As part of this whole effort to be more frugal, I have taken on the task of clipping coupons.
Fortunately, this is not as overwhelming a task as it seems it is in the States. Look at this:
That's a lot of coupons! My hat is off to all you Coupon Queens in the States. I've seen e-books written on the subject and even, a course offerred. It seems an enourmously complex undertaking. I couldn't do it.
I avoided it for years, actually. Not only did it seem overhelming and complicated and impossible, but it also seemed, well, desperate. It seemed like an admission of failure, of poverty.
Yes, I was an idiot.
Couponing in Canada is a much more modest affair, thank goodness. And my thoughts have obviously changed. I'm probably still an idiot, though, just not about this.
Still, one needs a way to keep things organized, so being brand new at this, I went to sites like the above to figure out my categories. I have mainly five:
1) household (including cleaners and paper goods)
2) personal care
5) miscellaneous. (clothing, entertainment, restaurants, etc.)
The first page in the binder is actually a list of these categories and what goes in them. I'll give my daughter a stack of coupons I've printed from the computer and ask her to put them away for me.
At first, I used whatever page protectors I had on hand--and soon I had a mish mash of coupons going every which way. Some were even folded which made it difficult to know what they were for.
So, I decided to customize my page protectors using my sewing machine. I got the idea from Ali Edwards back in my scrap booking days. I settled on five kinds.
1) Pages divided horizontally into thirds (right),
2) Pages divided into sixths (left),
3) Pages divided horizontally in half, (right) then
4) vertically again into quarters (left),
5) Pages divided into ninths, like baseball card holders.
The first two are my favourites.
I highly recommend using already divided page protectors, if you can afford them. It was fairly tedious to mark,
and slit them.
But, I wanted to use what I had--and I've more than a hundred page protectors on hand!
(A long time ago, I put a few years worth of magazine pages into page protectors to create my own recipe binders. I never referred to them. When I found the binders during the Big Basement Clean Out in January, (or was it February?) I took all the magazine pages out and recycled them.)
The woman behind the western Canadian site, Simply Frugal, usually correlates the coupons with the advertised sales in the flyers--resulting in some terrific savings. She also keeps her readers abreast of coupons available on-line for printing. She has just had a baby girl, though, so I'm using another site Extreme Couponing Canada as back up.
I check the sites, print stuff off, get stuff mailed to me, and clip from inserts which arrive every month or so from a free local paper.
And that's it. There is no more. No coupons in newspapers to worry about, no coupons in flyers I need to track down. We can't use more than one coupon per product (no doubling store plus manufacturer, here) so it's easier to keep track of.
That's coupons in Canada.
Linking to Jules and the other wonderful William Morris Projects at Pancakes and French Fries.