Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Couponological Neuroscience

Well if you're looking for that sort of science, you're in the wrong place! I have it down to a simple one if you'd like to read on. I like simple, I have a hard time keeping things that way, but it usually works better in the end for me if I do.

Anyway, as I mentioned in my last post I thought I would write up some tips and info on how I go about doing mine. I'm not a genius at it, but it can really take a while to develop a system from scratch on your own if you're just starting so this may help someone along those lines. This LOOKS like a lot of work but I just work best in run on sentences ; ). No really, it might take you 45 mins to an hour the first time you do this, but as you maintain it each weekend when you pick up the newspapers you won't spend nearly as much time.

1 Zippered binder
10+ dividers with pockets
20 clear baseball card holder sheets
1 calculator
1 Pen
1 Highlighter
1 Pair of scissors (why is it called a pair anyway, I wonder?)
4 Printed grocery lists
2 Newspapers (yes two, no I swear it will not turn you into a coupon maniac or consume too much time but this is pertinent for just starting and two cheaper or free items is better than one, right?)


1. Lay all of  this out on your kitchen table.

2. Insert dividers into binder and label them into grocery aisles/types accordingly or however you want.
-Fruits / Vegetables
-Non Perishable
-Baby and/or dog, whichever or if both apply separate dividers
-etc as you deem fit for your family

3. Put two clear baseball card holder sheets in each section, you could end up with 5 or more eventually, depends on how addicted you get to the grocery game. Also put one or two more in the front of the very first divider, I will explain this one later.

4. Cut out all of the coupons that your family would use now or in the future (not only if you need it right this minute, sometimes coupons last for months) and arrange them into like categories.

5. Put the categorized coupons into the divider pockets if you don't have a lot of time right now so they are at least separated by type or go ahead and slide them into the baseball card holders in the corresponding section of the binder if you do have time.

6. Yay! All of your coupons are organized now. Half the battle won. No digging through your purse or an envelope at the store anymore! : )

7. Look through your pantry, fridge, household supplies, and toiletries and record what is running low on your printed grocery list and how many you need or want.

8. Circle all of the items in the grocery sales flyer(s) that you are interested in buying. If you live near a store that does price matching (walmart / bottom dollar etc) I suggest doing this for bulk shopping as price matching from several stores can yield significant savings. It gives you the opportunity to cherry pick the best sales and get them all from the same place.

9. Now next to each corresponding item on your grocery list write the initials of the store that you plan  to price match that items price next to it. For instance:  2 pks Toilet paper (FL) for price matching at Food Lion. These helps with having a smooth transaction at checkout because you can seamlessly flip to the flyer you need to price match each item.

10. Now brace yourself, that may not be all the savings for that one item. Say, Charmin toilet paper is on sale for $5.97 at Food Lion but it is $8.97 at Walmart, after a price match you've saved $3 bucks from what you would have spent! Awesome! But wait, now look in the paper products section in your coupon binder and pull out those $1.00 off Charmin coupons, and now you will be able to save $4 on each pack of toilet paper. And if you'd written down on your list like my example was that you were going to be buying 2 packs, then you just saved yourself $8.00 on just one type of item. This can add up quickly.

11. Now take those two Charmin coupons and put them in the first baseball card holder sheet that's in the very beginning of your binder. This is a placeholder for all of the coupons that correspond to what is on your list and that you know you will use, so that you don't forget any of them in their appropriate categories or even have to bother looking while in the store. Then your freed up to look for categorized coupons for surprise things you find on sale.

12. Next, put a star beside the item and store it is being price matched at to remind you that you have a coupon for it, this may be excessive for most lol but my preggo brain and shopping with a four year old self, needs this double reminder.

13. Go shopping, girl!

And that's it..... sorry so lonnnnnnnnng winded ; )



  1. Love this post! I use coupons now but its sporadic at best. I tend to shop the sales and once I stock up I make my menu plan from that. This system would so work for me because I love my recipe binder and household binder. Great tips!

  2. Thanks Melodie, glad they were useful. Hey you've got a good start on it though with shopping the sales and stocking up. You'll just increase your savings a little more if you throw more couponing into the mix.

    Be warned though if you happen to shop with your husband the first time I brought my binder (ENORMOUS huge binder that is) and put it in the cart, he said: Wait!! You're going to bring that into the store!!! lol

    I guess it looks a little crazy, but one time I saw a lady with a full size file box in the back of her cart and I have felt completely normal about my binder ever since : )


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