By Karen Baxter

In the past year, I’ve saved more than $200 on groceries using coupons. Despite my savings, however, there was a time when I vowed I wouldn’t let another coupon into my house. They seemed to be uncontrollably multiplying, taking over my kitchen table, counter and my car faster than kudzu.

Instead of renouncing coupons, which went entirely against my frugal nature, I finally decided to do something about the clutter. The following system has worked for me, and it is easy enough for anyone to use.

Designate one place to keep unclipped coupons. A shallow rectangular basket or a plastic container is a good choice because it is compact and portable. Also, keep a pair of scissors in the bottom of the container so you won’t have to waste time searching for them.

As soon as you bring the Sunday paper in the house, remove the coupon sections and place them in their assigned spot. Otherwise, in addition to having the coupons, you’ll accumulate piles of entire newspapers, which take up much more space.

When you are ready to start cutting, find a place where you can spread out, like a kitchen table or breakfast counter. I don’t advise clipping coupons in bed, unless you don’t mind waking up with a stray peanut butter ad stuck to your cheek.

Clip only the coupons for items and brands you will definitely use or are highly likely to use. If you don’t have a dog, toss all the dog food coupons. You won’t need them! If you are loyal to one brand of ice cream, don’t bother with the coupons for another brands.

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