Sunday, June 7, 2009

Convenient Coupon Clipping

Can you imagine trying to clip all of those darn coupons one at a time!? That would take you YEARS! (Ok, I may be exaggerating a little, but seriously, it would take forever) So, help yourself out and save yourself some time by making it a MUCH easier process! This way of clipping coupons is great whether you file your inserts whole or clip every Sunday.

I sort out one insert by page on the floor/table and then with each following insert from the same week I lay each copy of each page together, so that I have a stack of 6 copies of the first page, a stack of 6 copies of the second page, etc. If there is a two page spread, I stack them neatly and carefully rip them in half (all at once) so that I have two single pages (be careful when doing this though and double check that a coupon doesn't straddle both pages. This was the case just last week and I almost didn't realize it in time and almost ripped a coupon in half!)

So, then it looks like the above picture. Each page you see is actually my 6 newspapers worth of pages stacked together. Now the cutting. You can imagine that when cutting through a stack of 4-6 sheets, the pages are bound to shift on you! You do NOT want to accidentally ruin a coupon and make it unusable. The two parts of the coupon that MUST remain intact are the expiration date and the barcode. A lot of the blogs will tell you to staple the top or top and bottom of the page in order to keep them from shifting. For me, I decided to take it one step further. After I gather my stack and line them up together, I actually just go through and put a staple in the middle of each coupon I want to clip (usually over the photo or text, so as not to get near the barcode or exp. date)
I just do it quickly, but without shifting the papers (hang on tight!) It takes a couple of seconds. *Staple* *Staple* *Staple* *Staple* done. I do the coupons on the front and back of the sheet. Now, when I go to cut, they don't shift at all! It also keeps my coupons in neat little stacks and makes it a million times easier to slide them into the slots if they're all stuck together. When I'm planning my trip or am at the store and need a coupon. I just take one, or however many, off the back, leaving the staple in the stack so it's easy to file it again when I'm done. It just makes things so much easier if you ask me. Then, of course, I cut all of my coupons out carefully and, if possible, leave a little bit of space around the coupon to allow for any misalignment or shifting. Sometimes, this isn't possible, though, as the coupons are side-by-side, so just use extra care and caution when cutting these. Sometimes when coupon inserts are printed they are not all printed in exactly the same alignment, so double check and you may need to shift one of the pages up, down, or over a tiny bit to line up with the rest.

By the way, I DO NOT clip every coupon. I only clip those of products that I know I would buy, including items that I would get if they were FREE or super cheap. So even though I might not spend my own money on multivitamins, you never know when RiteAid or Walgreens will have an SCR or RR deal that makes them free. I would get them in that case. But all of the pet, I do not cut because I do not have a pet. (However, if there are coupons for FREE items, I will pass those along to those with pets or purchase them myself and donate them.) Also, if there are coupons that I know my friends or family will use, I will clip those for them as well.

After they are all clipped, before I move on to the next insert, I write the insert and date right on the top coupon of the stack (i.e. SS 6/7). I do this mainly for reference purposes for my blog. I always know where the coupon came from. You probably do not need to do this unless you want to.

Now I have a bunch of coupon "packets" that are stapled nicely together and these go into a big pile. The other thing that is nice about having each individual set of coupons stapled together is that I, personally, do not always get a chance to file the coupons right after I cut them. Sometimes I don't get to file them until later that day or even the next day. If they weren't stapled together I would spend a LOT of time resorting them before I file!

From here I sort the coupons into their categories on the floor/table without putting them away. So, I put all of my "dairy" coupons in a pile, all of my "breakfast" coupons in another pile, and so on. Then, I file one category at a time.

One thing I find that makes things go more quickly is to do each step one at a time through all of the inserts so that you are not shifting between each process. So, I lay all of my pages out. I staple each page stack. I cut all coupons. I label all coupons. I sort all coupons. I file all coupons. I don't lay out each insert page and staple them and write on them and then file each coupon as I clip it. This is WAY too time consuming as you're constantly flipping back and forth between pages and your brain is having to switch back and forth too! Just do each step completely before moving to the next.

When filing away your coupons in their homes in your binder, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. You will wind up getting the exact same coupon for some items on different weeks.

For example, the Rhodes Warm-n-Serve $1/1 coupons were in the SS 6/14, SS 7/19, and SS 8/16. None of them have expired, but I want to make sure I use the oldest first so that I don't waste any by letting them expire. So make sure when you file them away you put the oldest stapled stack in the front and the newest in the back so that you remember to use them in that order.

Another note, if you have multiple coupons for the same item, but in differing dollar amounts, make sure to give each coupon it's own slot. You will always want to know exactly which coupons you have and when they expire without having to pull them out and flip through.

Hope this helps make the job a little easier!


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