I’m the world’s worst couponer

by Karen on August 26, 2008

When I started this blog about a month ago, I also decided to adopt a new habit in addition to writing about my financial progress: clipping and using coupons.

Even though I’d been living fairly frugally for about a year, I never clipped coupons. To be honest, I doubted that they would help me much because 95% of the foods we buy are produce, meats, and other fresh foods.

When I started this blog, though, I wanted to try new approaches to saving money and try to become even more frugal. Most of the other frugal bloggers I read clip coupons, and many people suggested that I try it to reduce our grocery spending. So I’m giving it a shot.

For the past three weeks, I’ve bought a Sunday paper every week and clipped the coupons that caught my interest. I’ve also been checking out some of the printable coupon sites, but I’ve been having trouble printing at some of them because I use a Mac and Firefox. Ultimately, after fighting with it for 20 minutes, I get frustrated, decide all the frustration isn’t worth the 50 cents I’ll save, and give up.

As I suspected, most of the coupons don’t really interest me, anyway. But I have found some good ones for toiletries, cleaning supplies, and other non-food items that I buy.

For the most part, I really haven’t been impressed with the savings-to-work ratio. However, most of the deals I’ve been reading about in the frugal blog world include coupons that were clipped weeks ago, so I’m thinking it might be a few weeks before the coupons I’m clipping now really pay off.

I’ve only used a handful of the coupons I’ve clipped. However, I’m having a hard time getting into the habit of redeeming them. I keep forgetting to bring the coupons I have, or only remembering that I have a coupon at all when I see an item on sale for which I also have a coupon. The problem is, the coupon is at home and I’m in the store. Oops.

The one time I did remember my coupons, I brought a list that included the items I planned to use the coupons on. Then after browsing a while and picking up other things, I actually forgot to hand over my coupons at the register. I had to take them up to customer service to get a $1.30 refund for my coupons. How embarrassing. Looking at the $1.30 in cash that I’d saved after all that hassle also didn’t do much for my lack of enthusiasm about coupon clipping.

Despite my skepticism, I’m determined to give this a real shot before I dismiss it. I feel like I need to get organized before I can really know if coupon clipping is going to work for me.

There’s been a lot of buzz in the frugal blogs about coupon organization systems, but I honestly don’t want to spend any money on this. I am, however, looking for tips on frugal or free ways to get my coupons organized.

So I’m asking you: What methods do you use to organize your coupons?

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