Day 249 Coupon & gift card management

Coupon and Gift Card Management

Even though I never encourage anyone to shop needlessly here at 365lessthings there are always things that one needs and has to shop for. Quite often you can make some great savings by using store and manufacturer coupons. And there are always those gift cards that we so often receive that need to be used up. Cindy has been kind enough to write a post with her method of keeping her coupons and gift cards organized and easy to access. Here is what she had to say…

A guest post by Cindy Bogard

I don’t clip a lot of grocery coupons. When I get the circular for Costco, I tear out the coupons for the items I’ll buy and hang them on the refrigerator behind my grocery list. When I go to Costco, I grab the coupons too. That’s the end of my grocery coupon management.

What I do have a lot of is gift cards, merchandise credits, frequent buyer reward coupons, and discount coupons that I’ve purchased through businesses like

On the advice of a friend who owns an organizing business, I purchased a plastic envelope for a dollar. (Mine is from The Container Store.) It’s pretty big – about 7×5 inches – but not thick, and I put all my coupons, gift cards, etc. into it. On the front of the stack, I keep a running tally of everything in the envelope: store name, amount, and the expiration date. I carry it in my purse all the time, so I’m never waiting to check out and then want to slap my head because the envelope is in the car. Since I have to pull out the envelope to get the coupon, it’s easy to update the tally right there at the register, before I leave the store.

If the coupon is one I really want to make sure I use, not only do I put it in my envelope, I also make a notation in my calendar a week before the coupon expires. A simple “Petco, 10% off, exp. 8/18” is all I need to keep me on track.

I’m not crazy about gift cards or merchandise credits; I feel like they’re a bit of a trap – you have to spend $X (and probably a little more) in order to use up the card. I’ve tried to fight this feeling with generosity: If there’s only a small amount left on the card but the store won’t return the overage in cash and I don’t shop there frequently, I take the card, smile sweetly, turn to the person behind me in line, and offer it to them. There’s often a momentary look of confusion followed by a big grin. It’s a way of spreading the love, and it didn’t cost me a thing.


This one is going I am not sure how yet but it is going.

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About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. Cindy, I like your idea of giving the card to the next person in line! I never thought of doing that; will keep in mind the next time I am in that situation.

  2. That is a great idea for organizing the gift cards. Our church uses them as a fundraiser so I try to use them whenever possible for shopping and probably carry more than the average person. I also love the idea of just handing the card to the next customer when there’s just a little left.


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