Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Frugal Files: Extreme Coupon Organization

Hey Frugal Folks!!

I had the pleasure of attending two coupon classes this weekend, which was a perfect birthday weekend treat!! I’ll work backward telling you about the classes, as I’ll save the best for last. Class 2 was free and I'm glad because I wasn't impressed overall. I know I can be an over achiever at times, but even with my limited knowledge, I could have taught the class...but I digress...

First, it wasn't friendly, which made sharing what we knew uncomfortable. I’m thinking if we’re saving, folks should be happy!! The topic was stock piling and organization methods. I was disappointed because the "experts” were only giving half information or appeared not to know the area store information. However, I was impressed by the details of one speaker, who gave her personal "Stockpile Tips and Tricks".

Her ideas included using a dry erase marker to keep track of items in the deep freezer (if you have one). She writes the item quantities right on the appliance. When she uses something, it’s easy to thumb off the old number and write in a new one. She also figured out, for her family size, how many of each item was needed in order to have a 3, 6 and 12 month supply. She arranged her pantries (yes, plural) according to their expiration dates and placed the new items behind the old ones. I was delighted to know that she donated items that were within two months of expiration, so the food would not be wasted.

They passed out store sales match ups for three major supermarkets. That's where you list the current sales and match them up with the current circulating coupons, so you get the best deal. For an Extreme Couponer, it’s the ONLY way to shop. This is where my struggle lies…I have to remind myself that I will sometimes pay SOMETHING and my great deals aren't always going to be free. Don’t worry, I’m working through it; just stick with me. I’ll continue to attend, to see if it gets better; if not for anything else, but a coupon swap.

On the other hand, Class 1 was wonderful!! There was a nominal fee and donation required for this one. I was glad because no matter where we are financially, we can all afford to help someone else. Remember what I said in the past, if you have money to waste, then you have money to save, invest and donate!! These items were being presented to a local organization that assists teenage mothers. Class was very inviting, brought a wealth of knowledge and my favorite: FREEBIES!! Shout out to Tasha of I LUV 2 COUPON!! Great job Diva!!

It was organized and this Extreme Couponer was knowledgeable and friendly. She let us know the stores that stacked coupons, meaning the allowed customers to use both store and manufacturer’s coupons, that you get from the newspaper, on top of each other for the same product. If you have a Meijer, Rite Aid, Target, Family Dollar and Dollar General in your area, gather all your coupons, along with the store's sales ad, for added savings!!

She reminded us couponing is a privilege and that minding our manners with cashiers will yield us better results. Speaking of cashiers, her advice was to always profile them. Look for the friendly face behind the register; ones you don't suspect will give you issues. Sometimes store associates will see you with your coupon binder and immediately sigh, but you will find in many cases that they are couponers too. Learn their names and share your coupons with them. It's a great way to meet a new friend and an ally in this Extreme Couponing business. We're all on a mission to SAVE!!
Tasha's list of ways to organize the binder were plentiful: 

  • Baseball card style, transparent pages with tab dividers
  • Expandable check file with dividers and tabs
  • Envelopes for each category
  • Box with dividers, similar to a large recipe book

In addition, she provided the local store policies for us to copy. Here’s a tip, keep them in a sheet protector and keep in your binder while shopping. Most stores associates know the policies (or will take your word for it), but just in case they “forget”, have yours handy.

Lastly, there were raffles and guessing games, lots of laughs and plenty of coupon swapping. My birthday present...I won the cleverly crafty PMS basket, complete with premenstrual essentials and CHOCOLATE!!
What a great birthday weekend it was for me and I'm glad to share it with you!! Until next time!!

Frugalicious Diva

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