Making a Simple Change to My Coupon Binder


My current filing system.

Currently, I file coupons in my binder by insert date.  Check out my post 10 Adjustments That Made Couponing Work for Me for an in-depth description.  It works well for me.  Used in conjuncture with a few coupon databases bookmarked on my phone I can coupon on the fly.  Until…I can’t get the internet to come up while in the store.  Talk about raining on my parade.  I’m sure I’m not the only one this has happened to.

So, I started to brainstorm.  Then one morning as I’m previewing the upcoming Sunday coupons, it dawned on me.  What if I had a list of each week’s coupons printed out and placed with those coupons.  A quick copy and paste of the Sunday preview and that week’s coupons will be at my disposal with the flip of a page.  It would only add a few minutes initially, but save time and money when my phone’s internet fails me.  Therefore, starting this Sunday, I’m going to give it a try.  I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner.  If you try it too, let me know what you’re thoughts on it are.

Happy Couponing!!!


This works and doesn’t.  The reason it doesn’t work so well, is that I found that we got an extra Smartsource insert this Sunday.  This insert isn’t listed on which could be a problem.  I’m wondering if I can find someone local with full lists of coupons from my area.  If not, then I suppose one would have to create their own list.  That doesn’t save much time though, so I’m crossing my fingers that I can find someone close that has the list of this week’s coupons ready to print.  Till later my friends.

Happy Couponing!!!

Couponing in Northwest Indiana/Chicagoland


Thanks Mashup Mom!

I wanted to write a quick post about a great website that tailors to my area.  Based out of Villa Park Illinois, Mashup Mom has great information not only for Northwest Indiana, but Chicagoland as well.  Finally, a place that I can call home.

When reading about Rachel, the creator, you learn that she’s a former librarian.  It shows.  Her site is easy to navigate and thorough.  Complete with match-ups, informative posts, online deals, and much more.

A super feature is Crunchy Friday which rounds up the week’s best organic, natural, green, and gluten and other allergen free deals.  Including a list of links to coupons on these items.  This is something that I rarely see in conjunction with couponing.

One of the highlights is a printable list for each store.  What’s so spiffy about these lists?  You can customize it quite a bit.  Who doesn’t want to save ink!  Just look for this button at the bottom of the post you’d like to print.  Print Friendly

A few of the stores I had been wanting to find match-ups for were:  Jewel-Osco, Strack & Van Til, Ultra (Town & Country), and Meijer.  They can all be found there and many more.  So, check this site out if you live in these areas.

Happy Couponing!

Which Newspapers have the Best Coupon Inserts?

Newspapers B&W (5)

Newspapers B&W (5) (Photo credit: NS Newsflash)

I’m asked this question quite a bit.  Living Rich with Coupons has compiled a list into a post.  Follow the link to find out which newspaper has the best coupon inserts in your area.

Which Newspapers have the Best Coupon Inserts?#comment-225416#comment-225416.

I Heart Copy and Paste! Shopping too!


Earlier I was making out my lists for Walgreens and CVS this week and I just had to express how much I appreciate copy and paste.  I make so many changes to my lists at times, and it’s such a time saver.  I use it for all kinds of things, but I suppose I use it most for couponing.  I can take bits from Krazy Coupon Lady, Coupon Mom, Mummy Deals, and just about any other couponing blog on my favorites list and put it all in one document.  Not only is great for printing, but I can save the document and use it for a reference at a later date.  Giving me an extra ability to figure out cycles in sales at the places I shop in the process!

There are quite a few deals this week at Walgreens and CVS.  Click on the links to see them if you’d like.  Lots of RR and EB deals.  I heart those too!  ❤

However, I can think of one downfall to such ease in making lists.  I keep making them.  Which means I keep shopping.  I’ve went grocery shopping five times in the last month.  Did I need to?  Ummm, probably not.  The deals have been fantastic in my area and the thought of passing them up makes me cringe.  This is the point where I start to wonder about being addicted to saving.  There is just something so satisfying about coming home without the guilt of spending WAY too much and seeing my family’s faces smiling in anticipation of what I’ll pull out of the bags this time.

Last night, my husband even said (and I may hold him to this as my passion for savings grows along with my stockpile), “The freezer is full …just the way I like it.”.  I felt like I could burst with happiness.  I’m sure getting to have mommy time so frequently lately…might play a role in my happiness too.  Especially, when you worry the hubby is going to get tired of “babysitting” and he’s actually quite happy with your feats!

In the midst of all of this shopping and life…I have been working on part two to Spending Money to Save Money.  As well as part three and four.  I’m hoping to get part two finished by this coming Wednesday.  Thanks to all of you for your support!

By the way, the only thing that could make list-making easier for me would be finding a blog or website with match-ups dedicated to my specific area or stores.  I’ve found a few websites that can help you find them, but what I’m looking for doesn’t seem to come up for my part of Northwest Indiana.  So, if anyone knows of one, and is willing to share, I think I’ll love you forever!!!  Hope all of you are lucky enough to find your local niche!

Happy Couponing!

10 Adjustments That Made Couponing Work for Me



I’m coming up on a year of being a couponer.  Sure, that doesn’t make me an expert.  However, I have learned a few things.  First let me say, I’m a stay-at-home-mom with two young children.  When my friend suggested couponing to me, considering the budget busting that was happening daily, I was eager to give it a shot.  Then she began to relay all of this information about how to get started, what I needed, and the rules of this and that.  Letting out a long sigh, I thought, hmmm maybe this might be too much.  She assured me to give it a go and offered to help me along the way.  So, I started down the path.  It wasn’t long after, I felt overwhelmed and impatient.  Because, one of the first things you need to know is that in the beginning, you need coupons.  Plain and simple.  Waiting for Sundays to roll around was like waiting for Christmas.  In the meantime, I was gathering my supplies.  Binder, sleeves, tab dividers, and printing out a few here and there.  After a month or so, I had enough.  I was clipping, sorting, and filing.  It was time.  Time to make my first go.  At a real store.  Walgreens.  I wrote out my list (which took all day and numerous phone calls with said friend).  Eventually, I made it there and began.  They were out of several items on my list and I thought I was going to blow it.  After a few more calls to my friend and list adjustments, it was time to check out.  Nervous as I could be, I watched the check-out.  Waiting for a moment that there wouldn’t be anyone else at the register.  Surprisingly, it turned out ok.  As I left the store, still shaking, I felt amazingly good.  I did it!  My total out of pocket (OOP) was $9.69 and my total savings was $43.48.  Yes, I kept my receipts.  That was my ah ha moment.

Time is Money and Money is Time:

Some time went by and many, many, many transactions.  There was a problem though.  Now the coupons were coming at me full speed it seemed.  If I didn’t get to clipping the coupons for a couple weeks, I was destined to spend two days clipping, sorting, and filing.  Granted, if I didn’t have kids and I had a lot more time, it wouldn’t take as long I’m sure.  The point is, it was becoming very difficult to keep up.  Then adding the list making process to actually do the shopping and the fact that I was still phoning for help a bit…well let’s say I was about to quit.

My mom became very ill and was admitted to the hospital.  Things were looking grim.  My siblings and I were staying by her side as much as we could.  She was sleeping a lot, so I brought my coupons with me.  Believe it or not, I got caught up.  Meanwhile, the nurses were coming in and seeing what I was doing.  They asked a ton of questions.  Asking me if I was an “Extreme Couponer”.  I laughed and shyly said no, I’m just a beginner.  Realization kicked in and I decided I couldn’t quit.  I mean I was saving.  My husband wasn’t making $60.00 Walgreen’s runs to get deodorant, toothpaste, and diapers anymore.  Thank goodness!  Something else had transpired that I hadn’t realized at first also.  I was buying more fresh fruits and vegetables.  Were there coupons for these.  No, not really.  I was saving so much in the other parts of my grocery bill that there was more room in the budget for fresh produce.  There was a downside to this though.  Getting lists and coupons ready for groceries took even LONGER than the Walgreens or CVS runs I was doing.

Unfortunately, my mom did pass, and I was too distraught to think about coupons for awhile.  Which of course led to so many coupons to clip.  Once again, even though it was helping our budget, I thought I would quit.  It was just taking too much time to save money.  I ended up muttering through for a couple months with only a few trips here and there and doing minimal clipping.  Obviously, I’m still couponing so I did come up with a way to make it work.

What Saved My Couponing:

1.  Simply put…tab dividers with pockets.  Two pockets per divider.

This is definitely the most important change I made.  I no longer clip my coupons to file them.  Instead, I have tab dividers that have pockets.  One on each side.  What I did, was file the first week’s inserts of each month in one pocket.  The second week of that same month in the pocket on the other side.  Then added one more divider to accommodate the weeks three and four of that month.  So, I have two dividers for each month for a total of 24 dividers.  They have the tabs already on them so I wrote:  Jan.  Wk 1+2 on each side of the first divider.  Then Jan. Wk 3+4 on both sides of the second divider.  You could do this differently.  Ex:  Jan.  Wk 1 then flip it over and write Jan.  Wk 2 and so on.  Another possibility would be to write dates, however, you would have to change them the following year as the coupons will come on different dates.  Also noting, that there weeks we don’t get inserts.  The reason this is important is, I file them by insert dates.  Smartsource (SS) 1/29/12 got filed into the pocket labeled Jan. Wk 3+4.  Since it came in week 4 of January.  I do file all of the inserts together.  Redplum (RP), Smartsource (SS), Procter & Gamble (PG).  There is no sorting them.  They go straight into the appropriate week regardless of the company.  I clip all of the coupons that are on my list before I head to the store.

labeled by Month and Week

-What about deals you find while shopping that are not on your list?

If you have access to the internet on your phone you can pull up a coupon database ( is one that I’ve used and bookmarked for easier access) while in store, search for the item, then clip the coupon.  I keep a small pair of scissors in my binder.  There are many databases out there.  Here is another I like to use found at

-So how much time did this save?

Well, I don’t clip any coupons on Sunday, unless I’m going shopping.  Also, think of all of the coupons you’re probably never going to use.  You don’t have to bother clipping them ever ..if not needed.  In short, a lot!

*If you have anymore questions on anything in my post, feel free to leave them in comments or email me.  I will be glad to help.

2.  Match-ups that can be printed out.

Remember, I used to write all of these out.  Then do the math and figure out transactions.  It took up a lot of my time.  These websites will have check boxes next to each match-up for a particular store.  You click the ones you need, then print it out at the end.  Major time-saver.  I’ve even recently found a great website that totals the amount you’re paying for all of those items you’ve chosen.  By looking at the website, I wasn’t sure how trustworthy it was.  It’s turned out to be very helpful though.  Which is  You’ll need to register to use it, but I’d say it was worth it.  The first one I discovered was CouponDivas.  That link should take you straight to match-ups.  There is no need to register at website.  There are more and I’m planning a list of all of the best websites in a later post.

3.  Making shorter lists.

I’ve learned that I don’t need to buy EVERYTHING that’s on sale with a coupon match-up.  Since we do use diapers/pull-ups and wipes with our daughter, I usually try to make my purchases around that alone.  Balancing this can sometimes be tricky, but it does make sense.  For example:  If I’m going to buy diapers and wipes, and the total would be $11.00, I buy just enough Register Reward (RR) items to pay for the diapers and wipes with the least amount of OOP expense.  Not much more than that usually.  Less coupons to clip, less work figuring out transactions, and less time hunting down the items once I’m in the store.  This may change soon though, as I just learned that I can use RR at my local Jewel-Osco.  When it comes to grocery shopping, I’ve started shopping every two weeks instead of once a month.  That cuts down on lengthy lists and coupon clipping.  I haven’t mastered how to cut down my lists at Wal-Mart.  I tend to go once every three months or so with a four page list.  This needs to stop!  *giggles*

4.  Trying to stick to items with stock-up prices.

What this means is, I try to buy items that are on sale for a super low price.  This helps by lowering my OOP expense and gives me the best deal.  How do I know if they are super low prices?  For one, if you haven’t heard of KrazyCouponLady yet, you need to click on that link and check it out.  It’s one of the best couponing websites I’ve found.  I owe most of my success to the lovely ladies who keep us informed everyday.  On their website they explain couponing A-Z.  They also do match-ups and in these match-ups, if there is an item with a stock-up price, they place a little yellow and black symbol next to said item. Stockpile-177

Here is an example:

Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bunny, Cadbury Egg, Reese’s Single Egg, 1.2 oz, Cadbury Mini Eggs, 1.5 oz $0.87 Buy 1, Receive $0.87 Extra Bucks, Limit 1

Pay $0.87, Receive $0.87 Extra Bucks

Final Price: Free

Really, there is a wealth of information on their website.  Do yourself a favor and check it out, if you haven’t already.

5.  Creating a junk email account.

This will come in handy for registering with couponing websites and manufacturers.  Keeping your couponing mail separate from your friend’s and family email.

6.  Networking.

Search around and find websites that offer you what you need.  For example:  Most of the bigger named options don’t usually have your local grocer on their list of match-ups.  So, do a search and find someone that’s in the same area as you.  If you are lucky enough to find one, this will save you time and hassle.

7.  When you’re out and about, look around.

Coupons are everywhere, for all sorts of things.  The grocery store I use the most has coupons for local places on the back of their receipts.  Good Will  almost always has a $5.00 off coupon on there.

8.  Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest to name a few.

All great places to meet fellow couponers and share experiences as well as deals.  Facebook especially is a super place to get extra coupons or find out about new deals first.  By clicking “Like” on a manufacturer’s Facebook, it may open you up a few new coupons and news about upcoming products or free trials.

9.  Free trials can really add up.

I love free trials.  A chance to try something new and you don’t have to pay an outrageous price for it (because it’s new).  Which reminds me of a note I need to add in here.  Coupons for new items are higher value when the item first comes out, but will quickly diminish and/or vanish.  If you like it, grab plenty while you have a better coupon.

10.  Expired coupons might be useful at your local store.

There are a few grocery stores in my area that take expired coupons up to one month past expiration.  This includes store catalinas that print out at the end of the transaction.  I know of a great way to find coupons that may have expired for an item I wish to purchase.  Coupon databases.  Hotcouponworld is great for my situation because you can choose to add coupons in from one month expiration to six months.  Since I only need to look back one month, I save a lot of time and energy searching through the database to find the coupon in question.

That’s all for now!  This is my first couponing post, so feedback is greatly appreciated.  Thanks for stopping by and happy couponing!!!