The Quest for "Mild" Couponing?

Admit it. You’ve all sat down and watched TLC’s Extreme Couponing (even if you had the remote in your hand, ready to change the channel if someone should walk in and see you) and you’ve all wished you had the time/patience/resources/knowledge to save that kind of money by cutting out pieces of paper.

As a recent college graduate and hopefully going to be on my own within the year, it is one of my goals to save money in realistic ways. Instead of spending hours each week cutting coupons to have a stockpile of canned goods and diapers for a baby I don’t even have in every room of my future apartment, my plan is to strive for “mild” couponing—saving money, stocking up on important items, and perhaps even donating to food banks at little to no cost to me.

I realize that while I am still living at home, this isn’t all that necessary just yet (I know, I’m still lucky!), but I want to learn as much as I can this summer so that I’m ready to put it into practice when I’m on my own. Baby steps, right?

So here’s my first tiny step in my quest for mild couponing: I went to Barnes and Noble the other day for a cute bookstore date (Thanks, Love, Actually!) with Aaron and spent a gift card on this lovely receipt organizer.

On the left side is a small accordion file and on the right side is a notepad with a pencil in between.

I figure that, as a beginner, this will be a good way for me to write grocery/shopping lists and store coupons on the left side. It’s small and compact enough to store in a purse and it’s also adorable. Maybe it will even encourage me to start collecting my receipts and become better at my financial record keeping, too…(That’s probably a stretch.)

Tell me—how do you save money in small, but significant ways? I’d love to hear your tips on couponing, too!