Blog: Can We Have Some Order Here?
Making Coupons And Discounts Pay Off
Coupons, if done correctly, can be a great way to reduce your weekly grocery bill. Unfortunately, very few people manage to take full advantage of all those discounts offered in the Sunday paper. Why is it that, more often than not, your good intentions end up expiring before they can save you the first dime?
Why Is It So Hard?
You know how it works. You sit down with the weekly advertisement section and are seduced by the dozens of money-saving offers available to you. You diligently clip and snip and stash your coupons away in an envelope -- where they lie lonely and forgotten until their deadlines have passed. Then, several weeks or months later, you find your envelope and lament over all the missed opportunities contained therein. Coupons are like leftovers -- they make you feel thrifty at first, and then guilty when you have to throw them out because they have gone over. Money lost and time wasted.
And it's not just you -- it's everyone! What's the problem here? Do we, as a society, have a collective mental block when it comes to using coupons? You would think that with the financial crunch many people are experiencing, it would be easy to remember a little piece of paper that will save some cash at the store. But it's never going to happen, unless you have system for keeping track of coupons and promotions. It's time to stop tossing all of your clippings together into one big envelope. Take a minute to set up a small accordion wallet with a section for each category of "savings":
- grocery and household items
- other shopping
- restaurants and fast food
- personal services
Once your coupons are organized into logical groups, you can quickly locate any offer in seconds. All you have to do is store this wallet in your purse or bag, where it will be within easy reach, both when you're clipping and while you're at the store.
Planning Your Errands
The next step toward making use of all those money saving offers is to actually plan your shopping around the coupons and certificates you have accumulated. I'm certainly not suggesting that you buy things you don't need just to save 10 cents (if you don't need it, don't clip it in the first place!) But if you go through your stash as you write out your grocery list, noting specifically which items have a coupon (then clip your list to your coupon wallet), you're almost guaranteed to save money. The same goes for gift certificates and sale ads -- as you develop your "errand day" list, include those shops where you have a possible discount or even free money to spend. Actually schedule them into your day. And if you have a sale that you must take advantage of on a specific day (or a rebate that has a set submission deadline), try these two tricks for jogging your memory. First, make a note in your calendar (simple enough) -- second, set up a tickler file. A tickler file has folders labeled 1-31 for each day of the month. Simply place the ad/coupon/rebate in the correct date file, check the current day's folder each morning, and take care of any items in that folder that day. This is also a handy tool for other dated to-do's -- like bills to pay, birthday cards to send, and follow up calls to make.
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posted on: 7/15/2010 11:30:00 AM by Ramona Creel
category: General Organizing Tips
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Can We Have Some Order Here?
by Ramona Creel
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I have been a Professional Organizer for more than 10 years, I am a NAPO Golden Circle member, and I was the original founder of OnlineOrganizing. I have worked one-on-one with scores of clients and have trained dozens of newbie organizers as they got started in the industry. I provide both hands-on and virtual coaching to help clients improve their organizing skills and simplify their lives. I invite you to visit my website at http://www.RamonaCreel.com, and I challenge you to find one new idea that you can put into practice in your life, to help you become better organized, starting TODAY! I am passionate about coaching folks toward a more balanced, productive, and enjoyable life -- and I firmly believe that if I can do it, so can you!
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