Coupons and more coupons

November 17th, 2008

With the retail season looking rather dismal, there are tons of coupons out there, flooding our email addresses, our mailboxes, and buried in our newspapers.  And of course, we want to save money, so we end up with all of these little pieces of paper in our kitchens, in our coat pockets, shoved between the seats of our cars, etc.  And of course, when you are ready to use that coupon, sometimes you find it just expired!

So how do we keep them all straight?  It’s tough because traditional “coupon organizers” costing anywhere from $5 to $20 allow spaces for dairy, bakery, fruits, vegetables, etc.  But there is no tag for “department stores” nor “home improvement” nor “salon services”.  And it is near impossible to keep all of the expiration dates straight.

If you are like me and have gotten tired of wasted, expired coupons as well as the mess of little pieces of paper everywhere, try this:

  • Get a check organizer from somewhere like Walmart (approx. cost: $4) that will fit in your purse or at least in the door of your car. 
  • Instead of organizing coupons by category, try organizing them by month.  It’s much easier to vaguely remember that you have a coupon for Macy’s as well as some pasta sauce rather than to try to keep all of the items and expiration dates straight.  At the beginning of the month, flip through your coupons and see what is going to expire so that you can use them up.
  • Only clip the coupons you really have a chance of using.  Remember, coupons are always marketing tools first.  If a brand or store can convince you to try something “new” or spend $50 to save $10, you could be spending a lot more money than you were planning to.
  • When manufacturers’ coupons do expire, consider sending them to  This is a non-profit that helps military families living overseas by getting folks to send them coupons.  Manufacturers will accept coupons on a military base up to 6 months after the expiration date. 

Copyright 2008-2009 Kristin Delfau, author of Turbo-Mom's Guide to Saving Money Without Wasting Time a womens' personal finance book, and Aji Publishing.

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Posted in Turbo-Mom's Guide to Saving Money Without Wasting Time | 1 Comment »


One Response to “Coupons and more coupons”

  1. Tracy Says:

    Hi, Kristin,

    I noticed your post about coupons for the holidays and wanted to send this along for possible story consideration on Holiday strategic shopping that conquers budgets with bulk shopping and “buddy bonding”…

    There will be a great deal of “making a list and checking it twice” to maximize budgets this Holiday season, and one strategy is in “buddy shopping” – it’s all about the “power of two” for cost-effective and strategic warehouse club shopping for the Holidays. We work with BJ’s Wholesale Club and shoppers can save while taking advantage of the benefits of bulk and multi-pack savings. In addition to their own coupons, BJ’s accepts manufacturer’s coupons – the only warehouse club that does – that allows for multiple coupons to be redeemed on multi-packs of “individual for sale” packaged items. An example would be: BJ’s sells a 2 pack of mouth wash that is normally sold and packaged as individual items in other major retail stores; you could use up to two coupons on this type of packaging in addition to many other items – and then split the cost and items in half between shopping partners – for even more savings.

    Items great for divvying up include paper goods, toiletries, produce, meats, candy, cookie and muffin variety packs, juices, soda, bottled water, soap and cleaners…just to name a few. By splitting big packages, Holiday shoppers are also spending less per item than if purchased at a local grocery store (more than 30 percent over supermarket prices).

    Besides savings on money, time and gas, shopping partners can finish off the “savings experience” with their own kitchen-side “packaging party,” to divy up the purchases and then settle back knowing they’ve checked off their lists with the best savings possible.

    Thanks for your consideration,

    Tracy Tilson

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