How many times have you purchased an items at the supermarket because it promised to have coupons inside the package, only to have you forget about that offer and you threw those coupons away? I know that, unfortunately, I’ve fallen prey to this coupon marketing strategy of enticing shoppers with the promise of free coupons, and then I didn’t follow through on the freebie by remembering to cut out the coupons before discarding the package.
I’m sure the extreme couponers on the TLC show “Extreme Couponing” never have this happen to them, but they’re probably not reading my tips anyway. You are, and I want to help you, my Suddenly Frugal readers, to avoid making the same mistakes that I’ve made with coupons in packages.
One of the reasons that this topic is top of mind for me right now is that, currently, in my pantry, I have two packages that I a) purchased with a coupon, on sale, and because they had free coupons inside the package and b) I haven’t yet cut out/filed those free coupons, and the packages are getting close to empty–meaning I risk recycling the box or throwing away the plastic wrapping without saving the coupons inside. I’m not going to let that happen to me, and I don’t want it to happen to you!
For starters, if you come home from the supermarket with these packages with coupons in them, I would recommend pointing out to everyone in your family that certain items that are in the pantry have coupons in them/on the box, and they are not to be recycled or thrown away without checking with you first. I did this with my kids when I brought home the Bounty towels package, with $28 worth of P&G coupons inside, and the three Nutrigrain bars boxes, with $5 in breakfast coupons on the back, but I forgot to tell my husband. Thankfully, I caught him last night before he recycled an empty Nutrigrain box!
If you think that people will be forgetful about the coupons in the box–and with our busy lives, that is always possible–then you need to “rescue” those coupons as soon as you get home from the grocery store and not wait until later to clip the coupons.
- Unwrap that multi pack of paper towels right away instead of tossing the whole package on the floor of the garage.
- Take that box of Nutrigrain bars, and “dump” the bars right into a drawer in your kitchen. (All the bars are individually wrapped so this dumping is less awful than it sounds.)
- Empty a box of cereal or dog treats into a mason jar or Rubbermaid container, and serve out of the container.
Doing so will give you instant access to any coupons printed on the inside of the box.
At the same time, you should create a designated coupon “space” in your house–and inform your family where it is–so that if they come across loose coupons, they know where to put them. Not only does this cut down on coupon clutter around the house, it helps you avoid losing coupons in a mess.
So, for example, while I take a binder with me to the supermarket, that has my coupons organized in clear plastic sleeves, we keep everything coupon-related at home in a hanging file in a desk–including that binder. On any given day, if you glanced in that hanging file folder, you might see those SmartSource, RedPlum, and other coupon inserts that come in the Sunday paper. Why? Because I don’t always have time on Sundays to cut out all the coupons but I don’t want them to end up in recycling with the Sunday paper. Additionally, each week’s supermarket circular goes in that hanging file so that, when I’m preparing for my shopping trip, I can compare the sales at the supermarket with the coupons I have on hand. And most recently a flattened Nutrigrain box was added to the hanging folder of coupons for safe keeping. I’ll be sure to cut the coupons out off the box before my next trip to the supermarket.
Let me know how you handle those coupons that you find in the packages that you buy.