Organizing your files Part 1.
This is a very important part to being frugal. You need a system to where you can keep all your resources organized, manageable, and easy to access when needed. A coupon, price list or menu does you no good if you can’t find them when you need them.
This information is based on my own trial and error. I have found that there is not a system that is just right for everyone. That is why it has taken me sometime to get one that I feel works great for me. Stay with me through this series and pick out the ideas that will work best for you.
Filing system is a must. I have two different filing systems that I use for my frugal living. They both serve a different purpose.

Filing system for menu, rebates, price list, weekly grocery list & ideas & tips.
Items needed.
□ Three ring binder with clear slip cover on front.
□ Divider pages
□ Lined note book paper
□ Plastic quart size ziplock bags (freezer grade preferably)
□ Hole punch

I have my binder set up in this order.
□ A plastic sleeve
□ Divider page labeled Grocery List
□ Lined notebook paper (several sheets) or my printed pages
□ Plastic ziplock bag labeled with the store name on the front. (one for each store that you shop at)
□ Divider page labeled Rebates
□ 3 plastic ziplock bags.
□ Lined notebook pages (2 to 3 pages) Or my printed pages
□ Divider page labeled Price List
□ Lined notebook pages (Several) or my printed pages
□ Divider page labeled Menu
□ Plastic Sleeve
□ Lined notebook pages (Several) or my printed pages.
□ Divider page labeled Ideas and Tips
□ Lined note book paper (several pages)
Assemble your binder. You will need to hole punch the ziplock bags. Punch the holes with the seal on top. You will most likely only get two holes in for the length. Place them in the bottom and the middle rings.
Divider- Grocery List. This where you will compile your weekly grocery list. You will mark what you have run out of and also what is on sale at that rock bottom price that you need to stock up on. I have a printed form that I use for this and will be happy to share if you request it in my comment section. (be sure to put your e-mail address.) I use the ziplock bag in this section to hold the coupons that I will use when I go grocery shopping. As stated above, I use a ziplock bag for each store I shop at. (Example: Walgreens, Kroger, etc.) Place your coupons in each bag and they are ready to go when you go shopping.
Divider – Rebates Label you ziplock bags one as receipts, one as UPC labels and the third one can remain blank. I am always coming across rebates for items that I buy or will buy in the near future. Or even maybe know that with the rebate and coupons combined it will turn out free or a money maker. I hole punch the rebates and place them in this section to where I don’t loose them and I know what I need to look for on sale in order to obtain a rebate also. The third bag is for small rebate slips that you can’t hole punch and put on the rings. Just as a tip, I write on the top right corner the deadline to submit the rebate and then highlight the items needed.
Divider – Price list It is always good to keep a price list of items that you buy regularly. Use this section to keep that running list. I keep three price columns for each item. One for the regular price, one for the highest price and the third column is the lowest price I have seen. Beside the lowest price column I also note what week of the month I found the lowest price. (you will see a pattern develop) I will consider buying the item for. Having this list helps with impulse buying. If you have your guidelines for prices in front of you, you are less likely to cave into pressure to pick up that jar of mayo just because you think it might be a good price. Impulse buying is not frugal. I have a print out for this also if you would like to request it.
Divider – Menu This section takes planning. If you want to get the most out of saving
on your groceries, you need to menu plan. You menu plan off of what is on sale that week along with what you have in your stockpile. I will talk about stockpiling and sales in a later post. Go ahead and get in the mind set of menu planning based on your family schedules. I also have printed sheets for this section too if you would like to request them in the comment section.
Divider – Ideas and Tips This section is where you put frugal ideas and tips that will help you. This section grows fast. I have to constantly look through this section and weed out what I don’t need anymore. Once you have used the idea a few times, then you don’t need a piece of paper to remind you to do it. This would be a great place to keep this series that you are reading and then throw them away or print on the back side more frugal tips that you learned. J
In my next post of this series will be Organization part 2. We will look at organizing your coupons. I have used several methods and finally have found a way to keep them organized and I don’t feel overwhelmed when I start to look for a certain coupon. Stay tuned. Check back and see how I do my coupons.
Get your binder set up and I will see you back here tomorrow.
Anna

1 Thoughts Shared

  1. Disconnected Diva // 27 February, 2009  

    Keep up the good work girl, you've really got it going on. (My coupons are in big envelope and such a mess. I bought a coupon holder with dividers, but have yet to place them in it.)

    I love this idea of the binder. I'd be insterested in any of the printouts you mentioned.
    My email is: disconnecteddiva@yahoo.com

    Looking forward to your post on how you do your coupons.