Thursday, October 2, 2008

Saving Money with Coupons - Part 2

I email about 35 super ladies on a regular basis. These ladies are my “coupon hunters”. They are endeavoring to increase their purchasing power by saving money with coupons, freebies, coupon codes, and online deals. We work together to save money. They share ideas with me and I with them. To keep them and you coming back for more I am introducing “The Hunt”. Each blog post, if I’m lucky, will include a special link to a freebie, coupon, or hot deal that I found that day. Of course you will be able to see the link highlighted in the text. You can click the link and be surprised if you are in a hurry or you can take time to read the post and see what the special offer might be. There will be days that you will have to read/skim the post to find what I have buried if you wish to capitalize on my special find because I will not always have a link. Now that we have concluded the old business let’s get down to the new business. Let the hunt begin!

Today we are going to talk about Organizing your coupons into categories or sections. After you have determined how you will carry your coupons next you need to organize them so that you can find them more quickly. A good thing to do is to split your coupons into two main groups: food and non-food. Then of course you will create many sections within these two categories. I am including my list just to give you an example and to help get you started.

Non-Food categories:
Soap - can include body wash, hand soap
Teeth/mouth care - includes toothbrushes, toothpaste, whitening products for teeth, mouthwash, dental floss, etc.
Shampoo/styling/hair care - includes shampoo, conditioner, hair styler, hair color
Deodorant/razors - includes deodorant, razors, shaving gel
Lotion - obviously includes lotion
Feminine products - includes sanitary women products
Medicine - includes kids medicines, adult medicine, vitamins, medical wraps, band aids, etc.
Laundry - includes laundry detergent, Clorox, fabric softener
Dishwashing - includes dishwashing liquid, dishwashing detergent (for dish washer)
Cleaners - includes cleaners for bathroom, kitchen, I also put swiffer items here, etc.
Tissue- includes tissue paper, paper towels
Air Freshener - includes air fresheners and disinfectants
Cat/Dog - includes cat or dog food or extras for your animal
Paper and plastics - paper cups, paper plates, Ziploc bags and other items
Make- up - includes make up items
Misc - anything that won’t go in the above areas but is not food, such as movies, diabetic machines, toys, light bulbs, clothing, hair brushes. Might want to include you Extra Care Bucks (those rewards you get from CVS) in this section or make a section just for them
Hidden deal:

Food categories:
Cereal - cereal
Breakfast items - any breakfast item that is not cereal
Baking goods - sugar, baking mixes, oil, etc.
Canned/Jarred items - any item that is in a can or a jar, soups, tuna, canned meat, etc.
Boxed items - any item that is in a box, such as rice, macaroni, pasta, etc.
Snacks - includes items like fruit snacks, chips, cookies, gum, candy, crackers, pudding, etc. Hidden hunt information - Purchase a pack of mini raisins. Go to the link listed and print out the form. Mail in the form, receipt for the raisins, and proof of purchase to get a free Blue’s Clues book! If you have a coupon for the raisins it would be in the snack area.
Condiments - this is mustard, ketchup, mayo, sauces, dressing, etc.
Drinks - juice, coffee, anything that you drink, I include coffee creamer here.
Yogurt/Cheese - yogurt, cheese and butter (just because they are generally together in the store)
Biscuits/unmade cookies/sour cream - again just because they are generally in the same area
Lunch meat - lunch meat, wieners, sausage, bacon, etc.
Frozen meals- this includes all the stuff in the big freezers, examples pizza rolls, pizza, strudels, hot pockets, etc.
Ice cream - ice cream
Frozen meat - chicken, pork, any kind of frozen meat
Restaurant coupons - you will always get coupons for restaurants like Red Lobster, Chuckie Cheese or Olive Garden. If you feel more comfortable you can put these in the section with misc.

Make these categories bigger or smaller. Expand or contract. Just remember the less categories you have the more you will have to flip pages/index cards to find the coupon you are looking for. Above all make a list that works well for you. You may add a baby section. You may want to add a section for coupons you plan to use on a particular shopping trip. You may want to make an area for coupons that are getting ready to expire. Whatever you decide to do keep in mind that it will take awhile to get used to even after you get it fixed the way you want it. But you eventually will remember exactly where to look for something every time you open your book.

Tomorrow we will discuss places to obtain those much desired coupons. So come back tomorrow and join the Common Cents Hunt!

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