Coupons, Coupons, Coupons!
Of all of the things I come across most often while sorting through my clients' paper piles, the biggest offenders are often coupons, coupons, coupons! Rewards cards and gift cards are a close second. What is most discouraging to many of my clients is that often these coupons and rewards points are expired when we finally unearth them. While gift cards legally cannot have an expiration date in Rhode Island, often I hear, "oh, I forgot I had this and I just spent a fortune in this store last month!" Corralling and keeping track of all of these money-saving cards and bits of paper can be difficult. So this month, I'm offering some of my favorite "cool organizing tools" for coupons/rewards cards/gift cards!
If you are a grocery store coupon clipper/saver, I suggest keeping a separate coupon organizer for grocery items. They expire much more quickly than your average store coupon, there are more categories to keep track of, and they tend to accumulate more quickly. Because of this, keeping them organized in a separate container and only carrying them with you when you grocery shop (keep them with your reusable grocery bags, if you have them), and sorting through them weekly after each shopping trip to cull out the expired ones will help keep them better organized.
Cool Coupon Organizers
(click on the item name to find the link)
My favorite organizer for store coupons, rewards cards and gift cards. It's a small, chubby, alphabetized holder that comes in a variety of colors and finishes. Fits easily in your purse or brief case and makes checking for your money-saving deals right at the cash register quick and easy.
This one is from The Container Store, but you can find these in any office supply store or stores such as Target and WalMart. Label the pockets for the places you most often frequent, and one pocket for "others" for those once-in-a-while stores.
Pocket Accordion Organizer:
Again, this is an example of something that is available in many places. This file not only has pockets, but includes a pad for notes and lists, making it organized AND convenient!
This is a very inexpensive tool to corral all of those little bits and pieces of paper that tend to clutter up your purse, briefcase or car. Using this in conjunction with one of the organizers above will help you keep track of all those paper odds and ends like receipts, notes, and business cards until you can get them properly filed away in an organized fashion. Keep one in your purse, car or briefcase - wherever that paperwork tends to accumulate - and train yourself to always put any piece of paper immediately into it instead of just stuffing it into any convenient pocket or space. Once a week, pull out everything that's accumulated in your zip envelope and file, record, shred or toss it. You'll never lose a receipt, coupon or business card again!
These are just a few of my favorites. Whatever you choose to use, establishing the habit of putting coupons, gift cards, receipts, etc., where they can best be used when you need them will help you stay organized and save a few dollars at the same time!