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Coupons- avoiding the leak

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  • Coupons- avoiding the leak

    This is not a big deal, but with the economy where it is right now, my family is receiving increasing numbers of discount offers and coupons. Many get pitched, but the others tend to end up in my IN basket, not necessarily put there by me, if you know what I mean. Tracking this stuff is very low priority, but it seems stupid to turn down a discount from merchants we actually do business with. But the coupons have expiration dates. I've tried keeping a single folder in the car, but that was not robust. Anyone with a good process for this?

  • #2
    Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
    Anyone with a good process for this?
    Not here. I did a short trial. I calculated how much time I spent tracking and managing coupons (putting expiration dates into my calendar and so on) vs how much I make if I am doing ditch digging (our lowest paid job in the valley) and calculated that I spent way more time dealing with coupons than I ever could save. After that I changed my system. I only save coupons that are for stores and items we actually use that are mailed to me and get processed directly into my purse when I clean out my paper inbox and handle incoming mail. When we go shopping, I pull out the handful of coupons I have in my purse and see if anything is on the list that we need that I have a coupon for. If we use them great but I don't spend any time worrying about it. I pull old expired ones to trash once a month or so, whenever the pile in my purse gets beyond 1/4 inch thick. My purse has a section in the front that is divided from the rest of it so I put them in there.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
      Anyone with a good process for this?
      The only tip beyond what Oogiem has suggested is that when my wife and I go shopping, once she selects an item she has a coupon for, I take the coupon and put it in my wallet - on top of my debit card. This insures that we actually *remember* to give the coupon to the cashier

      - Don

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      • #4
        I too keep only the coupons for items I am actually likely to buy. I put them immediately into a cheap photo album from the dollar store with several pages of clear windows, two windows per page. Food items start from the front, non-food items start from the back. (I have yet to accumulate so many coupons that they meet in the middle.)

        When I plan my weekly shopping with the aid of the sale flyers in my mailbox and the newspaper, I survey the coupons to see how they match up with the sales. During this survey I discard any expired coupons or pull any that will expire soon, and add them to my shopping list. I either clip the coupons to my shopping list or take the whole album with me when I shop.

        You can buy a fancy coupon organizer -- a big box with elaborate file dividers that you haul into the store and perch on the basket of the shopping cart, leaving room for nothing else. It costs about $20. That breaks me up.

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        • #5
          Yep - only keep coupons for items that you actually buy. Buying something at 50% off that you didn't need in the first place is NOT a good deal unless you have a side-business going on ebay (and then the difference has to be worth your time!).

          I would keep a very simple spreadsheet with vendors, expiration dates, and a short description of the deal. If you have a shopping trip coming up you can sort by expiration dates coming up or the store you are going to.

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