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Step 1

Wednesday, June 3, 2009 |
Step 1-Getting and Organizing the Coupons
The only day of the week the manufactures coupons come in the paper are on Sundays. The only place to get them is in Sundays paper. I taught a class where a girl raised her hand and told me I was wrong and that she bought hers on e-bay. I asked her how much she was paying for them. She quickly responded $3.00 plus shipping and handling. I then told her news she wasn't excited about. "The newspapers are only 2.00 at the local newspaper stands on Sunday and most weeks they have multiple inserts in them." Her and I both laughed. The awesome news is that Grocery Smarts can get you an even better deal than that on papers too!
At my home each week I receive 4 Sunday papers, one per person in my home. People always ask me, "What in the world are you going to do with all that extra paper." I have neighbors who enjoy getting a free paper from me, one lady told me she uses it as compost in her garden, but my favorite thing to do is donate them to the local elementary schools recycling bins. They get paid for the paper by the pound so I dump my papers there every other month or so. After I bring the papers in all I do is pull out the coupon inserts. The coupon insert schedule is over on the right hand side of this blog. You can see from Jan-Dec exactly what coupons you will get what weeks.
There are 3 main types of inserts;
1) Proctor and Gamble (P&G)- These coupons come once a month. They are Proctor and Gambles own coupons; Pampers, Mr. clean, Herbal Essence, etc.
2) Smart Source (SS)
3)Red Plum (RP)
SS and RP are just companies that print the coupons. One week you might see Tree Top applesauce coupons in SS and the next month in RP. There is no rhyme or reason to them. They just print the coupons.

Coupons come weekly, except on holidays. On Holiday weekends no coupons are sent out. This is why. Newspaper companies do not like to pay employees overtime to sit and stuff coupons in the paper, so what they do is make up for it by doubling the coupons up either the week before or after. Cool huh! Another thing, occasionally the papers are human and make mistakes and forget an insert. When you are a subscriber all you do is call the paper and let them know you were missing and insert. They will bring one to you!
After I pull out all 4 sets of coupons I take them and with a sharpie marker, just mark Sunday's date on the inserts. Super easy huh! No clipping or filing away by category!
My picture shows RP inserts from 5/3, 5/10 and 5/17.
Then I file them away in my hanging file!

My files are listed like this:
SS Feb
SS March
SS April
SS May
SS June
RP Feb
RP March
RP April
RP May
RP June
P&G Feb
P&G March
P&G April
P&G May
P&G June
(If you blow up the picture you can see that I have other folders in the back. I just use those to help me organize other coupons I find in the stores, mail or on the ground! My husband calls me a coupon magnet! It really is true too. I find coupons in parking lots, peoples cars, at the store, on prodcuts themselves, online, you name it I have found a coupon there. Those folders just help me keep all the EXTRA coupons I find organized. I also use to just have ONE folder for SS, RP, and P&G, but they got so big it was hard to take inserts in and out, so by having them divided up by month too it helped me pull them out fast and locate them quickly.)
(I can't believe my expensive camera couldn't get a nicer picture than this!)
Occasionally mother companies will send out additional insert such as General Mills or Kellogs that are specific to their products. I just make an additional file for inserts like those.
Last thing-The last coupon in the booklet doesn't expire until about 5 months. So after you have been getting around 5 months worth of papers, plan on putting one in, and taking one out!
If you have been using Grocery Smarts for a while take this opportunity to clean out your box and make sure your coupons inserts aren't expired and easy to access.
After I file them away on Sunday I sit back and do NOTHING! So easy huh! No binders, scissors, or even baseball card holders. A system like this makes coupons easy, quick and manageable for busy moms like me!
Until our next step.......

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