The Lazy Girl's Guide to Coupons

I save a lot of money using coupons, but I'm incredibly disorganized. I'm sure you've seen all the great pictures, vlogs, and step-by-step layouts of all the organized couponers out there. But now it's time to take a look at how a lazy girl manages coupons......

First things first: Where do my coupons come from? 80% come from the Sunday paper, 10% come in the mail, and 10% come from printing them at Coupons.com.


When the Sunday paper comes, I take out the ads, coupon booklets, and my coupon boxes.
I scan the grocery , Target, and the drugstore ads first. I circle anything of interest. This takes all of maybe 4 minutes.

Then I open the coupon booklets and start weeding through them. Since I no longer actively play the drugstore game, I throw out (recycle) any coupons I would never need. I throw out any 50c and under (Yes I do!) and I separate them into my boxes.

I have one box for toiletries. One box for food. And one plastic bin for expired coupons. I have one store that takes expired coupons.....try not to be jealous. ;)

I usually toss about half of the coupons that come each week.

You will notice that my coupons are NOT cut out. Not even my printable ones. I only cut them out when I actually use them, saving tons of time. Sometimes this means some junk coupons hitch a ride into the box with the ONE I wanted to save, but they get dumped when the good one gets used.

At this point I have invested maybe 8 or 9 minutes on a Sunday morning in coupons. I then go back to the grocery ads and grab one of my children's homework papers and use the back for my list.

I write down the store's name and the items that are at a price I want to buy and how many of each item. I also write down which coupons I think I have for those items.

Then I look for the matching coupons, cut them out and put them in this:
This is a zippered vinyl bag I received a makeup sample in. It rules for keeping coupons.

When I'm ready to go shopping for the week, I throw my list and my coupon packet into my reusable bags. Then I put a credit card in my pocket and I head out the door. {In case you are wondering....I've never carried a purse...I just can't...lol}.

I only look at my coupons and ads on Sunday. It takes me 15 minutes on a low shopping week to maybe 40 minutes on a week with extreme deals.

About once a month, I go through and take out expireds. That takes maybe 1/2 an hour. I print coupons online as they pop up but don't actively hunt them down. And I let them sit in my printing queue until a Sunday morning when I decide I need them. Then they all print out at once. So I spend limited time on those.

As you look at these photos, keep in mind that these are my REAL coupons. This is exactly how I manage my couponing and I'm still able to save quite a bit of money.

You do not need fancy binders and cool organizing systems. Yes, they are beautiful. Yes, you may save even MORE money if you are organized. But for me, it's not worth the time or expense.

My boxes came from the tops of paper boxes and an old craft box. I organize my list before I go and have no other distracting coupons with me. I go in with my list and buy what's on it. I hand over my coupons without losing any and if I miss a deal, so what. I have enough. And deals always come back around.

So if you happen to be wildly disorganized or just don't want to take a lot of time on coupons, know that it can be done. And you can still save tons of money.

Click on this link to see my weekly shopping savings. Scroll down a bit to see different weeks.

17 comments:

The World As I See It said...

This is a really great way to do the whole coupon thing. My Grandma is over organized and I could never do it like she does! Thanks for the tip!

Just Playin' said...

Refeshing! I've tried all those "systems" and can't make them work for me...not organized here. Your way might work. Thanks. Visiting from, SITS on SAturday.

Real Life In A Minute

Beth said...

Angela, what a great post for people who are not naturally organized. Many people spend so much time trying to be what they are not that they lose the joy of thriving at who they were meant to be. If this system works for you and doesn't drive you crazy then it is the perfect fit. And I'm sure you can understand that your system would drive an organization lover batty! To each his own.

Sara said...

Hey! I like YOUR way a WHOLE lot better than all the "organized" ways. lol

Mary said...

Love it! What a realistic approach......I have tried a few of the overly organized methods and never follow through.

Happy Saturday SITS Day

Jen said...

Thanks for sharing your system--I love it. Life always happens to me and then I get way behind in organizing my q's. I have a pretty good system that works for me, but I'm thinking about yours. You must come very familiar with the q's that are in your boxes. Does it take you a long time to find the q in the box? I love the no cut until you use. Hmmmm--you made me think. A great post!

Jessica-MomForHim said...

So good to see this post! I was feeling embarrassed about my lack of coupon organization--and to be honest, you are more organized than I am! But I'll be teaching a couponing class in about a week, and don't have a fancy method to show them. I tried the coupon binder but it was too time-consuming for me. I also don't cut all my coupons until I actually use them. It's nice to know I'm not alone, that lazy couponing has a place and can still save you TONS of money, as we both do! :-)

Angela said...

Thank you for embracing my disorganization. :) LOL
I'm very familiar with what's in the box because I only keep coupons for things I would really want to buy, make sense? So finding the coupons I need is pretty simple.

If I have a REALLY good coupon, I will cut it out and keep it at the front of the box so it can't get lost. I do that with "free" items and high value coupons for things I buy a lot. :)

Split Rock Ranch said...

Happy SITS on Saturday! Thank you for visiting my blog today. As for coupons, I used to clip and use them but now I don't even bother with the Sunday paper - I just shop for what I need and try to buy the things we use when they are on sale. Since it is a 50 mile trip to the grocery store we tend to stock up when the price is right on items we use.

Misha said...

Thank you for following my blog :) I gotta say you seem pretty organized in your coupons. I used to clip coupons but I found I'd make a trip to the store and forget them lol. Toting a toddler and making sure I grab a sippy cup, toys and whatever else she needs seems challenging enough for me lol
Take Care :)

Anonymous said...

Please do not throw away unused and expired coupons. Go to ocpnet dot org to donate these to overseas military families. They can use them for up to 3 months past the expiration date. It takes one more Sunday morning pile and about 2 minutes to mail them. I know several military families, so I know how much these help! Thank you!

dealightfullyfrugal said...

I really love your blog. Stop by, I have another award for you:
http://dealightfullyfrugal.blogspot.com/2009/10/lots-of-bloggy-love-more-awards.html

Midday Escapades said...

Okay, I've got to get on the train with the coupons. I guess printing them online is a good start, right? Thanks for this great info, Angela. You are a terrific help!

Sarah said...

Great post-I've given up on being overly organized with coupons too. It takes too much time! Another great way to avoid cutting them and sorting through them is to make your grocery list and then go to coupontom.com and search to see if there are any coupons for items on your list. This way it tells you what insert they are in and you don't even have to search!

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beenomom said...

Excellent and informational post. I am always looking for ways to save money around here too!

I found you from the comment you left on my breast cancer awareness post. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment and follow my blog! It means a lot to me!

Anonymous said...

even less organized around here. if I see a coupon for something I know I buy I throw it into my purse(I'm gonna get a little zipped baggie for them because I hate having to dig them all out) when I shop... right before I get in line to check out I pull my pule out and go thru it. if I have that item in my cart I use the coupon if not I stuff it back in there. I clean out and change purses frequently enough that I toss expireds regularly. if I didn't use one... oh well I probably didn't need that item anyway :) thanks for the zipped bag tip :)

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Thank you for your comments! I appreciate all your tips, advice, and well wishes!

Angela

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