Organizing Your Coupons
You have been buying your Sunday Newspapers and you have a bunch of Coupon Inserts. You have also been printing coupons as they come out. Now what should you do with them?
Let’s get them organized! There are two things you need….
1) A Binder (This does not have to be anything fancy)
2) Inserts for your Binder (I like using Baseball card inserts)
I am now going to cover two ways of organizing your coupons. They are “Clipping and Storing” or “Select Clipping and Hanging”
Clipping and Storing
This means you will clip all of your coupons, and store them in your binder. When I first started, I had two binders. One for food products, and one for personal products. When I first started clipping, I set up my two binders this way.
My food binder I separated by the Alphabet. I had a page for Food Coupons that start with A, ones that start with B, and so on. (I know some people separate them by canned good, frozen, etc. but my brain does not work like that. I would rather have Activia under A, Old El Paso Under O, etc.) I printed out a page for each alphabet letter, punched holes in it, and put it in my binder. I also then had tabs that off the side of the pages that had A-D, E-G, etc. This way if I needed to find my Franks Hot Dog coupon, I just flipped to the E-G tab, and went to my F page. I also had a separate section and page for cereals. One page for Post Cereal, One page for General Mills, One for Kellogg’s, etc.
- Though this is time consuming compared to the “Select Clipping and Hanging” Method, a plus to clipping all your coupons, is that if you are often a random shopper that looks for bargains and clearance items, you will always have all your coupons with you!
My personal binder I did not separate by the Alphabet, I separated it by categories. Baby, Pet, Razors/Shaving Creams, Vitamins and Medicines, etc.
Select Clipping and Hanging
This means you will clip “selected” coupons for in your binder, and the rest you will put into Hanging File Folders in your filing cabinet. (You DO NOT need a huge metal filing cabinet; you can also get smaller plastic holders at your local stores) When my paper comes on Sunday, I clip the coupons I will most likely use and put them in my binders, and the other ones I put into their own hanging folder with a tab of the date they came out. For example…I have a folder with a 9/11 tab with all the coupons inserts from that week in it. Then another hanging folder with a tab date of 9/18, and all of those weeks’ coupons in it. I like this method, because often in the coupon world, you will hear someone say, Use the $1/1 coupon from the 9/18 Smart Source insert, or whatever the case may be. This way all I have to do is go to my filing cabinet, grab my 9/18 hanging folder, and find that coupon in it’s insert and cut them out then.
- A positive to this method is the fact that you spend A LOT less time clipping coupons.
- The downfall to this method is that when you shop, you will not have all your coupons with you. There have been times I have ran into a clearance item and new I had a coupon for it at home. If you do this method, a way to avoid this would be to have the smaller hanging file holder in your car.
A few other tips for organizing coupons…
- If you are like me, and buy a good amount of inserts and are going to do the “Clipping and Storing” method, I suggest separating all the pages from the inserts into like pages. Then put a staple in the coupons on the page. (NOT THROUGH THE SCAN CODE) This way you can clip all the like coupons at once. I do not suggest stapling more then five like pages together or they will slide when you try to cut them, and may cut off something important like the expiration date or the scan bar.
- Make and Excel file. If you get to the point that you have A LOT of coupons, make an excel spreadsheet. Include the products name, amount of the coupon, how many you have of that particular coupon, and the date and coupon insert that coupon was in. You may also want to put if it is in your binder or in your hanging file. I do this because when I see a product is on sale, I can search right within the file and see if I have a coupon for it! It also helps me see what coupons are expired so I can pack them up and ship them over seas to a Military family. (Families in our Military over seas can use expired coupons up to six months past their expiration date)