A new year is here and new coupons won’t be far behind!
Did you know you can expect the greatest number of high-value coupons and inserts in your newspaper in January? Couponers know and anticipate the January coupon windfall that kicks off a new year of savings. This year, we’re scheduled to receive more than 10 coupon inserts in the month of January!
January also is a great time to refocus on your savings efforts to save even more money in 2019. Brands and retailers know many people make New Year’s resolutions to save more money, improve their health and wellness and focus on other ways to improve their lives. During January, we typically see numerous coupon offers for healthcare products, such as vitamins, supplements and weight loss aids. I typically do a large stock-up on multivitamins early in the year with these great, high-value coupons, then use the vitamins throughout the year (vitamins typically have long expiration dates). Household cleaning products are another category that is typically well represented with coupons at the beginning of the year — again, likely as part of a resolution to get the house clean after the holiday season.
Want to know which weeks we’ll receive the most coupons? I’ve got a schedule of the coupon inserts we can expect to receive each week in the newspaper on my blog at jillcataldo.com/2019schedule. Keep in mind publishers and brands may change this schedule at any time throughout the year, but it is a good guideline to follow, especially if you’re the kind of person who likes to buy extra newspapers during heavy coupon insert weeks.
Once you’ve got your coupons, how do you organize them? Some couponers clip every coupon that appears in the paper, then organize them in a large baseball card binder or a recipe-style card box. I find this method fairly labor-intensive, as you’ll cut and handle far more coupons each month than you will actually use in the store. Instead, I am a fan of saving the entire coupon insert (or inserts) each week from the newspaper and building a library of whole inserts to draw from. I like to call this the “clipless” method, because you truly do clip less!
With the clipless method of couponing, you’ll only cut the coupons you need to take to the store for this week’s shopping trip. I tend to use, on average, 10 to 20 coupons each week. Contrast that with the 50 or more coupons that can appear in each week’s inserts! It’s much easier to cut just what you will actually use, then keep the rest inside the insert for possible future use.
In order to take advantage of this system, enlist the help of a grocery matchup website or shopping blog. These sites help build your shopping list at your store of choice by highlighting the items with the deepest discounts, then telling you exactly which coupon to use to get the deal. For example, if laundry detergent is on sale, the shopping list may note a 50-ounce bottle is on sale for $1.99 and you should use the $1 coupon from the “12/9 RM” insert. This abbreviation refers to the date the coupon insert appeared in your newspaper (Dec. 9) and the name printed on the front of that coupon insert (RM = Retail Me Not.) Then, all you need to do is pull that one insert out of your file and cut just the laundry detergent coupon. Return the insert to your file, then move to the next item on your shopping list.
Because we are looking up coupons by the date they appeared in each insert, I also like to write the date in marker, very large, across the front of each coupon insert. Inserts are dated in small text along the insert’s spine, but the text is difficult to read. Do yourself a favor and write it larger.