I enjoy clipping coupons. I like saving money, and I like knowing that I'm contributing in some small way to my family's finances. Yep, that's nice, but my enjoyment of cutting out coupons goes deeper than that.
Go ahead and call me crazy (believe me, I am!), but I find all that snipping, sorting, organizing, and filing to be relaxing.
One of my favorite ways to spend a Sunday afternoon is with a cup of tea, a pair of scissors, and the weekly coupon flyers. Nothing to think about or clean or do.....just cut. Ahhhh.
I didn't always have a wacky love for this money-saving pastime. With aching back and bleary eyes I would cut out every single coupon I might possibly use, and many I never would. I would file every single little square of paper. Then a couple months later, I would spend hours sifting through the very coupons I had spent so much time clipping and filing, looking for the countless outdated ones to toss into the recycle bin.
After I tracked the time I was spending on this madness, I realized my coupon system wasn't working. As a matter of fact, it was crazier than I was.
I had already tried cutting out and filing every single coupon. Next, I tried not cutting out any coupons at all, choosing instead to leave the flyers whole until there was a specific coupon I needed. That didn't work either. It was frustrating having to look up all the coupons I needed each time I made a grocery list, and it was very annoying to be at the store without a coupon for the yogurt I had forgotten I needed.
Finally, after much thinking and hair-pulling, I began using a hybrid system. It reduced the time I was spending on the weekly task and led to my extreme love of clipping.
Each week when I sit down with my scissors and cup of tea (gotta have the tea), I cut out only the coupons that meet certain criteria:
-I usually buy the item even without coupons or a sale (salad dressing, yogurt, pasta, etc.).
-I may need it without warning and without wanting to search for a coupon (children's cold medicine, batteries, etc.).
-The item regularly goes on sale for an unbeatable price (toothpaste, hair products, etc.).
-It is a rare or high-value coupon that is too good to pass up.
-There's a strong possibility I'll actually use it.
Then, I take the rest of the coupon flyer, neatly close the cover, write the date on the front (you can find the date on the "spine"), and file it. I have a big three-ring binder with clear page protectors inside. The week's coupon packs go into one protector. About once a month, I turn to the front of the binder, quickly glance through the first few weeks of coupons, and toss the packets that are outdated.
To cut down on the bulkiness of this notebook, I also throw out any extra pages I come across as I'm cutting out the coupons I want to keep. I really don't need to keep ones for cat food or an advertisement for a doll that's supposed to look like a real baby. Seriously?
Once I have my few coupons snipped, it's a cinch to file them away. I love it. Really, I do.
Do you have a coupon system that works for you? Or maybe you've been searching for something better? Tell us about it in the comments!
This post is linked to Works for Me Wednesday.