In the past, non-grocery coupons got wasted, even if they were to my favorite stores, because they were missing from my planner. (Grocery coupons are kept separately and I only bring them with me on my weekly shopping day.)
Problem: Using coupons before they expire.
1. Keep only the very best coupons for places that we visit all the time.
In this picture, I kept the coupon for our favorite local Chinese restaurant in the front of my planner.
2. Mark the expiration date (EXP) on the day BEFORE the coupon expires.
The coupon pictured below expires on the 27th, so I wrote "EXP: 10/27 - Kohl's Q" on the 26th to ensure that I have plenty of opportunity to use (or decide not to use) the coupon.
3. Or mark the expiration date (EXP) earlier, on the last day BEFORE the day that you realistically plan to use the coupon, if that day is more than one day before the coupon expires.
In the case of this Target 5% off coupon, I go to Target on Tuesdays. The coupon does not actually expire until a Friday, but since I know my last grocery trip before the Friday will be on Tuesday, I wrote the coupon down on Monday. However, I still used the ACTUAL expiration date in the notation in my planner.
These tricks also work well for managing work or school deadlines.
Another random problem that I've been experiencing with my planner is the need for a bookmark. Oh, I have lovely Today page markers for my monthly calendar and weeklies, and great tabs, but sometimes you just need to mark something for now - like my draft of my blog or the notes that I need to process from the room mom meeting.
Problem: Sometimes, you just need a temporary bookmark.
While paper clips make fine bookmarks, they are not perfectly flat and tend to bulk up the planner. Instead, I purchased these really cheap and thin magnetic bible markers.
In this example, I am keeping a medical log of my blood pressure tonight. Now I can turn right to that Project using my new bookmark.
I am also using one to collect the pages between the monthly page and this week's page.
Finally, I attended a room mom meeting today. There was a well-prepared agenda and I took notes.
Problem: I need a fool-proof way to copy notes from the agenda without missing an important date or task.
1. Be prepared for the meeting, with a boxed topic page for the Projects (or Notes, depending on whether it is on-going) portion of the planner.
This image shows how I referred to the handout, once I realized that there was one.
2. Circle critical dates or tasks in your highlighter color.
3. To the left, put context codes to determine the next action that you need to take.
In this picture, "C - Oct" means at my computer, do October's email to the other parents. Making treat bags for Halloween is circled so that I remember to add that task to my planner (on the last shopping day before the bags are due).
4. Check off each item as you add it to your monthly calendar (for appointments) or weekly tasks.
There were a lot of important detail on the agenda, so after processing and checking off each date or task, I kept the agenda in my front planner pocket. I will discard it at the end of the school year.
(Bonus tip: Write in the top, right hand corner box, "Room Mom, Meeting 10/15/13, Discard 06/01/14.)