Challenge: No Clipping

by Beth Montgomery on April 20, 2009 · 12 comments

in Announcements, Frugal Living, Tips & Basics

I am definitely trying something new this month. I’ve read about so many couponers who don’t clip coupons. They keep them arranged by insert and just cut out the ones they need. Honestly, I can’t stand clipping coupons, so I absolutely envy these couponers, but I have my doubts. However, I’m putting it to the test…
Challenge: No Clipping for 1 Month!
My oldest daughter (4 1/2 years old) picked out a rather bold coral pink 3-ring binder and with the help of clear 3-ring inserts, I’ve organized this weeks coupon inserts (plus a few older inserts I rescued from my Mother-in-Law’s home). I simply wrote the date I received the insert, along with the expiration date of the last coupon to expire within the insert, so I know when I can definitely get rid of it completely.
We’ll see how it goes….
For those of you who don’t clip, how do you find the coupons you need when you locate a great sale or clearance item in store? Do you carry a list or just search through inserts? Or do you just never impulse buy? Any other helpful tips? I could really use the tips, since this method will cut some serious time out of my couponing and I’d love to make it work for me!
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1 Business Mommy April 21, 2009 at 5:32 AM

I tried it too. Didn’t work for me. I also tried clipping, then putting all of one date in a single envelope instead of sorting. Nope. What do you do when you end up not using the coupon for whatever reason? I can’t label each coupon with the date. Then people give me coupons already clipped or whatever. Right now I have one giant bowl with my mess of coupons. So I’m back to starting from scratch with organization. Good luck to you. If you figure it out, let me know too!

2 Joanna April 21, 2009 at 5:51 AM

Good luck with this experiment, and let us know how it goes!

I clip because I like to be able to find the TYPE of thing I’m looking for, without having to check online or flip through everything. From my understanding, those who leave inserts whole use online databases to find exactly what they’re looking for – and I like to have the flexibility to find coupons without a computer.

That said, I’m still a couponing newbie, so maybe it does work better!

3 Anonymous April 21, 2009 at 6:08 AM

I’ve tried this method before and honestly it just didn’t work for me. Too many times I missed the coupon or had forgotten that I’d already used it. And I never seemed to have the ones I wanted when I can upon great deals. If you get this method down by the end of the month and it really works for you, then by all means let me know your secrets. I’d love to hear your successes and failures as the month goes by. I guess for me the physical activity of cutting and organizing all those pieces of paper puts them into my memorybank better and I can go through the ads much quicker knowing that I saw a coupon somewhere in my file. Besides what else would I do during Sunday afternoon sports on tv.
Julie W.
Fort Wayne, IN

4 Andrea April 21, 2009 at 6:58 AM

On Sunday I buy 5 papers, separate the inserts into like pages, make one cut for each coupon and then immediately add those 5 coupons to the proper category in my coupon box. I bought a show box size tote from Target for $1.99, made category pages with thick heavy printer paper, and used 1″ long colored tabs for my category names. Making the box took me a couple of hours but it was well worth it. I love my new system!

1 – Separate into like pages
2 – Make one cut – Have 5 like coupons
3 – Add coupons to category in box
4 – Repeat

I am done in less than 30 minutes and my coupons are always ready to go! I have thought about using your system, but I really like having my coupons ready to go. Yesterday was a good example: I knew I wanted to stop by Rite Aid after work but I didn’t have my coupons. I pass my house on the way to RA, so I was able to run in and grab the few coupons I needed literally in les than a minute because they were already cut and ready to go! HTH

5 Carrie G April 21, 2009 at 8:29 AM

I decided neither way works for me better. I like both of them…I buy 6 papers…I don’t cut out of 4 and I cut out of 2 the products I think are good deals usually or commonly used products…then when I read the blogs I cut out my needed coupons…and I usually have the coupons for unknown clearance!! Good luck!

6 Marcy April 21, 2009 at 10:47 AM

I think the “no clipping” method works for people who just don’t want to clip to start with or who aren’t going to be hunting those clearance deals up for whatever reason. I have used coupons for 20 years and I have for the last 6 months used the “no clip” method. Of course, you have to have a system for your clipped ones as well. We will always have computer printed coupons now and I like Carrie’s idea of a combined system. Because of all of your blogs telling me what deals match what coupons, I have saved more money. I have also tried more new products I wouldn’t have kept coupons for before because of the deals, so I’m glad I kept the inserts around! I’m still perfecting my system, too! Good luck.

7 ashleigh April 21, 2009 at 2:22 PM

I usually buy 3 papers and then have at least 3 more sets of coupons given to me by various people. I will cut out one set of coupons and then file them in my binder and put the rest of the sets in my accordian file by date. I've done this for a few months and I really like it. I always have at least 1 coupon while I'm at the store and if it turns out to be a great deal I will make a note of it and cut out the rest of that specific coupon & file it when I get home. Good luck with your challenge!!

8 EndureMyWorld April 21, 2009 at 2:53 PM

I tried the cut as needed method, but I found I was missing a lot of deals.

I now do a combo. I cut out the coupons I know I will use and file them in my binder. Any extras like peelies, catalinas or loose coupons people give me, I also file in the binder.

The rest of the inserts goes into a five slot accordian file by date. If I am going to use to the coupon it will be within those five weeks.

9 KristinBrianne April 21, 2009 at 4:08 PM

When I first started, I didnt’ clip. Not because it was the best way but because clipping is so time consuming and daunting when you have a lot of inserts. Then I started clipping and the clipping isn’t what’s so daunting to me now…it’s the filing. I absolutely hate having to file all of those coupons into the plastic inserts, but when I don’t clip I miss out on way too many deals. I guess I’ll settle for whichever one saves me the most money and consider the time spent as my “job”.

10 Hilmarose April 21, 2009 at 5:31 PM

I do this and it WORKS for ME! What I do is print out a list (usually found on a website) of the coupon inserts… I then double check to see which ones I have (regional stuff) then add any to the list that is not on it. I then insert it into the clear 3 ring sheet protector with the coupon inserts. It has worked VERY well for me since I started doing it.

11 Shelley April 22, 2009 at 8:58 AM

I tried the no-clip method. I decided that would not work for me the day I found myself sitting in the floor at Albertson’s nearly in tears because I found Softsoap for $1, and I knew that I had six 35 cent coupons, making that soap free, but I couldn’t find all those coupons in my big stack of six sets of inserts. Now I clip everything that I might posssibly ever use (basically no hair color or cat stuff) (I recently did not cut the Dove Skin Vitalizer coupons because I did not think I would EVER use that – now it’s like 25 cents at CVS!) and file by category in envelopes in a shoe box that my daughter decorated with wrapping paper. I put the envelopes in order by the aisles at Wal-Mart (where I no longer shop thanks to all the blogs teaching me about better deals at Kroger and Albertson’s). I have been getting frustrated lately by the time I was spending clipping, sorting, filing. This week I tried something new that really worked. I had everything from 10 inserts clipped and filed in about an hour. I stack all the like pages together, staple the like coupons together, lay my ruler with the little metal edge beside the coupon, and tear. Does this make sense? I hope so because it saved me SO much time, and I felt good going to bed Monday night knowing it was all done. Thanks to reading all these great blogs, I have cut my grocery/household bill in at least half. Don’t even get me started on how great CVS is. I can’t believe how much I get for so little OOP. Sorry to ramble…I just get so excited about couponing and saving money! Thank you!!

12 April 22, 2009 at 2:10 PM


I don’t know about you, but I get access to hundreds of printable coupons every day. I use to print almost all of them. Then I found out I was tossing more coupons than I used.

The debate in my mind is if you don’t print now who is to say it will be available to print later when the deal comes up? When it comes to printing it is a personal time management choice. How much time do you really have to print twice, pull them off the printer, cut, and file? Not to mention if you have problems printing, like I do most of the time.

First, let’s step back and take a look at what you are trying to accomplish. We have three general strategies in the FrugalFairhope household about grocery shopping:

1) We only buy what we need or will use.
2) We only buy what we can give away for a good cause.
3) We only buy what we can get for absolutely free (no RRs or ECBs).

By using these strategies it helps me avoid the shopper’s fever and buying too much. Just because dog food is on sale for $0.10, do I really need to stock up on dog food when we don’t have a dog? Yes, I could give it to the Humane Society, but wouldn’t my time and money be better spent by volunteering to walk a dog a couple times a month, donating used towels, sheets, or blankets, or even writing them a check for a donation? Could I also send that coupon to the military families overseas?

In fact, our animal shelters in Fairhope would prefer to have money or volunteer work in lien of food. I think they try to keep all the animals on the same diet? As you know mixing brands of food could be upsetting to a dog or cat’s stomach. I know this example is a little extreme, but think about it. We have all done it, bought something we didn’t use.

I am committed to our family using everything we buy for the stockpile or on sale. Throwing away a grocery stockpile item is not only wasteful, but that item that cost time, money, and storage room was not a successful deal. It was not a bargain, and we avoid this at all costs.

Another debate that I have is the last strategy. Do I waste my precious time printing or clipping a coupon that I may never need as a freebie?

For printed coupons, I only print items that fit in the first strategy. I take the risk and hope that the coupon will be around when I need it. If not, it was not meant to be. Such is life.

Still following the first two guidelines, I do however save most if not all the Sunday coupons. How do I organize them? I don’t clip it, I save the page and store it in my Only in Case of Free (OCF) file, or if I have to clip the coupon (already have the page cut into pieces), I place it in a small index box that I keep with my other coupons. These OCF coupons are filed by company name (for example Glade goes under “G”, Suave lotion would be filed under “S”). We wouldn’t have a use for scented products or lotions in our house but if it was a true freebie, we can sell it on eBay or give it away in a gift bag at Christmas.

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