize them, it doesn't take long for the coupons to begin to accumulate. Next thing I know I have a huge mess; they seem to be all over the place. I now have coupons that are lost and expired and it is much harder to make use of them effectively.
I like to use coupons because that is the easiest way for me to stretch my food dollar. Using the coupons and making sense out of them takes a little bit of organizing. Organizing coupons can go from simple to complex. I find that using a simple organizing file works best for me because if the coupon organizer is too complicated I stop using the coupons.
When I first started to use coupons I came across a coupon organizer. It is a very basic organizer and is usually best for beginners. This type of organizer usually can be found at any discount store like Kmart, Target, or ShopKo and costs anywhere from $1 to about $5. The organizer usually comes with labels printed with names of categories and even some blank labels to print whatever category that is not included on the pre-printed labels.
I labeled my organizer with category headings like cleaning, meats, beauty, household items, canned meat, dairy, produce, and baby. I found that I needed to use labels that made sense to me and as time passed I adjusted the categories to account for those I no longer used. That is when it is time to reorganize the coupon organizer.
After getting my organizer and labeling the categories I begin to clip the coupons. Then I gather all of the coupons and file them into their appropriate category. If I find that I have several for the same product I will file the coupons that will expire first in front of the other ones that have a later date.
One of the goals that I have set for myself is to use coupons to help stretch my food bill and to keep the costs down. I do this by cutting and clipping coupons only for products that I normally use. This provides me with three benefits. One is that if I only cut and clip the coupons for products that I use or have had a great desire to try then I am not tempted to buy a higher-priced product. The second benefit is that this helps me to keep my coupon organizer clean and easy to use. The third benefit is that I avoid becoming overwhelmed with too many coupons.
Before I head out to the grocery store I look at the weekly shopping ads and see what is on sale and if I have a coupon for it. I then begin to make my grocery list. If I have a coupon for an item that is on sale I will put a little 'c' on my grocery list. That way I know that I need to get the coupon out when I am shopping and I won't forget to give the coupon to the grocery clerk.