Basics Of Couponing Step 3 – Criss-Cross Stacks

Welcome to Step 3 of the Basics of Couponing – Organizing and Criss-Cross Stacks
Direct Links To Each Step: Step 1  Step 2   Step 3  Step 4  Step 5

*YAY* *YIPPEE* *WHOO HOO* *HAPPY DANCE* Why am I so happy? Because I have a stack of coupon inserts in front of me and I know I will be savings lots of money over the next 2 months because I took the time to get my Sunday papers and organize my grocery coupons.

The Key word for this lesson is ORGANIZE. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be OCD to get this part, it’s really easy.

Flat Surface
Large Brown Paper Bag (for scraps and trash)
Large Chef’s Knife (with the flat edge, not the rough edge)

You also want to have a trash bag handy. I use a large brown paper bag (most grocery stores still have these available upon request) and I keep it week after week till it is 3/4 full and ready to go straight to the recycling bin.

I start with (at least) FOUR of each insert.

Start with a clean flat surface. Your dining room table would be perfect! If you do not have a large dining room table, then do the First Step at your table, then move to the floor.

First, put all the same inserts in a criss-cross stack. (If you know how to do this, skip to the next step). TO me, it doesn’t matter which insert I clip first or last, I just get all the Red Plums, make a north/south stack. Then I get the Smart Source and lay that stack east/west, across the Red Plum stack. Then I get all the P&G and lay that stack north/south on top. Continue till all are in one stack.

Second, match up the page of each insert and cut the folded pages in half. I found that trying to be Wonder Woman and matching the entire insert at once had me stretching and reaching all over the place, so I only match up 4 or 5 pages at a time. The outside cover is the first page I lay down But, check both sides of the page for coupons, if no coupons, toss in your brown paper bag trash. IF it does indeed, have coupons, lay it open and to the left. Take the top page in your hand, and this will start another pile next to the cover page. Continue make a new pile for each page, in the area you can reach comfortably. For me 4 or 5 pages is my limit. Lay the remaining pages in their own stack on the opposite side of your criss-cross stack of inserts. We will create a second criss-cross stack with the remaining pages. Continue matching up the pages till you get through all of the first group of flyers, while criss-cross stacking the remaining pages in the new pile you just created. At this point, your surface should look like this.
1. stack of criss-crossed full inserts
2. half circle around you of stacks of pages from the first insert
3. A second criss-cross stack of partial inserts
(If you ever wanted to be the center of the universe, you have officially succeeded, you are the center of your coupon universe >smile< Take a deep breath, and realize that you are on an adventure of savings!)

OK, I just realized, I really like the Criss-Cross stacks thing, because at this point, we are going to make a THIRD criss-cross pile. This will be the final criss-cross stack, I promise! Take the groups of matched single pages and start your third criss-cross stack. Put this stack on the OUTSIDE of the original criss-cross stack. (I am a leftie, so my original stack is on my left side, so this stack goes 1 further to the left, if you are right-handed, you most likely, naturally, started your first stack on the right, so stack 3 will go to right of your full inserts stack.) For the pages that have a fold in the center, this is when cut them. Cutting them with scissors is an option, but I like to use my big kitchen chef’s knife. It is much faster, and my cuts are always straight. Use your Chef’s knife like a letter opener. Fold the stack in half along the crease. Enforce the crease by firmly running your finger, palm, hand, forehead, elbow, knee or whatever body part your prefer along the fold. Slide your knife in the center, holding the handle to the outside at a 90% angle. Keep your other hand flat and firmly holding all the pages in place. Simply pull your knife up along the crease, and your page should cut perfectly. Separate the two different pages, check both sides of each page to make sure they have coupons, if no coupons, throw in the brown paper bag, if they have coupons, add to your final stack, continuing to criss-cross the different pages. Repeat this process till you get through all of your inserts. You might feel like I am going into too much detail on these steps, but I realize that ever since computers have come into our lives, our younger members may have never learned the Criss-Cross method of organizing.

At the end of Step 3 you should have 1 criss-cross stack of all pages of your inserts.

Proceed to Step 4

Direct Links To Each Step: Step 1  Step 2   Step 3  Step 4  Step 5

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