There are whole blogs dedicated to couponing, there is no way I can tell you all about the couponing process in one post, however I can tell you about the system that works for me. I tried writing a couponing blog years ago, but could not keep up, and it ended up being more of a venting blog than a couponing blog! But, I am still couponing to this day, as I find the savings worth all the time it takes to clip and organize coupons (about 1-2 hours a week). Here’s the scoop:
To get started, realize that not all couponers are the same. Some are very casual about it and some are very, very serious about it. I started out very serious, but with three kids now I just do not have the time to devote to finding and going after every deal out there. You have to find a happy medium, or else it will be stressful, and who needs that? I get a Sunday paper and pull out the coupon inserts. I flip through looking for coupons of products that I am likely to buy, and only clip food coupons that I am pretty sure I’ll buy. I also only print coupons that I need or that I know I will use right away. For example, I make our breads and yogurt, so I do not clip Pillsbury dough or Yoplait yogurt coupons. However if I see a coupon on Coupons.com for 50 cents off eggs, I print two, before they are gone!
I organize the coupons into 5 categories and then file them into my coupon binder: cold foods, dry foods, cleaners, health/beauty, other household (baggies, baby stuff, batteries, etc.). My coupon binder has baseball card inserts filled with different colored paper slips for each category (blue for cold foods, green for dry foods,e tc.) instead of using dividers, and that also serve to make each pocket two-sided. I then stick all the leftover pages into a large pocket page protector in the back, one for each month. In the case that a particular deal pops up at CVS or Walgreens for something I normally do not buy, but could stockpile for free for a future need, such as a cough syrup, I can go back and grab the needed insert to clip that coupon. This way of sort-of-casual couponing works for me, still saves me tons of money and some time that I used to spend clipping and filing every coupon I found.
I try to coupon weekly, but sometimes so not make it to the drugstores, the grocery store and the natural foods store to get all the deals. I do have standards, in that I will not pay more than $1 for toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion, feminine products, razors, shave cream, etc., and usually find many of these items for free.