Monday, August 23, 2010

Organization by OCD - "Couponing"

I love using coupons to save money. A lot of grocery stores have reward programs you can use on top of coupons, and between the two, you can get most toiletries and such free. I am not very good at explaining how this works, so I am including a link to one of my favorite coupon websites. You may visit Simple Saving Savvy for more information.
My own trouble with the way some people use coupons is this: They spend a ton of extra money on stuff they don't need because they can get it "free" or because they are "saving money" with a coupon. You are only saving money if you are buying something you needed or would have bought anyway!
This doesn't mean I only buy things when I need them. I like to stock up on needful items like shampoo when I can get them free, so when I run out of my current bottle I can just go get a free one out of the cabinet and not have to pay $3-5 at Wal-Mart.
I would also like to include a note about reward programs. I only count my store "money" as actual savings if I go back and spend it on something we need or would have been on my list anyway. Otherwise I count it as wasted cash!
I'll give you an example of what I mean. This weak at CVS you can buy Shout and Scrubbing Bubbles for $2.50 each. If you spend $10 on these items, you get $3 back in "Extra Care Bucks (ECB)" to spend at CVS anytime in the next three weeks. You can spend these on any items that are taxable. So here's what I spent:
Shout: $2.50 (X2)
Scrubbing Bubbles: $2.50 (X2)
= $10
I had a coupon for $2.00 off two Shout products, and a coupon for $1.00 off two Scrubbing Bubbles products, which brought my total to $7.00 for four cleaning products.
I consider this a good deal. This is worth it to me even if I don't spend the ECB's, because I need these products and that is a lot cheaper than I could get them at Wal-Mart. Now, if I go back to CVS and spend those three ECBs on items I need, I will mentally take that off this purchase price, with means I got four cleaning items for $1.00 each. Yay! But I don't take the ECBs off the price unless I spend them on something already on my list.
If you are careful and use discression though, coupons are an excellent way to save tons of money and get lots of free stuff, from shampoo and razors to new food products. Have fun and save money at the same time!
Anyway - on to the organization part of the post!
Here is my coupon binder. I like to have it set up with dividers by type of item rather than store aisle, since I don't always shop at the same place each week. Baseball card holders are the perfect size for most coupons, so you can see each one. I also have some regular sheet protectors in the back for rebate information and such. One other thing I have included is a list of "stock up" prices - the highest price I will pay for an item when I am stocking up on it. If I see a sale below this price, I go ahead and buy a couple, since I know I won't find them that cheap very often.

I have a lot of projects started right now that I want to finish up before I start anything new, but I would love to make a binder cover for my coupon book sometime soon. Rosalie has a link to a great looking one on her Tutorial Phone Book blog. Thanks for posting this!

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