Thursday, June 7, 2012

William Morris and Organizing Coupons the Canadian Way.



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.

My book:


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
3) medical
4) food
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),



and,

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,



sew,



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.

Modest.

Doable.

Linking to Jules and the other wonderful William Morris Projects at Pancakes and French Fries.

7 comments :

Jules said...

I have to say, as an American, I broke out into a sweat when I read coupon organizing. I thought for sure you were going to show something like that first picture...that belongs to an American, of course. O_O Yeah, people get really, really, really hardcore about their coupons here. Have you seen that show about the couponers? They're cray-cray.

I love your system. Nice, modest, effective, doable. Whew!

May said...

I go in spurts with coupons. Over time they kind of wear me out. I always get so mad at myself when I realize I missed out on one. But it is a good feeling to hand over a stack and watch your bill getting smaller!

jenniferdouglas said...

Do you find a lot of useful coupons? Most of the time, I seem to only find ones that are for things that I'd never buy anyhow....but I could be wrong.
I know that the superstore here will take and match/beat any coupons from any other store, so I just amalgamate the flyers and bring them in when going for a 'big shop'...but then I don't do a big shop often.

PS - I love what you've done

jenniferdouglas said...

Do you find a lot of useful coupons? Most of the time, I seem to only find ones that are for things that I'd never buy anyhow....but I could be wrong.
I know that the superstore here will take and match/beat any coupons from any other store, so I just amalgamate the flyers and bring them in when going for a 'big shop'...but then I don't do a big shop often.

PS - I love what you've done

Melissa@Home Baked said...

I had a pretty good routine going with coupons, but lost it the past few months as I've tried to do more writing during my precious kid-free hours instead of chasing down deals. My modest stockpile (a couple of cupboards in the basement with cereal, pasta, canned goods) has dwindled to almost nothing, though I still have a good stash of free toothbrushes and toothpaste. This weekend I spent an hour cleaning out my coupon file and clipping all the recent newspaper inserts. I also follow a local coupon blog to tell me the good deals so I don't have to spend the time to match them myself. I save the most on drugstore items and cereal, and then shop the grocery sales each week. The best thing about couponing for me is that I now have a good sense of pricing, and can stock up on, say, 3 months' worth of an item when it goes on sale.

That's Ms. Amy to You... said...

Nice system.

onshore said...

That is very organized. Nice!
Couponing is not common here in Finland, there are sometimes coupons that you get for example two hamburger meals for the price of one, but those are so rare, that those just fit into the wallet and don't have to worry about any storage.

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