Reader Jessica B. from California asks the following question about how to find coupons when you file by date:
Dear Coupon Girls,
I am filing my coupons using the whole insert method you have outlined in your couponing 101, but I don’t know what is the best way to find the coupons that I need, without rifling through all of my coupon files. Do you have any suggestions?
Keep up the good work, I love Hot Coupon World![/quote]
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That is such a great question! If you are filing your coupon inserts whole by date it can be a bit of a chore to fine the coupons you need when it is time to prepare your shopping trips. There are several methods though that we have heard of. Here are a couple of suggestions for finding the coupons you need:
Use the Coupon Database
I think this is the easiest method. Each week when you get your coupon inserts head on over to the coupon database and make sure the coupons that are in your inserts (remember insert coupons vary regionally) are in the coupon database, if they are not in there you can add them (members of HotCouponWorld only can enter coupons). Then file your coupons away in your file box, binder or wherever you file your coupons. Then, when it comes time to prepare for a shopping trip, use the coupon database by searching the database. For example, if Heinz vinegar is on sale at your local grocery store this week. Search the coupon database for the term “heinz vinegar” and narrow your results by selecting “Insert” from the source drop down menu, then if there are coupons out for that product it will tell you what insert that coupon was in.
As you can see in the coupon database screenshot the search results shown for Heinz vinegar (as of today) show one coupon and the listing says “06-24-12 SS. That means that you can find that coupon in the SmartSource (SS) insert that was in the 06/24/2012 inserts. Now keep in mind that your insert may not have that coupon. But if you file by insert date you can go to your 06-24-12 SS coupon file, look through your inserts and see if you had that coupon or not.
Create a Coupon Spreadsheet
Another option you have for finding the coupons you need is to create your own coupon spreadsheet. This method might take a bit of work but basically you would enter the coupons you have, note which insert they were in and all the pertinent information into a spreadsheet such as Excel. The pros of this method are that your spreadsheet would contain only the coupons you actually have in your inserts so it is very customized for your own use. The downside is that you have to do a lot of typing as you enter each coupon into your spreadsheet. A hybrid method of both methods would be to copy from the coupon database into your spreadsheet so that you don’t have to do quite as much typing as many of the coupons might already be entered into the coupon database.
Those are the two best ways that we know about to find the coupons you need when you file your inserts whole. We hope that gives you some ideas!