Organization really is key to being a successful coupon shopper. If you have piles of clipped coupons or piles of inserts here, there and everywhere, you’ll just get overwhelmed and miss out on savings opportunities. Your couponing life will be so much easier and FUN when you have a system in place that works for you.
This article will tell you all about the most common ways to organize your coupons and a couple of hybrid methods I’ve come up with over the years. I will stress there is no right or wrong way to do this! The way you can keep up with it and keep it fun for you is the perfect way for you.
I think it’s safe to say everyone thinks of the cool coupon lady as the one who has a huge binder full of coupons. There’s a few common ways to organize the categories of your binder.
- Clip and sort by insert date
- Clip and sort by category (health and beauty, frozen foods, etc)
- Sort by the order by aisle of your favorite grocery store
What You’ll Need:
The Binder: I recommend making the small investment ($15 or so) on a heavy duty binder, like this one by Case It. It zips closed, keeping your pages safe from spilling all over the parking lot or cart if it gets dropped. I also love this one because it has a small file folder section in front, where you can tuck the current week’s sales flyers and a pouch for your calculator, note pad, pen, scissors, etc.
Baseball Card Sleeves: You’ll clip up all or some of your insert coupons and slip them into baseball card sleeves. You can find 25 pages on Amazon for about $9. You can also find them sometimes at Dollar stores or at Walmart. I highly recommend Currency Sleeves (they are longer pocketed pages for collectible currency) for your printable coupons. This keeps you from having to fold or bend up those printed coupons. They fit PERFECTLY in these sleeves. You can try Amazon for these or a collectible coin or hobby shop near you may also sell them.
Optional: A paper cutter lets you cut multiple of the same coupon insert page at the same time! Check one out HERE and give those scissors a break!
Pros: Makes shopping easy, all your coupons are laid out and displayed in front of you. Easily see what you have by category, by insert, etc.
Cons: Time consuming to maintain with having to cut up new coupons weekly, sort and file them in pages. Then removing the expired ones is time consuming as well.
The Filing Method:
This method requires very little fuss or upkeep. Simply get an accordian folder like this one . Each week pop your whole uncut coupon inserts in a tab, label the tab with the date, and that’s it!
More time is required upfront before shopping as you’ll have to use the Coupon Database to see which coupons are available, pull them out of your files and cut. The accordian folder is nice opposed to dedicating a file in your home office filing cabinet as you can pick it up and take it to the store with you. Just tuck it into a pretty tote bag and off you go! It’s always a wise idea to have all your coupons available and ready in case you spot a great unexpected clearance deal!
An accordian folder has a dozen or so tabs, so enough to put 12 weeks worth of coupons. When I run out of tabs, I’ll look through the oldest coupon inserts and see if any are still valid. Usually no insert coupons are good for longer than 8-10 weeks, so at that time, I’ll recycle the oldest ones and have a spot ready for the newest inserts. To make date labels, you can either print labels on your computer with sticky label paper or just cut up a small square of paper and tape it to the tab. Then peel it off when you recycle the old coupons and replace it with a new one.
For printable coupons, one idea is to take a file folder, label it “PRINTABLES” and tuck that in one of the tabs.
Pros: Easy to maintain, 10 minutes or less per week to collate and file away the new coupons.
Cons: A bit bulky, more prep time is required before shopping
Ziploc Baggie Organizer:
We always get coupon deals on Ziploc bags. One hybrid idea is to cut your coupons, and label a ziploc bag with the insert type (SS, RP or PG) and the date. Place all cut coupons inside each bag. Coupons are cut and at your fingertips when a deal arises. Baggies can then be placed in a shoe box sized plastic storage container with a lid.
A plastic shoe box could be your coupon box. Place your clipped coupons in mini file folders like these or make your own with some colorful card stock. I recommend laminating them since they’ll take a lot of wear and tear otherwise. You could also use envelopes, but will likely have to replace them now and then since they’ll get bent and possibly torn from heavy handling.
If you want to get fancy, try this fab coupon box organizer from Jenn’s Coupon Boxes. I used this for YEARS before I switched to the whole insert filing method. It was worth the investment it has held up so well!
Jenn’s Coupon Box with file folders
Here are some most used categories to get you started.
- Hot Coupons: Could be Catalinas or FREE product coupons, stick these towards the front of your binder or organizer so you remember to use them!
- Breakfast Items
- Salty Snacks
- Pet Supplies
- Surface Cleaners
- Candy/Sweet Snacks
- Granola Bars/Fruit Snacks
- Soups/Prepared Sides
- Canned Fruit & Vegetables
- Bread and Pasta
- Dish Washing
- Oral Care
- First Aid
- Soap/Body Wash
- Hair Care
- Cold/Allergy Medicine
- Paper Products
- CVS/Walgreens: Extra Care Bucks & Register Rewards
- Store Specific Coupons
So there have it! 3 tried and true methods to organizing those coupons. I hope you found this helpful and gets you on your way to saving a ton of CASH!
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