Before you can begin couponing, you have to decide what you are going to do with the coupons you will be collecting. There are several different systems that people prefer:
- The file folder system: In this system,you simply remove the coupon inserts from your local paper, write the current date on the file, and place the inserts in the file. Because most couponing sites list the issue date of the coupon, you simply pull the file and clip the coupon when you need it. The problem with this system is that you can’t take your coupons with you in case you find an unexpected deal. It’s also time consuming when it’s actually time to pull your coupons.
- Buy a large three ring binder and fill it with the plastic pages designed to hold baseball cards. Designate the pages in the binder for different products, i.e…cereal, shampoo, etc… Laura has a great example here. I prefer not to use this system because I can’t find a binder big enough to house my very large collection. It’s also an expensive route for a beginner.
- Purchase or create and envelope filing system. Clip and file all your coupons.
This third option is my favorite and the one that I use. You can see a beginner’s version of the system I use here. I like this system because it is cheap to free to create. What’s the point in spending lots of money so that you can save with coupons? In addition, if couponing doesn’t work for you, you’re not out a bunch of money. Crystal has a great list of categories to start with here.
If you really enjoy couponing and want to continue, you will probably need to expand your box. Mine currently has 150 different envelopes. One of these days, I will post pictures and details about it’s construction.
For now, start small and get to the fun part, saving money.