{five minute friday} Save Money this Holiday Season by Organizing Your Coupons

Who has already started their Christmas shopping? I've been picking up a few things here and there, but not much yet. I'm hoping, however, to get most of it done in November this year to avoid the last minute rush and so that I'll have more time to enjoy the holiday festivities with my family. And of course, I'm hoping to save some money by taking advantage of sales and using as many coupons as I can!
Organized Coupons & Gift Cards

I love this time of year when every retailer is mailing out coupons and my email inbox is bombarded with great deals, but it can get hard to keep track of. I have good intentions of grabbing the coupons I need before leaving the house on a shopping trip, but inevitably I end up making an unexpected stop at another store and I find myself in the check out line realizing that the coupon for that store is still on the kitchen counter. 

Finally I came up with a quick and easy system to make sure I always have my coupons with me when I need them so that I can maximize my savings and avoid extra shopping trips!

I picked up a cute, expanding receipt organizer that has become the perfect solution to organize my coupons, as well as my gift cards, in a portable manner.

The expanding receipt organizer came with pre-printed alphabetical and monthly divider tabs - but these obviously didn’t fit my needs. Fortunately, the tabs were blank on the back, so I just flipped them over and wrote in my own categories.

To make it easier to keep track of my piles of coupons, I divided them into categories based on my shopping habits, including: Shopping, Online {for online only retailers}, Baby/Kids {for toys and kids clothing stores}, Services, Groceries. 

I also created divider tabs for different categories of gift cards as well, including: Food, Shopping, Online, and Services. Lastly, I created a tab for receipts to make returns easier.

I then sorted my coupons and gift cards into the same categories, and filled up my new filing system.

Now all of my coupons and gift cards are not only organized, they are in a nice compact and portable case that I can easily carry with me in my purse at all times.

No more worrying about paying to much because I didn't bring the right coupon on my shopping trip. And if I decide to stop for a dinner after a long day of holiday shopping, I can use one of the restaurant gift cards that I got for Christmas last year.

A few tips for making this system function well:
  • Cut or tear out coupons to make them fit better, and so that you're not putting any more paper than necessary into your expanding filer
  • Sit coupons aside when you sort the mail, and then take five minutes every few days to put the new coupons into your filing system, and to remove any that may have expired
  • Remove gift cards for their paper folders, and use a black Sharpie to jot the value on the back of each before recycling the excess paper.

I know it seems like a pretty simple and obvious solution, but sometimes it’s taking the time to switch to the obvious solution - and taking a five minutes to keep up with that system - that makes all the difference in the long run! 

Happy holiday shopping! And happy saving money!

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