Coupons 101: Obtaining & Organizing

by Beth Montgomery on February 27, 2009 · 4 comments

in Coupons & Rebates

WHERE TO GET COUPONS

One of the questions I get asked most often is where do I get all my coupons? I have a few favorite sources, but honestly, I’m not picky. I’ll pick up a great coupons anywhere I find it! However, below are some places to keep your eyes peeled for great coupons:

Newspaper Inserts: This is my main source of savings and I highly recommend either subscribing to the Sunday paper or picking one of for only $1 at a local Dollar General or other type of dollar store. If you live in the Indianapolis area, you can call the Indianapolis Star and request the “Yes Shopper’s Guide” (available to select zip codes only). It will be delivered do your door FREE of charge, just like the Sunday paper, in a pink plastic bag and is filled with coupons. I do believe, however, that it’s the left over coupon inserts, so you won’t necessarily get the same coupons that are available in the paper. Often, there is a coupon in the “Yes Shopper’s Guide” to get a Sunday and Thursday Indianapolis Star subscription at a highly discounted rate.

Internet: I have a few favorite Internet sites, which are listed on under Coupon Sites. You can get coupons directly from the manufacturer at sites like Betty Crocker and Everyday Eating (Nestle). You can also get coupons from stores you like to shop at like Target. You can also grab a variety of coupons at reputable coupon sites like Coupons.com or Smart Source.

Magazines: Another favorites savings source of mine is All You Magazine, since it’s packed with over $30 in coupons every month. IN Good ‘Cents’ readers can get a highly discounted 2-year subscription by clicking the link or stop by Walmart to pick up this month’s edition for $2.49. Other magazines often have coupons inside as well, so watch, while you skim through your favorites.

Loyalty Programs: Through loyalty programs, like CVS’s Extra Care program or Kroger’s Plus program, you often not only get the advertised sale prices, but you also get valuable store coupons via mail and/or printed off with your receipt.

Mail: I always sort through my junk mail and sign up for samples. Often a useful coupon may be stuck in the middle of a pile of junk mail and samples almost always come with a great coupon. Marsh Supermarket often “hides” their coupons in junk mail envelopes and inserts.

Store: Keep your eyes open while your shopping for blinkies, tearpads, and peelies. Both are typically found in store aisles. Blinkies are small boxes with a blinking light on them that spit out one or two coupons per customer. Tearpads are little tablets or pads in the aisles where you can simply pull one or two coupons off for your stash. And peelies are coupons attached to a product that shouldn’t be used or taken off the product unless you plan to purchase the product. Some stores like CVS and Walgreens also ofter coupon booklets in the store. Watch for the CVS Beauty Book and Walgreens Easy Saver Guide for more coupons!

Manufacturer: Not only can you snag valuable coupons by visiting the manufacturer’s site, but you can also call or e-mail them. Manufacturers love compliments and often reward you with coupons and/or samples. Or you can simply ask if they have any coupons available and they’ll often mail them to you! Join manufacturer mailing lists to get savings directly to your e-mail box.

HOW TO ORGANIZE COUPONS

Once you start your adventure on extreme couponing, you realize that you quickly out grow those little coupon organizers that look like a wallet and fit easily into your purse, which you can buy inexpensively at almost any grocery store. Being frugal, of course, we don’t want to drop a lot of money to buy an expensive coupon organizer, but here are great ways to organize your coupons cheaply!

First, there is no wrong way to organize your coupons. You have to find a way that works great with your shopping style. While some opt not to clip their coupons, I’m a clipper. When I find a great sale in a store, I prefer to simply flip to a category to find a matching coupon, instead of wading through inserts to find it. But both styles work.

If you opt not to clip, get a large accordion folder and file the inserts by date. Sites like IN Good ‘Cents’ have lists available of what coupons are in which inserts so you can find coupons quickly.
If you decide to clip your coupons, you’ll need something to keep your coupons organized by category. I use a recipe box, because not only is it the perfect size, but it also has a lid, so you don’t spill them. You can buy really cute recipe boxes, but I have a cheap Rubbermaid one, which I got for around $1 at Walmart. I also used card stock to make my own category dividers, but you can buy dividers for your recipe box.

You can organize your coupons alphabetically, filing air fresheners under “A” or use categories like “Air Fresheners”. Personally, I don’t like too many coupons in a category, so I can quickly sort through them. I prefer to use categories of my own. And when a category gets too full, I split it to make more categories. For example, I recently split “Medicine & Vitamins” into two categories, because it was overflowing. I listed my categories at the bottom of this post, for those who are interested.

Another great way to organize coupons is using a photo album or 3-ring binder with clear plastic inserts. Not only is it large enough to hold your ads, scissors, and a calculator, but you can use the individual slots meant for pictures or paper to keep your coupons sorted by category. Through the clear plastic, you can see your coupons and quickly find what you are looking for.
If you prefer, you can purchase a more professional coupon organizers, such as the Couponizer, which not only organizes your coupons, but also helps you sort them quickly.

MY CATEGORIES

  • Air Fresheners
  • Baking
  • Beverages
  • Breads
  • Candy
  • Canned
  • Cereal
  • Cleaning
  • Condiments
  • Crackers & Cookies
  • Dairy
  • Deodorant & Perfumes
  • Dog
  • Feminine Care
  • First Aid
  • Freebies
  • Frozen
  • Fruits & Vegetables
  • Hair
  • Home & Automobile
  • Kids
  • Laundry & Dishes
  • Make-Up & Facial Care
  • Meals
  • Meats
  • Medicines
  • Miscellaneous
  • Paper Products
  • Personal Care
  • Plastics & Foils
  • Office Supplies
  • Oral Hygiene
  • Salads & Toppings
  • Shaving Needs
  • Snacks
  • Vitamins
  • CVS
  • Kroger
  • Marsh
  • Meijer
  • Target
  • Walgreens
  • Walmart
  • Restaurants – Fast Food
  • Restaurants – Dining

Where do you find great coupons and how do you organize them? Share!

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Stephanie February 28, 2009 at 4:35 AM

Thank you for all the great coupon tips. I do have several overflowing wallet-type. I have been looking for different ways for ages! I have also found that a thin pencil holder pouch(the kind that attaches to a 3-ring binder) works great for resteranut coupons. I can easily carry that in my purse w/o a lot of bulk.

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2 Susan February 28, 2009 at 7:16 AM

Nice coupon holder ;o) Can you make me some dividers?

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3 Holly V. ( Danville Indiana) May 1, 2009 at 12:39 PM

I just found your site and I love it, I have already learned a new way to organize my coupons, I just started couponing a month or so ago, and am slowly learning, thanks for sure a wonderful blog and a simple easy way to explain it.

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