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How do you handle coupons, etc?

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  • How do you handle coupons, etc?

    For instance, I have a coupon which gives me 20% off my next drycleaning order. I don't know when I'll next take drycleaning in, but when I do, I want to use the coupon.

    Thanks.

  • #2
    handling coupons, and irregular contexts

    Yes, I have the same question about coupons, and the same principle in a more general way....

    How to handle things which are not in a usual (every daily or weekly) context. For example, I have been carrying a $5 coupon for the movie theatre in my wallet for a little while, and to remind me, I kept a reminder on my "@anywere" list (things I can do when stuck in traffic, riding a bus, etc.). Sure enough, last time we went out to the movie, in the usual rush of getting the whole family ready, to the theatre on time, and finding a movie that would be suitable for all, there was nothing in my face to remind me to use the coupon - sure, it was in my wallet with the cash, but like the reminder on my @anywhere list, I had seen it so many times that I had grown numb to it.

    I've thought of a couple of possible solutions, but none of them feel very satisfactory.

    In the case of the movie coupon, for example, I could review it during every weekly review, and put it in my tickler file for the date I plan to next see a movie, however this is one of the more spontaneous type of activities, and I'm not likely to plan a specific movie night in advance.

    If I "review" this item too often, as I had done, there is a great risk of growing numb to perceiving it when it is actually needed.

    I can put a reminder in my tickler so that I see it periodically, but again, I risk either tickling it past the time I may need it, or tickling to see it too often, and again, becoming numb to it.

    I could put a generic reminder inside my wallet which says something like "Do you have a coupon for what you are about to pay for?", but again, I know I would become numb to this prompt.

    Another example is a specific "agenda" for someone that I interact with on an infrequent basis. For example, if I have a borrowed object from someone who I will see again socially, but again, on a more spontaneous basis. Even if I keep a note of this in their address book entry, I don't necessarily think of checking it, especially if my spending time with them is on the more spontaneous side.....

    I have specific "Agenda" lists for my business partner, and receptionist, which I review at least once a day, but what is the effecient way to deal with the types of examples above?

    I'm open to any new ideas!

    thanks,
    Jeff

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    • #3
      I'm dying to read some good ideas on this topic, too! Jeff summed up my experience perfectly.

      Jay

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      • #4
        Re: How do you handle coupons, etc?

        Originally posted by Puzzled
        For instance, I have a coupon which gives me 20% off my next drycleaning order. I don't know when I'll next take drycleaning in, but when I do, I want to use the coupon.

        Thanks.
        That one is fairly easy. Keep your drycleaning in one place, and place the coupon next to it with a clothespin. (VISUAL reminder that you only see when you are actually going to be doing something with the drycleaning)

        Comment


        • #5
          Movies - I have a 'movies to see' memo on my palm that just lists titles of movies/DVD's we want to see. If you are in the habit of looking at the movie list memo then you could put a note at the top of the list like this:

          ***Coupon $5.00 Expires 12/31/04

          I typically put coupons on my errands list so I can match them with trips to the store. Right now I have a couple of free kids meal coupons for Subway that my kids earned at school so I keep them on my errands list because we will most likely use them when we are out running errands. I also have a coupon for a book store that expires this week. It is also on my errands list and I matched it up with another errand for the same store where I have to make a return.

          Some coupons I put in my someday/maybe list. For example, I have a free pass for our local children's museum. That will be a scheduled event sometime in the future so I put it on the S/M list until that decision is made.

          I don't have a solution to everything. I currently have an Amazon.com gift certificate that expires in 9 months and nothing in mind to use it for. I keep it in my S/M list with the date on it, but I'm not confident that is the best place for it. If I put it on my @internet list then it just gets skipped over all the time and eventually annoys me because I can't check it off.

          Surely there's a logical way to organize these little boogers!

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          • #6
            Safe Coupon Management

            The challenge of "Safe Coupon Management" is to hide them from your sight all the time except for the moments when they may become the tool to lower your spending. In principle coupons are the tool to increase your spending. So they should be put in the place where they are easily accessible when necessary but not visible in other cases.
            TesTeq

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            • #7
              I put regular cents-off coupons in an organizer that I keep in the car and bring with me to the grocery store. I keep things like the movie discount coupon, restaurant coupons, gift certificates, store credits and the like in a designated section in my wallet. I "review" them when I clean out my wallet each week. I enter expiration dates for I'd-kick-myself-if-I-forgot-to-use-it coupons and offers in the appointment section of my computer organizer, with reminder ticklers. Online discounts and specials, which usually involve codes, are logged there as well, and I often tack related materials to a certain place on the bulletin board in my home office.

              I have a number of coupons and offers that are expiring tomorrow. A couple I'll use; most will be tossed. I don't find that having reminders increases the likelihood that I'll make unnecessary purchases. I'm less pressured to make an impulse purchase just to get the discount if I've known about it for awhile and given myself the time to consider whether I really want or need that particular buy of a lifetime.

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              • #8
                I usually enter it in my Errands list. That way, when I'm planning on going somewhere, I'll see the reference to it and get it out before I go.

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                • #9
                  I simply have a folder called _Coupons

                  and whenver I'm going to buy something I will check that folder.

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                  • #10
                    Re: handling coupons, and irregular contexts

                    Originally posted by Jeff K
                    Sure enough, last time we went out to the movie, in the usual rush of getting the whole family ready, to the theatre on time, and finding a movie that would be suitable for all, there was nothing in my face to remind me to use the coupon - sure, it was in my wallet with the cash, but like the reminder on my @anywhere list, I had seen it so many times that I had grown numb to it.
                    This post brings to mind that there is still one part of the Put It In Front of The Door Principle that I still feel is missing in my own implementation. I will use alarms to remind me of meetings and other things need to be done at a certain time of the day. In this instance, if I think of the coupon before a few hours before the movie, I may set an alarm for 20 minutes before the movie starts to remind me of the coupon just before I'm about to pay for tickets.

                    I think a great complement to this would be some sort of Longitude/Latitute/GPS type of alarm system. I could enter the coordinates for the parking lot of the theater and when I drove into the parking lot, I would get the reminder on my Palm that I had a coupon. This would leave nothing on my mind until I actually needed it. The same thing for restaurant and store coupons as well.

                    There have been times when I needed to stop by the post office to mail something on my way to work. Sometimes I will set an alarm to go off just a few minutes before I expect to reach the post office. Once again, a Longitude/Latitude/GPS type of alarm would be much better for this.

                    I still haven't purchased GPS unit. Is anyone else using a GPS unit as part of their GTD implementation? I don't think that I would want to carry an extra device just for this, but it would be interesting to see if anyone is doing anything like this.

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                    • #11
                      I put these in my tickler file at home so that they all pop up at one time on Saturday. That way, I can look through them in terms of which ones I think I would use during the week. Mine are things like $3 off oil change or free movie rental.

                      My wife handles all of the grocery store coupons and sorts them by type of item in a pouch. Before we go to the grocery store (or when we are in the car running errands), she will take the procery list and match look through the pouch to see which items have coupons (or to see which GOOD coupons are about to expire and may trigger a purchase).

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                      • #12
                        Coupons

                        I'm with Cosmo - throw them out. Life's too short to be pawing around through my pocketbook for a 50 c coupon on a product, that if I was smart, I wouldn't even be buying anyway. My time is valuable to me. The cash I saved using coupons did not come anywhere near compensating me for the time I used fooling around with them.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Coupons

                          some coupons are really good though.

                          remember a dollar saved is like $1.25 earned (or more depending on your tax bracket!)

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                          • #14
                            Re: Coupons

                            Originally posted by Diane
                            I'm with Cosmo - throw them out. Life's too short to be pawing around through my pocketbook for a 50 c coupon on a product, that if I was smart, I wouldn't even be buying anyway. My time is valuable to me. The cash I saved using coupons did not come anywhere near compensating me for the time I used fooling around with them.
                            I used to never use coupons either, and I till totally agree with you about $.50 for something that I wouldn't normally buy anyway. However with GTD it is so easy to incorporate coupons into my system that I probably save $50 to $100 a year with practically no effort at all. I use the same system to remind me to use gift cards that I might otherwise forget also.

                            Yes, coupons are marketing gimicks but you can make them work for you if you use them right. There is a reason that coupon fraud is a billion dollar a year industry.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by CosmoGTD
                              But lets face it, these coupons are marketing gimmicks to get you to buy their stuff, and not save money.
                              At least for me that is 100% true. I'm a shopaholic and coupons just encorage the addictive behavior. And the funny this is...the stuff that I really need on a regular basis...I never find coupons for that stuff. Like soy milk, or my favorite shampoo.

                              One thing that does work for me:
                              In Outlook Notes I have a note "clothing or accessories to buy" whether it be a realization that this winter I'm in need of a new coat or I'd like to have a new pair of knee-high boots. So I make a list of all the things that come to mind. I get various department store coupons via email and in snail mail. I always print them out or save them in a folder at home. When they come in, I check my list on Outlook and my budget for that month and go shopping. So far it's worked great. I get what I need at 15%-30% off sometimes more and once in awhile I get something I want and not have to pay full price.

                              I like spending my energy on saving $50 rather than $.50.

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