I'm really happy that I'm crossing this off my list tonight, although this TOTALLY was not my plan! My plan for the evening was to lay on the couch and watch T.V. I haven't done that in a long time. I've been really busy at night either working on things from my list or doing contract work for the company I used to work for. They give me projects from time to time and I don't want to pass up the money! Plus, my husband decided to give up watching T.V. for the month of February, except for the Super Bowl, so, there has just been less motivation to sit and watch T.V. and more motivation around this house in general to do other things! In fact, as a couple (my husband in particular), we have been so productive around here without T.V. that I even called the cable company to find out how much our bill would be per month to only have Internet and phone and get rid of the cable completely. Turns out it would be $50 less per month. Right now we are trying to weigh out if we think we are getting $50 a month's worth of enjoyment out of the cable... I am thinking not... but we'll see.
ANYWAY... tonight, all I wanted to do was watch T.V. and zone out. However, my husband was in the family room with me and I didn't want to be rude and kick him out, so I was going to put on the latest episode of Mad Men to show up On Demand (because I told him that I made the decision he could watch Mad Men because we are trying to watch Season One in order and they don't stay On Demand very long, so at the end of February he would have missed a bunch of episodes). Well, for whatever reason, it wouldn't play the show. Finally I just gave up and came downstairs (two hours ago) and decided to work on something from my list.
So... I tackled the chore of making dividers for my coupon binder and organizing all my coupons by category. Ummmm... tedious! I personally find it easiest to organize my coupons in baseball card holders in a 3 ringed binder. I like having each coupon in it's own slot so that I can see what I have. I have decided it will be easier for me to organize by category and not by date, so I made a Table of Contents page and then title pages for each category and they are tabbed with corresponding numbers. At the end of my binder, I printed out some blank calendar pages so that I can jot down reminders for things like when my CVS Extra Care Bucks expire, etc.
I know that everyones brain works differently and some people would have a lot more or a lot less categories, but this is what works for me:
4. Soup & Canned Fruits & Veggies
5. Baking & Breads
7. Condiments & Salad Dressings
8. Prepared Sides & Rice
10. Dairy & Refrigerated
14. Ziploc, Tinfoil, Cling Wrap, etc.
15. Paper Products
16. Cleaning Supplies & Laundry
17. O.T.C. Medications
18. First Aid
19. Beauty, Hair & Body Care
21. Office Supplies
Now, I don't actually bring my binder to the grocery store with me when I shop. I do see a lot of other shoppers with their binders in the aisles when I'm at the store, but I would be way too scatterbrained if I tried to do that. So, I match up the coupons I have with the deals in the weekly sales fliers and I make my lists for each store ahead of time. As I'm making my list, I pull the corresponding coupons out of my binder and put them in an envelope marked with the store name. Usually I'll just go to one grocery store and then CVS and or Walgreens or Rite Aid because they are all very close to my house. It just depends on where the deals are that week.
I'm definitely still a novice at this whole couponing thing, but I'm hoping that the more organized I am, the more money I will save our family.