How to keep track of coupons?
October 11, 2006 8:03 PM   Subscribe

What's a good way to keep track of coupons?

I recently moved out of my parents' house as I got married, and my wife and I are having boatloads of fun (*eyeroll*) clipping coupons and checking all the ads for sales. The only thing that could make this money-saving euphoria any better? Some way to keep track of the coupons! Initially, I thought something on the computer would be nice (especially if it took advantage of my Macbook's built-in iSight, a la Delicious Library). But really, even a hard-copy organization system would be awesome. The main criteria I'm looking to keep track of are category (i.e., food, toiletries, etc.) and expiration date.

[Btw, this is the first question I've ever asked on AskMeFi, so I want some answers! ;-D ]
posted by dondiego87 to Work & Money (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I always kept mine in the little wallet-style file folders they sell for just such purposes (mine was divided by category, not alphabet). And when I sat down to clip, I'd always sort through the wallet first and toss anything expired.

I don't use coupons so much anymore since I do most of my grocery shopping at Trader Joe's, plus I find that most coupons are for processed and packaged foods that my family doesn't use. But they can be useful for cleaning products and other household products, so I do still occasionally clip them and just keep them in my regular wallet, with my money.
posted by padraigin at 8:10 PM on October 11, 2006

I use The Coupon Wallet. It's smaller than it looks, kind of like a billfold. You separate your coupons by category and then within the categories, I just chose to put them in order of expiration. It also comes with a magnetic pad of paper for shopping lists, pre-printed with major items and categories.
posted by GaelFC at 8:14 PM on October 11, 2006

Search the Fatwallet Forum for coupon threads. There's good info in there. How are you doing with it, by the way? I never find coupons for anything I would buy.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 9:45 PM on October 11, 2006

Index card box:

Available at any office supply store for a couple bucks.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:59 PM on October 11, 2006

A friend at work is doing The Grocery Game, which I guess tracks sales at stores in your neighborhood and matches them with coupons that have been available in your local paper. I haven't tried it yet so can't vouch for it personally.

I use a coupon wallet, with items separated by category but also by how they're grouped in the store (i.e. deli/produce/bread or meat/dairy). I work the weekly store circulars, although I am loyal to one store so I don't drive out of my way to save a couple of bucks. We don't have a pantry, but I've cleared part of the guest-room closet to make room for extra items, and I stock up when things are especially cheap.

Our store doubles coupons up to $.99 every day, but a few times a year they run a triple coupon week, and it ROCKS, especially if you can get a few weeks' notice from a friendly bagger - you can save all your $.75s for it.

It really can become a (fun?) personal challenge to see how much you can save. If you're willing to become really boring.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 3:21 AM on October 12, 2006

I have two envelopes for them. One is marked 'Food' and the other is marked 'Not Food'. I dig through what I need, stuff them in a third envelope and scratch my shopping list on the outside and then go shopping.

I usually get between 5.00 and 15.00 off when I grocery shop or go to Target.
posted by pieoverdone at 3:34 AM on October 12, 2006

I use an envelope (the smaller kind, not business size) and separate the categories with index cards, with the category name written on the top of the card. I switch out the envelope every few months when it gets wrinkly. I don't want to use something more sturdy, because I like that the envelope is small enough to fit in my pocket. With a rubber band around it to prevent the coupons from falling out if I hold it the wrong way.

The categories I use are a combination of type of food and location in store. For example, the "dairy" category also includes orange juice, because it's the same aisle and I don't have enough OJ coupons to rate it's own category. Other categories include baking, cereal, frozen, meat, ice cream, cleaning products, paper products, personal items, packaged... I think I'm missing a few.

Coupons tend to expire on the 15th and 30th so I just flip through twice a month to look for expired. I also double check the date before using them in the store, just in case I missed one.

Keeping track on your computer is way too complicated, unless you take your computer to the grocery store. You should just cut coupons for everything you think you *might* ever buy. At the store, for each item you want to buy, see if you have coupons, and then compare the price for the brand you have coupons for, brands that are on sale, and the generic brand, and see which option comes out cheaper.
posted by clarissajoy at 8:11 PM on October 12, 2006

Um, well. Hi, my name is Lynsey and I'm a coupon clipper. ("Hi, Lynsey!") I have categories of "cat food," "people food," "frozen food" and non-food, which I just yesterday divided into "girl things" (make-up, lotion, etc) and everything else "non-food." I keep them in snack-size zip-lock baggies (see-through, so I can tell which is which) in my purse and remove the outdated ones every year or so.
posted by Lynsey at 10:24 PM on October 12, 2006

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