Continued from Extreme Couponing – How To Guide (Part I)…
My system begins with the Sunday newspaper – which is the best source to routinely find coupons on name brand items.
Every week, I have five newspaper subscriptions delivered to my door (Yea that’s right, five!), but you can use this system whether you use one – or a dozen papers. (I like five because it gives me 5 of every coupon found in the paper.)
You can even use this system without a newspaper subscription at all, by just using the local weekly sale papers and searching for free coupons available online.
With five newspapers, my coupon retrieval and filing process takes about 30 minutes:
I position myself close to the trash can (or recycle bin), and scan the first newspaper page by page. I pull out the plastic wrapped coupon package inside, all sale papers I want, and clip any ‘bonus’ coupons I see that I also want. (‘Bonus’ coupons can be located on any page of the paper, so you have to go page by page with the first paper to find them, clip them, and note what page(s) they’re on.) After that, I just pull out the plastic wrapped coupon packs and clip the ‘bonus’ coupons from the remaining papers, then discard everything else.
The last step is to file all the coupon inserts and ‘bonus’ coupons – in one of five categories:
- SS (Smart Source)
- RP (Red Plum)
- PG (Proctor & Gamble)
- Bonus Coupons
- Restaurant Coupons
(Pictured below are the front pages of the coupon inserts from 9/13/15 for Smart Source and Red Plum and Proctor & Gamble’s from 9/27/15.)
Pictured below, in my bright orange filing crate (which I received for free from the Dallas Morning News for ordering 5 subscriptions), I have filed several weeks’ worth of Smart Source, Red Plum and Proctor and Gamble coupon inserts (They are filed by the date of the paper they came in.), and all my ‘bonus’ coupons have gone into either a ‘Bonus Coupon’ file or a file for restaurant coupons. (I also use the crate to store all my sale papers and even my newspapers before I open and sort through them.).
Note: The only coupons I’ve had to clip, were just the ‘bonus’ coupons I wanted (if any)!
Once you’ve set up this simple coupon filing system, the only other thing that’s essential, is to buy everything on sale and use coupons to help pay for it all. You may not believe it’s possible yet, but you will find sales on every thing you buy, and there are coupons available for nearly every product sold in the stores. The only thing standing between you doing it that way, compared to how you buy things now, is just the time it takes to make the transition.
Below is an example of how it all works:
In a recent sale paper, Albertsons had 40 oz. containers of Tide laundry detergent on sale for $4.99, with a limit of two per customer (shown below). That’s a great sale price, and in the 9/27/15 Proctor & Gamble coupon insert, there is a coupon for $2.00 off, so I’ll buy two containers and use two coupons for $2.00 of each.
The way I used to shop was that I would just run to the store whenever I was out of detergent and buy a new one. Even if I had used a coupon – which I never did – I would have bought one and saved only $2.00 off whatever the current retail price was. Now, however, since Tide is on sale at a good price, I’m going to go ahead and buy more than I need and start stocking up at that lower price, and I’m going to use my coupons now as well to help pay for it all. I’ll buy two bottles and use a $2.00 off coupon for each one, and pay just $5.98 for both bottles, where before I probably would have spent that much (or more) for one!
I hope Part II of this Extreme Couponing How To Guide has begun to shed some light on the power of this system for helping you control how much you pay for the things you purchase from the store. You won’t want to miss the final edition (Part III), where I’ll wrap up a few loose ends and share with you a link to a free website that I find invaluable in managing all of it.
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Thanks for reading!
Paula Reyne 🙂