Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Deal Organization - how-to

Like I have said, I am new to the whole coupon/deal/freebie life. However, I have been planning this new deal hunting journey for a long while knowing we would eventually be moving to a town bigger than the size of my thumbnail. I have hunted for information, read tutorials and e-books, and asked a lot of questions so that when I finally did get to where we are now I could jump right in with 2 feet. All my work and attention to preparation has certainly paid off! My first two weeks of living here has gotten me quite a bit of free stuff!

My biggest challenge was keeping each particular deal organized. I am by no means good at organization although I long to be like Monk when it comes to having everything in its place.
So, I had to come up with a system to keep each store's deals together with their corresponding coupons, along with a calculated rundown of what my purchase should cost and how much out of pocket expense I would have.

Here is what I came up with.

This is my little folder. It is a small writing tablet, about half the size of a regular notebook, with lined notebook pages. It has been laying around with my office supplies for whatever reason. If you don't have one laying around you can probably find one cheap at any number of back to school sales. I keep it inside my large coupon binder right in the front.

This small notebook has separators with pockets. I write down my deals for a particular store on the page beside the pocket. I am careful to detail what the product is, what the retail price is, what coupons I have for that item, rebates, Extra Care Bucks, or Register Rewards I will receive on that item (if any), how much my total out of pocket will be, less ECBs or RR I will use to pay for them. I consider those money and add them in during my total for that store after I have completed my deal rundown and added everything up. After I have come back from the store with my deals completed I rip that page out so that I have a fresh one for the next set of deals.I paper clip my coupons for that store together and keep them in the pocket next to the deal list. This way I never have to search for coupons that 'I know I had somewhere' while I am standing at the store. Although this little book is the only thing I take into smaller stores like CVS or Walgreens I always keep my coupon binder in the car in case a rogue deal pops up. When I go to the grocery store I always take my binder in with me.

I highly recommend when you are working up your weekly deals that you carefully add up all your spending with a calculator! This not only keeps you from being surprised at your total when you go to the store but when you see what your pre-coupon total will be, and what your total will be after you use your coupons and rewards, you are more likely to keep motivated to work the deals up the next week.


Genevieve said...

I really need to start a blogger account for this stuff - I have a livejournal account, but it's not as easily accessible.

Anyway, thought you (and your readers) might be interested in this. Sign up for the cheerios challenge and get a $1 off coupon every week for 6 weeks.

StaceyV said...

What a GREAT idea! I was just at CVS last night and was making notes on a piece of paper and had trouble keeping my coupons straight even though I had them paper clipped.