The Couponing Challenge: Staying Organized and Efficient (Here’s Four Tools to Help!)
Most couponers admittedly love their craft. The rush of finding that perfect deal and saving 90% on your transaction is unequalled. But, clipping, organizing, and matching coupons to deals to optimize savings is a tedious and time-consuming process. There’s good news, though: with a few digital tools, you can cut down on the time and frustration of keeping everything organized and gathering enough information to never miss a deal. In this post, we will introduce you to four tools you can use to easily stay organized and on-top of all the current deals. Let’s get started.
An efficient and, therefore, effective couponer will make sure she plans, plans, plans. And, to ensure the time to plan ahead, she must be able to predict the future. After all, if you wait till the day-of to put together your game plan, you’re likely to miss out on all the deals. In this case, it is truly the early bird who gets the worm. So, expert couponers put together their game plans on Friday or Saturday so they will be ready to roll come Sunday morning. They already know exactly how many newspapers they should buy and what coupons they should pull so they can get the deals before the shelves are cleared.
So, what tools do expert couponers use to put together and carry out their game plans in time?
- You may be asking how these savvy couponers predict the future. First, they head to com. Here, by Wednesday of the week before, you can preview exactly what coupons will be included in major city newspaper inserts. So, you’ll know exactly what inserts to ensure are included in your newspaper on Sunday (because savvy couponers know that inserts are often stolen from newspapers when on the stand).
And, you can ensure you don’t miss out on deals that aren’t included on your favorite coupon matching site. For example, many sites don’t match manufacturer coupons with the coupons found in Walgreen’s Monthly Savings Book. With the insert available ahead of time, you can take the time to do a little investigating for yourself, matching deals that others may miss.
To use the site, simply head to www.sundaycouponinserts.com. Then, click on the Sunday Coupon Inserts tab:
And, if it’s the first Sunday of the month, don’t forget to check the P&G Coupon Inserts tab:
With just a click on a tab, you will enjoy a full listing of all coupons in the coming weeks’ inserts as well as their expiration dates:
And, significantly, this website will notify you if there will be no inserts the following week due to national holidays. That way, you don’t waste your money on papers that won’t reap the rewards.
- Expired Insert Checker
Next, for those of you who use the whole insert method, (meaning you keep your coupon inserts in-tact instead of clipping them and storing them in a tabbed notebook) an expired insert checker will be a great tool for keeping your couponing process organized and efficient. These are simple to use.
For example, couponersunited.com offers a coupon expiration checker. Simply type in the release date of the inserts in question and it will list each coupon insert that was released that day as well as the expiration date for the latest expiring coupon within the insert.
In this example, we see that all three of the inserts that were released on March 8, 2015—Parade, Red Plum and Smart Source—are currently expired. So, we can go ahead and remove them from our notebooks. Pretty simple but very useful!
Evernote is a great app for cutting down on your paper piles and, therefore, stay organized. With this app, you can digitally save all of your weekly store circulars and deal lists in one notebook. Then, you can access this notebook from any iphone or device with data capabilities. And, once you’ve saved your inserts to your coupon notebook and synced Evernote on all your devices via an Internet, you can then access your notebook off-line. This means you can refer to it as you are shopping the aisles of your favorite store via any one of your devices. Whether you’re using a tablet with no Internet connection or an iphone with data capabilities, you never have to wonder if your game-plan can be referred to at any moment from any device. Here’s how this works:
- Download Evernote on your tablet, iphone, laptop or desktop computer. Then, once you’ve followed the steps to create an account, create your first notebook. To do so, simply click on “File” in the upper left-hand corner, then “New Note.”
- Next, name your new notebook:
Once you’ve created your notebook, it will appear in your notebook list on the left-hand side of your screen.
- Next, download Evernote’s Web Clipper. Once you’ve installed the extension, you can simply click on the Evernote icon to save any webpage or email you would like to your Evernote notebooks.
To do so, once on the page you’d like to save, click the Evernote icon and simply indicate which notebook you would like the page sent to. Then, finalize it by clicking on “clip article.” Here’s how this process would work to save a CVS circular to an Evernote “couponing” notebook:
Then, the next time you go into your couponing notebook, your weekly ad will be there waiting for you. And, remember, by downloading the Evernote app to all of your mobile devices, it will automatically sync your notebooks when your devices are connected to the Internet. This means that you can save your circulars on your laptop and then access them via your other devices, including your iphone or tablet.
In addition to clipping weekly circulars, be sure to keep everything you need at your fingertips by clipping store coupon policies and match-up lists from your favorite couponing site to your Evernote Couponing notebook. That way, equipped with your couponing notebook and a synced Evernote account, you’ll have everything you need to ensure you don’t miss a deal, even when in the store aisle or where Internet access isn’t available.
Lastly, savvy couponers ensure their deal match-up lists are up-to-date and at their fingertips when they head to the stores. And, many know that the best way to accumulate the most comprehensive deal list is to consult with the experts. The Favado app allows you to match coupons with nearby deals within seconds and then email the whole list to yourself for quick reference. From there, you can send the list to your Evernote Couponing notebook for reference even where an Internet connection isn’t available. Here’s how this works:
- Start by searching by your zip code.
- Then, pick the stores you would like to search for deals.
- Next, add the deals you would like to redeem to your list.
- Or click on the deal that interests you to see matching coupons and the resulting final price.
- Lastly, click on your cart and email your list to yourself. Once you’ve emailed the list in each deal to yourself, you can even click on the online coupons listed and print them out for store use.
Now, if you are using a device like a tablet that doesn’t include its own data capabilities, you must prepare for the fact that you will not have access to your email once at the store. So, to ensure you can reference the deals and matching coupons you will need, simply clip your email to your Evernote couponing notebook and allow your devices time to sync.
In addition to putting together your deal/coupon match-up list with ease, this tool can be used to search for deals on specific products and to find online coupons on searched for products.
Then, at the bottom of each deal (click on deal to reveal coupon match-ups), you can access the coupon policy of the store. This is a great tool to use if you run into problems at the check-out counter with any coupons you are attempting to stack with deals. Store coupon policies are your couponing game rules, so to speak, for each store. So, be sure to know the rules before attempting to use your coupons.
Couponing can be a time consuming process. But, with a few simple tools, you can cut down on the time investment of couponing and increase your success rate. This means more money saved with less time invested! So, happy couponing.
We’d love to know: what other tools help you stay organized and find all the best deals in your couponing endeavors?