Wednesday, May 6, 2009

My Coupon Strategy and Being Frugal - Phase 1

I'll admit to being a little more frugal in the first years of our marriage...probably about up until the time of our first child when working full time and being a first time mom became too overwhelming. Then 'time is money, and money is time' came into play according to dear husband. Throughout raising four children I've returned to clipping coupons, watching sales, and the like, but it hasn't been until just recently that I've again realized the need to watch our spending.

What's different about my couponing strategy this time around? A lot. After being exposed to other moms embracing a more frugal lifestyle, my approach has taken on that of a challenge to myself. If they can do it, so can I. This doesn't have to be about how much I don't have but of how much I can do with what I have. How much can I save this month? How creative can I get in layering my coupons with in-store savings? Can I really purchase items in advance at lower prices to create a stockpile-of-sorts to work off of while waiting for deals and coupons to surface again?

Here's how I've jumped back into couponing again. My first and immediate need was a way to contain and keep the coupons that I planned on clipping from the Sunday paper. There are different methods out there, but I wanted something right now and easily put together. My answer was to take a stack of business sized envelopes, stack them evenly by their bottoms, and staple through the layers in about three spots.

I left the envelope flaps facing up and labeled them according to the categories I thought would be most useful:

pantry items
refrigerator and freezer items
health and beauty products
household cleaning products
pharmaceutical products

Now my clipped coupons could be slipped into the open envelopes and easily found according to their categories. Of course, loose coupons in an envelope have to be shuffled through, so I subdivided some envelopes accordingly:

cereal and staples for the pantry items
refrigerator case and freezer case items
hair products, feminine care, cosmetics, guy products

I also started to stack them in order of expiration date so that I would be sure to not miss any before they expired.

Now my clipped coupons were organized and easy to transport to each of the stores I planned on shopping at.

This was my first phase of putting together my coupon arsenal. Little did I know that there were more ways to fine tune this process which I will continue in a separate post. I'm pretty sure there are other ways to organize clipped coupons and will perhaps come across a method that fit my needs a little better, but I've been completely satisfied with this to date. More uses for those business sized envelopes will surface again later I promise.

Related posts:

My Coupon Strategy and Being Frugal - Phase 2

My Coupon Strategy and Being Frugal - Phase 3

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