Coupon Tip – Making Sure It’s Always Available

by David Ning · 21 comments

Here’s a practical tip that is unbelievably simple and effective. Keep your coupons in your car. The reasons are quite obvious, but when I saw my wife do it, I thought she was a genius and should patent the idea (if we weren’t married already, I might’ve proposed on the spot).

Being the clueless husband that I am, it took me months to realize that my wife always had a bag of coupons with her. I mean, always. She would have the clip outs when we were shopping for groceries, and she would have the coupons while we just happened to drive by a supermarket and wanted to buy a bag of chips.

When I asked her why the car and not anywhere else, she responded with these reasons:

  • I Don’t Change Cars – The bags change, the outfit rotates but you are always in the same car. Even if you have multiple cars, it’s always the same car going to the same places anyway for one reason or another.
  • There’s Always Room – Some of my friends put them in their wallet but how many coupons can you keep in there? The car’s got so much room, why not use it? What I do is use a clear plastic folder that allows me to put as many coupons as I want in there.
  • Out of the Way – Another disadvantage of putting it in the wallet is that you have to deal with it all the time. I always see people fiddling with all those papers whenever they need to take out cash. Putting the bag of savings in the car compartment keeps it out of the way until I need them.

Other Notes About the Coupon Folder

  • We organize the coupons inside since they tend to add up overtime and some also become invalid (they expire), which will have to be thrown away..
  • We don’t have different sections so it doesn’t take a long time sorting it out. We try to keep the same type of coupons in the same vicinity. For example, we stick the restaurant coupons in the front and put the grocery coupons at the back etc.
  • Whenever we see coupons, we clip them right away and put them in the folder just in case we need them.
  • We bring the coupon folder with us when we buy groceries regardless of whether we need it or not. If we don’t, we will eventually forget that it’s in the compartment at all. Also, it doesn’t give us an excuse not to use it (like if we are lining up and we feel like we don’t have time to go get it from the car).

What About You?

As I think about it, this idea is so obvious that there must be millions of you doing the same thing. What are your experiences and are there any other tips you can share?

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Redflatshoe says:

    I don’t us coupons because most of the food I buy don’t have them. I 80% of my groceries are produce, eggs, dairy and meats, those usually don’t have coupons.

    I’m allergic to some food preservatives, so I can’t eat most boxed/processed foods.

  • Plannersis says:

    I like saving money by using coupons and I’m always amazed at the reports of someone who shopped and spent $50.00 but saved $80.00 because of the coupons. It never fails that when I’ve got a list of 20-something items and have 6 or 8 great coupons, that the store will invariably not carry at least 2 or 3 of those items …. plus after spending my time searching the aisles, then hunting down a store worker, then accompanying them while they spend time searching the same aisles, then they have to find another associate and finally verify that they do NOT carry or stock that item or brand, it is such a HUGE waste of my time. And they don’t know if/when they will get it and they rarely offer to find out if they will get the item…. they just hand me back the coupon with a bland look on their faces…. what a waste.

  • Jen says:

    I became a hardcore couponer at the start of 2010. You really CAN save a lot of money. I don’t buy toilet paper, paper towels, toothpaste, shampoo, razors, feminine products, body wash unless it’s free or a money maker (yes, you can “make” money from coupons). I don’t buy brand name cereal unless it’s around $0.50-$0.60 a box. I often get free cosmetics and groceries as well.

    Oh, I’m a 29-year old female. Coupons aren’t just for moms with eight kids to feed. They’re very practical in this economy. Now that I know better about coupons, I won’t go back to paying full retail for personal care items.

    For Walgreens stores, my favorite site is: http://www.wildforwags.com
    For Target stores, http://www.totallytarget.com
    Other fantastic sites: dealseekingmom.com, moneysavingmom.com

  • Deb says:

    Here’s a great organizer – is made to attach to the grocery cart, has 30 divider tabs and 70 peel and stick labels so you can customize and put it in whatever order you want. They are made with fabric, stabilizer and lining. Cool stylish fabric choices. These will last for years, won’t tear or fall apart like plastic/paper ones.

  • Martha says:

    I think this is a great idea. I am a die hard coupon clipper, notice I didn’t say “user” because I forget to take the coupons w/me when I go to the grocery store. Into my car they go.

  • Fred Cash says:

    I keep some coupon in my wallet and keep others at home. If its a place that I like to go for lunch or by myself that I keep it in my wallet. If it’s a place for the family to go then I leave the coupon at home. My favorite coupons locally are for Pat & Oscar’s. They give a $5 off $20 purchase so I always make sure to spend just over $20 to get my discount. I also like the Arby’s coupons.

  • Meaghan says:

    I keep my coupons and gift cards in an accordion style folder that can fit in my purse. This way I always have them with me (even if I’m riding in the car with a friend.).

  • Nice post.

    Can’t use them if you don’t have them.

    I have gotten in the habit of keeping my coupons, savings coins and certificates, and shopper cards in my car.

  • Ryan says:

    I like the coupon folder in the car idea though. But, I’m really only an online shopper. Only recently did I start to use all of the coupon/promo codes that are available online when I make a purchase. There are a lot of coupon sites out there and it takes about 10 seconds to google a coupon code for whatever product your buying online. Please note that some of the codes you try may not work, so it can get a little frustrating at times.

  • charlie@PayLessforFood says:

    I always advise people to keep their coupons in the car. Failing to do this is one of the biggest couponing mistakes. Its so easy to cut and organize your coupons from the Sunday paper but then leave them in a folder or organizer to be forgotten.

    Another thing I tell people to leave in their car is a snack. When you go into a grocery store you’re much more likely to make an impulse purchase if you’re hungry. (Between 40-50% of our grocery store purchases are impulse buys).

    By having a snack in the car and making sure you don’t enter the supermarket hungry you help lessen the temptation to make an impulse purchase. I purchase my snacks from the dollar store.

    An even easier way to deal with coupons so that you have them where ever you go is to have the coupons electronically loaded onto your loyalty card.

    Websites like shortcuts.com allow you to register your loyalty card and then peruse the weekly web ads and have selected coupons placed directly onto your loyalty card.

    • MoneyNing says:

      The snack idea is awesome. What works as well with hunger is to actually eat regularly at approximately the same time. After a while, your body will adjust and you won’t feel hunger other than during breakfast, lunch and dinner.

  • marci says:

    My truck already looks like I could live it in from all the stuff that is “always there just in case” – but the coupons themselves stay in my wallet. Mostly that is because I use so few coupons, buying only for me, and mostly fresh veggies and fruits which I don’t seem to find coupons for. They other reason being that when I go thru the weekly ads, the weekly coupons go right into my pocket/wallet and then I’m off to the store and they get used right away as they are no good a week later. I tend to buy only what’s on sale with a coupon, and then plan my food around that. Yes, I’m a hoarder 🙂 There’s enough food here for a year I am sure. I just keep rotating it.

  • I’m not a big coupon user either. Just curious though, do you keep track of how much you save in a given year from using coupons?

    • MoneyNing says:

      I don’t keep track because it’s really money I’m not wasting, as opposed to money I saved. There is just no reason to not clip coupons, just like there’s no reason why I will pay someone $100 for something that can be done with $50.

      • Dee Dee says:

        i keep a track of my spending at the drug stores (rite aid, CVS, and walgreens) just to see if it’s working or not, and i can honestly say i’ve gotten 13 dollars worth of free stuff at walgreens, rite aid i will be breaking even soon today or tomorrow cause of their deals this week, and at CVS i’m at a dollar difference with what i spent and how monopoly money i get back. Its fun and even my husband is starting to get interested in it, although not as much as me. he earns the money and since i dont work, it’s my job to save as much of as it possible. why pay for stuff when i can get practically for free 😀

  • Jules @ Lovely Las Vegas says:

    I have to keep the coupons in the car, otherwise I forget to tote them along, especially since my husband and I don’t have a specific routine (day or time) that we go grocery shopping.

  • Arohan says:

    We have struggled at times to come up with an effective coupon strategy. I think this is a great idea and along with a coupon folder would work really well.

  • FFB says:

    Keep them in the car – that so me. So many times we’ve gone somewhere only to realize the coupons we want are on the dining room table. We’re getting better though. A coupon is useless unless you use it.

  • Ms. SP says:

    I’m not a big coupon user, but it took me forever to figure out that I needed to keep my gift cards with me at all times. Right now I have nine on me, and they don’t take up much room at all. This method has saved me a lot of times. Sometimes there needs to be an unexpected meal on the road or a last minute purchase. With the gift cards, I don’t have to spend any extra money.

  • RAJEEV SINGH says:

    I find females relishing the thought of shopping with coupons … my wife is excellent at that..some of my femal colleagues too love to win coupons of offer at office in sales contests.. guess nice way to save some money from your grocery bill.

  • I’m not a huge coupon guy, but my future mother in law is really into it. I love that you suggest keeping them in your car because that’s exactly what she does. Before the sheconomist and I head out we make a stop at the family minivan and look at the coupons. We got good deals on dinner over the weekend and we often get exposed to a new product or company we’d never tried before.

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