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Ask DSM Readers: How Do You Organize Your Coupons?

by Tara Kuczykowski on October 2, 2009 · 137 comments

Coupon Organization
I've had a number of readers write to me lately asking how I organize my coupons. To be quite honest, I don't think I've found my perfect coupon organization method.

I currently use the insert method where I label each insert with the date and only clip as I need. However, I worry about missing out on extra savings when I'm at the store and find a great unadvertised sale or clearance deals. I also still have a large quantity of loose coupons that I receive in the mail and print online, so it's difficult to keep track of those. I've often thought about switching to a binder method, but I'm just not sure where to start.

So I thought I'd put the question to my dear readers!

How do you organize your coupons? Do you use the binder method? Are there any drawbacks to it?

Do you have a better way of utilizing the insert method? How do you ensure that you don't miss out on unadvertised/clearance deals?

If you have links to posts you've written, feel free to include them in your comments.

If you have a question you'd like to ask fellow Deal Seeking Mom readers, please feel free to email me! I think having a variety of perspectives is really valuable, and I thank you all for your input.

{ 137 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Angie October 2, 2009 at 9:55 pm

My sister gave me the Couponizer as a gift and I really love it, but it's really all I know besides a big unorganized wad of coupons that I used to have. I do wish it had more categories (split personal hygiene up some, especially) but overall it really helps me to stay organized.

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2 Ellen October 2, 2009 at 9:56 pm

I am new to couponing and have been looking into different ideas of how I can organize my system. I love to be organized and saw the greatest item on a website that I have to buy. It is a coupon box that fits exactly into the front seat of the shopping cart and is on a website that is called "refundcents.com". Can some of you get back to me and let me know your thoughts whether this product would be a good investment for me or other coupon ladies.

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3 TERRY October 2, 2009 at 9:58 pm

HOW DO I ORGANIZE MY COUPONS , WELL I HAVE APLASTIC SHOE BOX WHICH I DECORATED , ON THE OUTSIDE AND ON THE INSIDE I DIVIDED IT IN HALF WIDTH WIDE HAVE INDEX CARDS WITH TABS ON THEM TO DIVIDE IN TO CATEGORIES WHEN I DON' T USE THE SECOND SIDE WHICH IS MORE OFTEN THAN NOT I HAVE ROOM FOR A NOTE BOOK TO RECORD WHAT I BOUGHT A POCKET CALCULATOR AND SOME PENS , I TAKE IT WITH ME ALL THE TIME SO I DONT MISS OUT ON CLEARANCE OR UN ADVERTISED SPECIALS TY SORRY FOR CAPS EASIER TO SEE

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4 kim t October 2, 2009 at 10:22 pm

I have a huge coupon binder and it has labels tabs and all i love it. when i go out shopping i use zipper bags and write the stores name on them and put the coupons i need for that store in that baggie. I keep the huge binder in the car so if i find something else i want i can just go out and get it. I use to be so unorganized and waste to much time in stores digging my coupons out. It is so much faster this way. If I am going to be buying alot of stuff and going to many stores I write out a list of what i'm buying and what coupons to use for it so i can just go and grab it at the store and then just grab my coupons out of the baggie. It is so much easier if you have a fussy 2 year old along and in a hurry.

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5 Danismom October 2, 2009 at 10:35 pm

I'm still pretty new to all of this so....
I found the check-sized expandable organizers on sale at target. I bought 4 of them. Each one has 13 pockets so I have the alphabet divided in half in two of them. I organize man q's in those by manufacturer (eg Betty Crocker, General Mills, Febreeze, etc). In 1 other one I have store coupons and in the last 1 I have coupons that I haven't sorted or entered into my database yet.

It may seem like a lot to carry into the store, but it seems to be working well for me so far.

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6 John DeFlumeri Jr October 2, 2009 at 10:40 pm

We keep them in several small boxes by category

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7 karen October 2, 2009 at 10:48 pm

Like many others I use a binder. But one piece of advice I have is my sister and I found online a place that sells plastic sheets that hold old-school floppy disks for computers. We use these instead of trading card holders.. (Those seemed to tear too easily. )

Also these are larger pockets for some of those coupons that are larger.

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8 Amy October 2, 2009 at 11:00 pm

I have a binder that zips closed. It's just one of the ones they sell for back to school. I got one that zips closed so that none of my coupons fall out if I were to drop it.

I use baseball card plastic inserts for 90% of my coupons and this works great. You can get those for less than $5 for a package of 30 sheets at Wal-Mart or Target. For my other coupons that are of larger size, I use plastic 4x6 photo binder inserts.

I love my binder because it came with a 3-section accordian file in the front, where I can stash whole inserts, shopping lists, etc...and alaso a zippered pencil pouch, where I store my calculator and scissors. On the front of the binder, there's also a zippered pocket where I can stash receipts, unfiled coupons, etc....

I use a binder pencil pouch with a zipper to put the coupons in that I am going to use. I pull the coupons out of my binder as I'm shopping and put them into the pencil pouch, where they're easy to get to at the checkout.

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9 Kim October 2, 2009 at 11:10 pm

I have been wondering the same thing.. Im glad you addressed this..
Just today, I went to Office Max and got some business card holders and 1 pkg of the trading cards holders to see which one worked better.. I got 50% off on the business card holders since I have a business Max Perks card..

At the moment, I have an accordian coupon filer, which while it is good sized, I've outgrown it. My overflow coupons (mostly internet prints) are held together with rubber bands in no specific order..which is why I decided I needed a completely different system.

I also put my rebate offers in a page protector and also have one to put my plans & specifics as well as reciepts.

Thanks everyone for your ideas.. .

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10 couponloversunite October 2, 2009 at 11:21 pm

I have been couponing off and on for years. You can read about my chose at my blog .. Thanks bring this question up. Fun to read others thoughts and methods. http://couponloversunite.blogspot.com/2009/10/using-my-binder-method-to-organize-my.html

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11 couponloversunite October 2, 2009 at 11:24 pm

Me again, like Kim I also carry the coupons I plan to use at a certain store in a zip loc baggie. Walgreens has it deal with my refund bucks, CVS has it extra bucks and coupons need. Ralphs with any coupons and any catalinas. I also of course put my binder in my shopping cart just in case

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12 Dean October 2, 2009 at 11:29 pm

my wife and I use a coupon binder from case-it and the best part it has a handle to carry it. we also use baseball trading sheets that hold 8 cards per page. you can find on ebay. we have over 100 pages of them. we clip what we normally would use and store in binder the rest stay in the dated insert and when DSM reports a deal we know where to find them. use some type of plastic divider for categorizing in your binder as the folder type ones rip at the rings of the binder. and get your husband to lug around as your binder can get quite heavy. fits nicely on most shopping carts.

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13 Sara October 2, 2009 at 11:31 pm

I use the binder method. You can read about it here...

http://learningthefrugallife.blogspot.com/2009/02/organizing-coupons_18.html

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14 Ruth Ann October 2, 2009 at 11:34 pm

I use envelopes stored in a plastic crate (about the third of the size of a shoe box...no lid, just a handle). I sort my coupons by category: cereal, soap, hair care, baking mixes, canned soup, etc. Each category gets an envelope. I don't bother to sort or organize the coupons within each envelope. If I find that I've got too many coupons to easily go through within an envelope, I figure out a better way to classify the coupons and add envelopes. Similarly, if I don't get a lot of coupons in a couple of envelopes, I might combine or eliminate envelopes. So, the system does evolve some. Within the crate, I divide the envelopes into food and not food with a colored envelope which has my coupons for free products.
I cut any coupons that I think I might use and sort them into the envelopes. Before I got to the store, I make my list and go through the envelopes, pulling out the coupons that I'll use. Every now and then I take the crate shopping with me, but not very often.

What I like about my system is that it balances usablity with maintainability. It doesn't take me that long to cut and sort my coupons out and it doesn't take me that long to find the coupons that I need or see if I have a coupon for something that I'm planning to buy. I try to go through and pull out expired coupons when I'm looking through the envelopes while making my shopping lists. Sometimes I'll go through all the envelopes and pull out what's expired, but that doesn't always happen.

There are some downsides. I do miss out on some deals by not taking all of my coupons to the store with me. And it does sometimes take me a little more time to find a coupon for a specific item. But, again, factoring in usability and maintainability, this system works well for me.

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15 Caroline October 2, 2009 at 11:35 pm

I use the binder, label and filing the inserts and envelope method! :) I cut all the coupons out of each weekend's inserts, separating them into two piles as I go. Those that will go into my binder and I am likely to use if I see an unadvertised sale or I may need on a regular priced item. These are products I regularly use. The other pile are all the extras that I won't likely use unless combined with a great sale and I won't feel bad if I don't have those coupons with me if I see a great clearance.

When I get ready to shop, I visit the couponing blogs for matchups and pull the coupons needed for each store (and each transaction if needed) and put them in their own envelopes. I take all the envelopes, my master list (listing how many of each item for each transaction so I only have to go through the store once) and my binder. I take my binder so if I see clearance or unadvertised sales on products I'm likely to use, I can pull our the corresponding coupon and put it directly into the right envelope. Shopping goes rather fast since the majority of the coupons are already in their envelopes. Having the extra coupons in the binder has come in incredibly handy!

Before I went to the binder method, I hated to think of all the coupons I didn't know about that were still in the inserts. I also had the same problem of how to organize the IP coupons, packaging coupons, etc. Since I only print off the coupons I think I'll use, they automatically go into the binder. Peelies and other coupons also go in the binder. I have it separated by category and labeled. I also use the baseball holders. I love it and feel like this method keeps me totally organized.

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16 Kristi October 3, 2009 at 12:50 am

I use the binder system as well and also file the coupon inserts from the Sunday Paper by date as you do. After asking several seasoned couponers which binder held up the best for them, I decided on buying a TUG zippered binder from Office Depot. It is zippered, has a shoulder strap, outside zippered pocket, and best of all has TWO rings inside (I use one for my food items, the other for non-food items). I use the 5-tab accordian file inside for rain-checks, store fliers, large coupons, etc, it also comes with several different pouches for your scissors, pencil, paper clips, calculator, etc. It has been the #1 tool that has kept me well organized. I teach couponing workshops for awhile now and have had several people mention that they'd be interested in purchasing pre-made TUG binders so have begun so with a GREAT response! To find out more check out CouponMe.net and click on the "Coupon Binder" tab.

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17 Alice October 3, 2009 at 1:06 am

I use a combo of the binder and insert method, I have horrific arthritis in my hands so clipping all the coupons out is just to painful. However I loved the idea of the binder so I devised my own method. I use page protectors in my binder and put whole inserts in the page protectors. I buy four papers at a time and find that putting four of one type of insert works well without tearing up the page protectors. Then one of the preview sites almost always has the same coupons as I get in my papers so I print out the list of coupons for each insert and put it in the page protector on top of the inserts. I then use colored highlighters to break up the list into different catagories like cereals, dental and such. When I use a coupon I simple put a line through it on the list.
I use what I call a mini binder when I go shopping which is simply a small photo album like one would use for 4 by 6 photos. The ones I have are black and have room for 20 pictures I have one for each of the stores I shop the most at and got them on sale of course for 50 cents on clearance years ago. I clip the coupons I know I will be using for certain and put them in the mini binders along with my shopping list. I also always take my big binder in the car it has a pocket that I keep a pair of scissors in. If I see anything on clearance that I think I have a coupon for it is easy to get the binder check the lists find the coupons and cut them out.

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18 Kathleen October 3, 2009 at 6:55 am

I find keeping the coupons in take is easier as well. I research each week and find it easier to find the coupons this way instead of having to carry around a huge heavy binder. I as well have many times thought of doing a binder, but that would take a whole week of my vacation time I think to put together. So I will keep my system the way it is for now. I do carry my extras that I either didn't use or are extras in a zip case (pencil case) and carry it with me to all the stores I shop in. Also with the binder, I have to many coupons to load in to a binder anyhow. I'm able to get quite a few coupons each week, and there is no way I can put them in just one binder.

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19 Kerry October 3, 2009 at 7:17 am

I use the binder system and love it. I love opening it and being able to see several coupons at a time. If I just clipped them I can remember but sometimes there are stackable ones from past weeks and the binder helps. I also use the baseball inserts to keep each coupon in! Hope this helps!

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20 Nellie October 3, 2009 at 8:33 am

I bought a 3 x 11 pendeflex at Office Max that is usually used for bill sorting. I labeled tabs with the following: cold/frozen food, dry food, non-food, Walmart, Target, Walgreens, CVS, Misc Fast Food, Misc Retailers, Misc Restaurants and Coffee. This seems to work best for me! Happy Shopping!

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21 Denisha October 3, 2009 at 9:23 am

I use one of those large Baseball Card Holders called "Collectors Albums" from Walmart. They have 100 pages with 9 slots each... that's 900 slots and sometimes I still need more room! I take the binder everywhere and I hardly ever miss anything on sale anymore because I always have all the coupons I want to use with me. I also do not cut out every coupon from each insert each week. I cut the ones for the coupon matchups I need for that week's sale and keep the inserts in a file cabinet. I keep them about 4 months before tossing them. Hope this helps.

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22 Erin October 3, 2009 at 9:42 am

I haven't found a my ideal method yet, either. I use a somewhat overflowing accordion-style organizer from the Container Store in my purse and file my inserts by date in a binder (kept at home). I cut out coupons for only those items that we use regularly or that seem to often end up cheap or free with sales. I read about couponers who carry giant binders, but I've found that my more modest method more than provides for my family's needs. As it is, we are overflowing with free razors, soap, deodorant, lip balm, toothbrushes, medicine, air fresheners, laundry detergent, cereal, frozen breakfast foods, etc.

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23 Donna October 3, 2009 at 9:52 am

I have just started using the binder method. The trick for me was sewing my own custom inserts. I use heavy duty page protectors (that I had from a garage sale) and zig zig stitched across to make 3 pockets (each pocket is 8.5" x 3 2/3"). This works great for computer printed coupons and for the clipped coupons I can usually fit 2 across in each pocket. My binder came free and the dividers I just got on clearance from Target for 75% off. My total investment in the binder is $.98.

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24 Lisa October 3, 2009 at 10:44 am

I do the same as Alice (Oct 3rd post - whole inserts), but I use 2 binders. The first one with whole inserts and a list in front so I know what coupons I clipped already (I scratch them off the list when I clip them IN PENCIL). The second binder has baseball card holders and holds all other coupons. These are coupons that I got in the mail, off a box, AND even coupons that I have clipped from the inserts that I didn't use. Sometimes I write the date on the back incase I don't use a clipped coupon, so I can easily tape it back in its insert and erase the crossoff on the list. If I see I have crossed off a coupon that I really want to use, I quickly check the baseball cards binder.

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25 D October 3, 2009 at 11:41 am

I used to use the coupon binder but it took WAY to much time!! I switched to the coupon box just like what http://www.moneysavingmom.com has and I love it!! I do cut out everything that I think I could use and write a date on the front of the insert and file it away. It works so much better!!! Thanks for your site!! I love all the coupons and matchups!!! :-)

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26 Mickey October 3, 2009 at 11:58 am

I read everyones posts and found that Ruth Ann and I have the most similar approach to our coupon organizing.
I tried the basball card binder system, but got frustrated because I couldn't fit all the coupons into the small pockets. Just trying took up alot of time. I've had a box of some kind or another since I started. I use evelopes to sort my 30 or so catergories. The box has evolved over time. It's got to have a lid and be the right size to fit in the seat of the basket. I have yet to find one that I organize my evelopes into 2 rows that I can read from front to back. Instead of one long row that I have to look at sideways when it's in the cart. I recently found a sewing bag/box that has handles and a lid on sale at WM for $9. It has a small zipper pouch on the inside for my scissors and pens. It also has 2 open pockets on each end that I can place the coupons and sort them as I shop.
Mickey
letsgosaving.com

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27 Sheri October 3, 2009 at 12:07 pm

I have found a plastic box, where the lid locks down and has a handle. I file coupons in envelopes by category. Air freshner, Baby, Box food, bread..... (about 80 envelopes) I do carry the box in when I shop. It fits perfect in the seat. I do keep a calculator in the box also. I found that carring the box in the store helps when you find a special sale or one that I didn't see in the sales paper. Because I have the categories broken out so much it is really easy to find certain items quickly.

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28 Terri Morneau October 3, 2009 at 12:10 pm

I have always organized coupons. I have an actual "coupon" box I purchased from Target several years ago. It has a hinged lid and latch top with carry handle. It's approximately 7 1/2" wide x 10" long and is deep enough for the coupons. It has seperate categories (these are basically dividers made of a tagboard type paper) with the category listed on them. An example of my categories are: Beverages, Cakes/Cookies, Canned, Dairy, etc. I go through each category at the end of the month and "weed out" those expired or about to expire. I love this!

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29 Karen October 3, 2009 at 12:40 pm

For all of you who are using the huge zippered binders, where are you finding them for a reasonable price? Thanks.

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30 Bri Clark October 3, 2009 at 12:46 pm

Binder method. savvyshopperdeals.com. Love it.
Bri Clark

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31 OldNuffToKnoBtr October 3, 2009 at 12:58 pm

I use an old envelope and arrange the coupons in aisle order. I usually go only to Krogers. If I find a sale I did not know about I find that store area in the envelope and see if there is a coupon to make the purchase worthwhile. I am thinking about changing to the binder method.

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32 Ashley October 3, 2009 at 2:16 pm

I JUST started using the binder method. I went to Walmart and got the zippered binder in the clearance section for only $5. It has a pocket in the front, a zippered pocket inside (for my pen, scissors, and Sharpie), and then another pocket on the side that is large enough to hold an entire insert. I bought page divider tabs and divided them into dairy, frozen, produce, etc. Then, I got a package of the baseball card protectors for about $5 each. Some coupons are too large to fit, so I have had to fold them. I also bought page protectors for the really big ones and will file them in the same section. For the coupons I don't use, but still want to keep, I will put the insert (dated) into the clear page protectors for "just in case". I tried the accordian folders to put the weekly inserts, but I became so frustrated searching every week for deals. I am loving my new system so far and I think it will work well for me, although it is very time consuming cutting coupons from the past two months!

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33 Amy October 3, 2009 at 2:21 pm

I use the coupon box method as described by Crystal at http://www.moneysavingmom.com. Works great for me!

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34 See Snapp Save October 3, 2009 at 2:36 pm

I've come up with my new favorite system...it is a combination of the insert method (where you label by dates) and the coupon box. The main organizer in my method is the box. It's broken down by category and also has a place for each store. I collect 5-10 sets of each insert, so when I gather all my inserts I label the front with the date. Then, I grab the first insert and quickly label each coupon with the date and the insert type, for example, 9/13 RP for September 13th RedPlum. I then clip that insert and file it in my box. All coupons received in the mail, from blinkies or by other means go straight into the box. When I plan my shopping trips, I clip needed coupons from the inserts and leave the origional from the box(that I filed, which was marked with the date) in the box, unless it is needed. I take all my dated inserts with my on my shopping day, but they stay in the car. If I find a great deal and need to clip coupons, I return to the car for what I need once I made all my selections. If I didn't have 2 small kids, I may consider taking both my box and inserts into the store with me, but I just can't pull that off. I've done it several different ways and this works best for me and maintaining the high number of inserts.

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35 Shay October 3, 2009 at 2:52 pm

I use baseball card holders and put them in a three ring binder. I then have labels with the following: cereal, frozen, toiletries, snacks, store coupons. This method works great for me. I have had several people stop me in the store to ask me about it. I then keep an envelope that says use today and I put the coupons I know I will be using that day in there and then if I come up with a great deal unexpectedly I just look through my coupons in there individual pockets. I do put more than one of that particular item in one pocket.

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36 Bethany October 3, 2009 at 2:55 pm

I use a 3 x 11 accordian style, expandable plastic thing (box/envelope) and have my coupons organized by type of food. Inside each section, I have them organized by expiration date with the earliest in front. I used to use a binder with baseball card pages, but after I had my baby this summer, I found I wasn't taking the time it took to put each of the coupons away. The accordian style file box/envelope works well for me because I can put it in my purse and take it with me. I also go through it before my trips and put the coupons in zip loc baggies labeled by store to help make checkout faster.

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37 Luci October 3, 2009 at 4:23 pm

I love the dealseekingmoms.com site. Here is how I keep track of my coupons. I use a pocket binder. All the coupons for the special deals of the week I put in the right side of the folder. I do not cut them. They are harder to sort through after they have been cut. Just put the whole page in there. On the left side pocket I staple an envelope to the pocket, and as I find the item , I pull the coupon and place it in the envelope which does not slow down the line at the register because I have my coupons ready. In the right side pocket I keep a list of the specials and the advertisment paper for the weekly specials with the items i want circled with a marker. Also the coupons close to expiration are kept behind the shop list on the left. I keep the coupons I am not using that week at home filed under category. This prevents overload in the store when shopping so I only have on hand what I may want for that week. Good luck shopping.

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38 Angela October 3, 2009 at 4:38 pm

I have a 1 1/2 inch binder and I bought dividers and clear inserts that hold 10 business cards, which I put my coupons in instead. I find it very easy to look at all my coupons and not have to shuffle through a stack of coupons. I feel very organized and have actually got compliments while I was shopping on how organized I was.

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39 amanda October 3, 2009 at 4:45 pm

I started out filing by date but it got messy really fast, and I could never find what I needed. In January, I bought the Couponizer as an experiment. There were some things that I loved about it (places for store coupons, etc.) but I hated that it was so hard to flip through the coupons in each category, certain categories (such as baby and shops/retail were stuffed full and overflowing) and it was unwieldy to use and carry around. Last month it started to totally fall apart so I replaced it with this method:
I have three small plastic coupon files in different colors. Each week I clip the coupons that I feel like I might possibly use and file the rest using date method. Sometimes I have to go back to them, but more often than not, I get all the good ones the first time. One is used for baby/kid items, one is for food and necessities, and one is for shopping and dining out (that is essential- we were always finding that we were out and needed to grab some food and didn't have the coupon, or we happened upon a great deal, but I knew I had a percent off coupon floating around at home). I keep all three in the car and grab the one that I need when I go into the store. And they actually fit in my purse, unlike the couponizer! I like this method because I actually have a place for everything, so as stuff comes in (like % off for Kohls or Macy's), I can file it as opposed to shoving it in a pile b/c I couldn't fit it in the Couponizer, or sticking it in a file folder that gets left at home. Plus, I don't have to carry as much around with me (no grocery coupons at the mall, for example) I hope that this method can help someone else- I haven't seen anyone else using it.

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40 Laura October 3, 2009 at 9:45 pm

I use the Binder method. I clip all (or most) of the coupons and put them into categories (dairy, meat, paper, etc.) I am very fortunate that my family, for the most part, doesn't really care what brand they consume. I carry a 3" binder with me to the store (the down side), but that way, I am prepared in case I find a super deal I can't pass up (the up side). I use trading card sleeves to put my coupons in. Because they are acetate, I use a dry erase marker to indicate coupons that are expiring that month. It wipes off easily and helps me avoid disappointment because a coupon I want to use is already expired (can you tell that has happened to me in the middle of the store?...lol) Not always, but sometimes you can take the child safety straps to bring the seat forward a bit to make a little shelf (my boys are old enough that they don't fit in that seat anymore).

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41 Alli October 3, 2009 at 11:24 pm

I use a small coupon pocket book that I keep with me at all times and I keep all of my inserts as they are in an organized storage box. There are pics in my post here
http://couponingfor4.blogspot.com/2009/08/few-key-ingredients.html

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42 Amy J October 3, 2009 at 11:33 pm

I use the 'old school' accordian folder. I have them labeled meats, breakfasts, baby, pets, household, and personal. Within those I have them paper clipped into smaller categories. Example: Breakfast includes - Cereals, Milk and Juices, Yogurts and Cheeses, Baking, Snacks. But I can hardly close my folder! I usually only carry 2 of each coupon that I am most likely to buy and the rest are at home in a shoebox and envelope. I put my 'this weeks' coupons in a separate envelope and they are also paper clipped according to store. I would like to find a bigger more organized purse at this time. My coupons take up all the space and I am always fumbling for keys, phone and wallet.

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43 Lucy October 3, 2009 at 11:48 pm

I am a single woman, shopping only for myself.

From the inserts, I only clip coupons for things, I think I actually will use.

I then leave the insert (with a date written on the front) in a stack in my magazine basket.

To take into the store, I keep a plastic accordian (business-envelope-size ) holder for my coupons. In it, I have the general categories:
groceries; personal grooming; household; special offers (i.e., rebates; oil change, restaurants, etc.)

Before going shopping - I look through each section, and pull out which coupons I will use and put those in the front section (and refresh my memory of what I have), and I also pull out expired coupons (to throw away), and put coupons 'on the verge' of expiring in the very front section too (to give me one last possible chance to use them).

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44 Jennifer October 3, 2009 at 11:53 pm

I use a couple different methods to stay organized....

http://www.once-upon-a-coupon.com/coupon-basics/organizing-coupons/

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45 caetie October 4, 2009 at 10:52 am

I haven't read through all the comments, so I'm sure someone else does it this way; but I use a photo album. I got the one that fits 75ish 4x6 pictures and I love it. With 75 spots, the categories can get really specific: i.e. toothpaste, dairy, diapers, make-up, etc. I even have a slot for each store I stop at to put my RRs and catalinas in. I love it!

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46 JP October 4, 2009 at 3:57 pm

I use the binder method with card holders.. HOWEVER, this can get overwhelming if you clip EVERY SINGLE coupon and try to file it all.
If you, DSM, have been couponing for quite some time, then you probably know what sales *usually* occur, and which coupons can get you the best deals (the high dollar Q's). This helps when trying to weed out the coupons you know you're probably never going to use (like I will probably never use Rogaine for Men.. so any coupon I get for this, I send out overseas).

Usually, I clip the coupons I know I'll need (any peanut butter ones, almost any of the dried goods stuff, most of the hair product stuff - shampoo, conditioners, and any oral related products - toothpaste, brushes, etc) but a lot of the other stuff (air fresheners, cleaners like windex, and a lot of the medicine Qs that I usually don't use) I tend to keep in a pile as I clip and then immediately mail off to the overseas folks.

I realized @ the beginning, while attempting to find my niche using the binder method, that I tended to hold on to a lot of coupons that I really didn't need and then felt bad when they were close to expiring. So much so that I'd go on a buying spree.

Since then (I've only been couponing for close to a year now), I've learned better. It also helps to subcategorize your labels. [I.E. I have a section labeled pet food. But within that label, I have two or three baseball cards dedicated to cat stuff and dog stuff. Same goes for Refrigerated Items. In that label I have all pillsbury q's, then milk/yogurt/dairy stuff, and then all other refrigerated items like oscar mayer meals.] You don't have to go too crazy with it.. Under household, I have laundry products, plastic/paper products, etc in each of their own baseball card labels but it's not like I have dividers under dividers under more dividers for each and every category - just their own baseball card sheet.

One a week, usually on Sundays or Tuesdays when I get my coupons and sort them out, I'll also go through the book before I start placing them in their holders to weed out any of the expired ones (which are grouped if they are like coupons.. so if I buy four papers, all four of the same coupon will go into one holder).
It usually only takes me about 1-1.5 hours a week to cut, sort, and put away the coupons.
Then another half hour on Tuesdays to go through the binder and pick out all the coupons I see a sale for or really need to go get.

Then, when I am shopping, I hold a small envelope (about 6x3) with all my coupons and they are each paperclipped according to grocery store/cvs/wags/etc.
I still bring the binder in with me, but usually, all the things I need coupons for are in my envelope.

If I do happen to see an unadvertised sale, then that's when I flip open the binder and find the coupon in it's respective place.

It's relatively easy and saves me from buying something not on sale but has a coupon.

<3 the site, best wishes.

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47 emily October 4, 2009 at 8:09 pm

I use a photo album with the magnetic sheets divided with tabs for different categories. It works really well because the coupons all stay in place and it is very easy to figure out if you have a coupon for a sale item or not. I love it!

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48 Holly October 5, 2009 at 9:22 am

I use an expandable coupon organizer that has tabs that I self-labeled in categories that work for me. I always use the last slot for "today's coupons" so they're easily accessible at checkout time. Any store-specific coupons I have get paperclipped together and left in this slot too. When I'm going to a store such as Target that allows both store and manufacturer coupons, I paperclip both the store and the manuf. coupons I plan on using together in this pile for more efficient shopping.

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49 Shawn M October 5, 2009 at 10:30 am

I've gone back & forth w/ the binder & filing inserts. I always felt like I was potentially missing out on unadvertised/clearance deal when I used the filing method.

So now I use the binder method. I have the zippered type of binder that has about 5 accordian files in the front where I keep weekly inserts, my shopping lists, etc. I also keep a small calculator & a pair of scissors in the front zippered pouch. I started out w/ baseball card holders, but they were just too small for me. I changed to horizontal photo holder/protectors. There are only 2 or 3 holders per page, but it is much easier for me than trying to cram all my coupons into the baseball holders.

The very 1st page of my binder is a sheet of 2 empty holders. In the bottom slot, I put all the q's I think I'm going to use for that shoppping trip. As I'm shopping, I move the q's that I am definitely going to use to the top slot. When I'm ready to check out, I just pull out all the q's from the top slot & hand over to the cashier.

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50 Heather October 5, 2009 at 5:50 pm

I use the binder method with the baseball card holders. I make my own catagories and change them as needed. I trim the coupons to fit without cutting any info off of them. I keep paperclips in the binder so that I can paperclip the ones that I am using for that trip. I put them in the order that I go throught my store so that I can flip as I walk the aisles. I put a "c" on my list next to items that I have a coupon for.

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