There’s a new feature on Simply Frugal that needs a bit of an introduction!  I’ve had the pleasure of receiving some great emails from Lorraine in response to posts that have been published on Simply Frugal.  Her tips are really great so I asked if she would be willing to let me publish her experiences with frugal living in a somewhat regular feature called Saving with Lorraine!  It’s so nice to hear how others are saving! I’m thinking of aiming to have the posts up on Fridays.  Not every Friday though, because I don’t want to pressure her in the least!  I hope you enjoy this new feature!

Her first post is about how she organizes her coupons:

I have purchased a small photo album with a strap on the front. When I leave home, I place any pertinent documents under the strap and this way, there is less chance of losing anything while in transit. I have inserted the following categories in this album:

  • Cleaning Products
  • Feminine Hygiene
  • General Hygiene
  • Paper Products
  • Frozen Foods
  • Meat and Poultry
  • Dairy Products
  • Bread and Baked Goods
  • Breakfast Foods
  • Condiments and Oils
  • Deli Foods
  • Canned and Dry Goods
  • Garbage Bags/Storage Bags
  • Fruit and Vegetables
  • Vitamins and Minerals
  • Snack Foods
  • Beverages (including juices, soft drinks and spritzers)
  • Ethnic Foods
  • Rainchecks
  • Environmental Products (e.g. lightbulbs, etc.)
  • Clothing
  • Pain Relief
  • Greeting Cards
  • Laundry/Dishwashing Products
  • Dental Hygiene
  • Pasta and Rice
  • Miscellaneous (for those coupons that do not have a specific spot)

I have used stick on tabs so that I can adjust the number of pages allotted to each section as the need arises. I also take the time to highlight the expiry date on each coupon before filing it away in its appropriate section to make it easier on the cashiers.

Before I go for any shopping trip, I glance through the binder and take out any coupon that I can use, particularly if the item is on sale. I then made up envelopes for each of the grocery stores that I shop in and place the coupons to be used according to the store where I will be making the purchase. (These cash envelopes will also work really well for coupons!) That way, I only need my grocery list and the envelope for the chosen store. I leave the binder in the car when I can, until my next stop and then I grab the next envelope needed. I have also taken the time to indicate my name, address and telephone number on the front of the binder so that if I ever decide to bring the binder into a store and accidentally forget it in the shopping cart or on a counter when I pay my bill, the person who finds it can contact me.

I typically spend between 15 – 30 minutes a day organizing my coupons in the binder, rather than let them pile up. This is not a tremendous amount of time, considering that I manage to save between $200 and $400 per month on my grocery bill. For any coupons that I do not use, I submit these to a social service agency that then passes them on to their clients. This is my way of using a coupon train that serves a needy population and encourages low income families to start couponing.

lorraines coupons