Now that you’ve decided to try your hand at extreme couponing, you’ve begun to familiarize yourself with the process. You have started collecting coupons. You are learning how to search the sales flyers, and compare sale items with your coupons, to determine if the items in question are then priced well enough to warrant stocking up on them. You’re moving slowly, not rushing into massive spending, while you learn. You’re learning not to drive several miles out of your way to take advantage of a sale, since your time is valuable and gas is so expensive. What other things do you need to know?
If you haven’t already done so, you need to purchase something for carrying your coupons in. There are a number of different items that you can use. Some couponers use a small file box—the kind that is designed to hold 4” x 6” index cards. They use tabbed dividers to separate the coupons into categories, so they can access the desired coupons very easily. Other couponers use accordion pleated coupon holders. Some are fairly small, and can fit in your purse. Yet they can also be fairly large; some are large enough to hold full-size sheets of paper.
Many couponers use a binder system to store and organize their coupons. Essentially, a large 3-ring binder is used to hold coupons. The binder should be heavy duty and about 2 inches, although some couponers use 5 inch binders. It will depend upon the system you use, as to which size binder you will need. If you simply insert uncut coupon inserts into your binder, you’ll definitely need the larger size binder. You will also need the clear inserts that hold baseball cards; these sheets generally have about 9 pockets per sheet. Others have 8, 6, or 4 pockets, and there are even more configurations available. You will determine what size pocket you’d like for your clear insert pages to have. If you choose this method, you might find that one notebook is not enough, and you might choose to store coupon inserts in hanging file folders.
Do not forget to put the current sales flyers, a calculator, scissors, a pen, a pencil, and paper in your binder (or whatever bag you carry with you) when you go shopping. You will want to be able to refer back to the original sales flyer during your shopping to not only remind yourself of the specials and sales that your local stores are currently running, but you will want to read the details of the particular sale, as well. For example, you might need clarification to know if you can purchase any size package of paper towels, or if you need to purchase the six-roll pack. Also, if you run across any unadvertised specials, you will want to check if they offer a better price than the sales at the other stores.
Do not forget to shop with the list you made before leaving the house, as to what you have found to be the cheap or free deals, when coupons are combined with sales. Make notations on your list as to how many you need to purchase to take advantage of the special pricing, or what your limit is for a particular item.