Wednesday Words of Wisdom – Coupon Organization

There are so many different ways to store your coupons and I have tried a few. Each person will eventually find what works best for their style of shopping. I will discuss the 2 ways that I have tried and the pros and cons of each method.

Coupon Binders:

Some people like to cut out the coupons each week and store them in binders to take with them to the store. You can either buy a pre-made coupon binder or make your own. When I tried this method, I bought 9 pocket baseball card holders from Walmart and a 3 ring binder and made my own. Then I bought divider tabs and labeled them with things like “cleaners”, “frozen foods”, “pet products”, etc. They also make 3 slot coupon pages for coupon binders for the bigger/longer coupons

What I like about this method is that you always have the coupons you need with you in case you find a clearance deal or unexpected in-store sale. It is a good method for those that aren’t extreme couponers!!!

What I didn’t like about this method is that it was a LOT of work to cut out coupons that I may never need. Also I get 20-30 coupon inserts each week when I recycle so there isn’t enough room in each card slot to put that many of the same coupon. Also I was constantly having to go through it to clear out expired coupons because my binder would get so big or too full to fit more coupons.

If you don’t have a lot of coupons, you may only need a small coupon wallet (I used one like this when I first started couponing, but it was just way too small for the amount of deals I do each week).

File Folder/Filing Cabinet:

This is the way I currently keep my coupons and for ME this works best. I make file folders for each week’s inserts. For example, I have a folder labeled 5/2 SS, and one labeled 5/2 RP (for those that don’t get a lot of inserts each week, you may only need one folder labeled with just the date).

What I like about this method is that you don’t have to cut coupons until you need them for a sale. When you see on a blog that the coupon was found in the 5/2 SS, you can go to your filing cabinet and pull out that file and then cut the coupon. Then I use mini binder clips to keep together each store’s shopping list with the coupons I need for the trip. That way when I go into a store, I only have to bring in one small stack of coupons.

What I don’t like about this method is that you don’t have coupons with you at the store for unexpected clearance finds and in-store sales. Also I ran out of room in my first filing cabinet and now have a second one in the garage (keep in mind that I get 20-30 inserts each week so my file folders are FULL).

Something I started recently is that I bought a file tote box (free after Office Depot rewards) and bring my P&Gs; with me since those items are usually what I find clearance deals on. This has helped me quiet a bit. I just have to go out to the van to get my coupons and not all the way home.

How do you store your coupons???

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Comments

  1. Debbie M. says:

    I, too, used to clip my coupons each week. Then, after finding your website I started buying more than 2 papers – I'm getting about 8 now. I could never keep up with the clipping. A week would go by and I still didn't clip last week's coupons. (not to mention my little corner of the family room was a MESS!). So now I use a little storage tote with file folders in it. It works great. I do, however, miss out on having my coupons with me for clearance finds, but……..I KNOW there is always another "deal" around the corner.

  2. I use a binder, but I no longer clip coupons. I use the baseball card sheets for loose coupons-tearpads, blinkies, coupons from the mail, etc. Then behind that I have page protectors with each weeks inserts in them. I usually only have 2 sets, but if I do get more, I keep the extras in a file at home. I only carry 2 sets with me. I print out the weekly coupon preview, date it and slide it in front of those inserts so I have a quick reference if I do find something on sale or clearance.

  3. Jennifer says:

    I buy 2 coupon inserts a week, and file by date in a file box. Then I keep a small coupon organizer in my purse, for internet coupons, misc. coupons from magazines, catalinas, or ones that I clip because I'm sure I'll use them eventually. I don't get to browse clearance too often, as I usually have a small child in tow. I like to get everything organized at home, so this works for me.

  4. Nicole Hoekstra says:

    Since getting into couponing, I've tried just about everything and have certainly wondered many times how "the pros" do it (lol). So I finally figured out what works best for me…I bought a 26 pocket file folder with a handle and I have my coupons separated by letter. I combined the last few letters for some space in the back where I keep my sale ads and store specific envelopes. So when I go to the store I grab my envelope for that particular store already organized and ready to go but also my file folder so if I find so good deal I have all my coupons in hand and I just find what I need easily. I also keep plastic zipper pockets in the back – one for eating out, one with gift cards, one with rewards cards, etc. Oh and I just keep my entertainment book in the van all the time. I don't get 20 or 30 inserts though; maybe 2 – 4. This works perfectly for me! Oh, and I cut out pretty much everything I think there is a possibility that I might use and keep the inserts in a stack on a file tray on the desk. It may seem crazy to some to carry the whole coupon file folder every time but I have found that with a baby this works best for me. :-)

  5. I keep my clipped coupons in packets according to which store I'm most likely to use them at. Grocery coupons in one, Walgreens and CVS in separate packs, Target and Walmart together, etc. Then all my packets and rebate forms go in a canvas pouch that I carry with me. I keep the inserts for a few months in case a good deal comes along for an item that I havent clipped the coupon.

  6. Nicole, do you have a picture of your organizer? I would be interested to copy what you do, thank you for sharing..

  7. Coupon Mamacita says:

    Amy, great post. It will certainly help me lots! I need to change my current method, it is getting outa hand! Thanks for sharing!!

  8. faithgirl2299 says:

    I couldn't figure out how to post a pic but here is a link to my blog that shows my coupon organizer. I do the insert method and each drawer has a specific week in it. =)
    http://publixcouponqueen.blogspot.com/2010/04/where-do-you-get-all-those-coupons.html

  9. It’s funny, I started out with the filing the whole inserts away system & now use the binder method.
    When I find out about a last minute killer deal the night that a sale is ending, I can just got to my section in the binder & grab the coupons & go. Before I had to grab the inserts, pull out the coupon & cut them. If I received any inserts from friends the coupons could be in a different section or part of the page so those had to be clipped separately. If I had any loose coupons I had to look there as well. Sometimes, I would look at the sale & think that I just didn’t want to deal with cutting and searching for coupons right them.
    Also, when someone blogs about the upcoming sale cycle featuring items that I want, I can look in less than a minute to see if I still have those coupons needed or if I already used them, if my coupon is the same value and worth using to stock pile on, or if I only have a few & need to order them quickly to have them mailed to me RIGHT NOW before the sale cycle ends.
    I spend less time cutting than I used to with the insert method as I can lay out all my sheets, which I would do at some point anyway, cut all my coupons at once, again I would do that if I needed the coupon, and file them quickly in each section. Before I had to grab all the 7/25 RP, all the 6/13 SS,… to cut 1 coupon from each.
    Plus, because they are cut, I can easily trade with others if I need to without thinking about all the additional work “just to trade” and when I call my husband about a deal I saw at a store I was just at while running the rest of my errands, he can grab the needed coupons & grab the items & I can keep on with my errands.
    For the most part my binder stays at home, unless I know I’m going to hit a bunch of stores & will be checking the clearance section.
    Don’t know if that helps anyone, but I thought I’d offer my experience.

  10. Why would you need 20-30 inserts each week?

    • I don’t get that many any more, my stockpile is big enough now that i only get about 10 each week now when I go recycling. The best way to stockpile is to get multiple inserts so you can get several of the item when its free or super cheap so that you won’t have to buy it full price when you run out. Try to get to the next sale with each stockpiled item

  11. sharon lynn says:

    Amy,
    Where do you put your printed online coupons, tearpads, blinkies, etc?
    Do you make a separate list for each store and then clip the coupons with the list?
    What if you clip and don’t use all the coupons that you clipped for a trip; store didn’t have the right amount, or the coupon wasn’t a match, where do you put those coupons?
    Do you take all the clipped printed, blinkies, tearpads with you in an organizer, or do you leave them at home?
    and my last question, hehe….maybe, I have so many.
    What about CVS machine coupons? do they stay clipped with a mini binder clip; and how do you keep your ECB and all the $5/25 coupons??
    Still searching for the best method!!

    • I HAVE NO METHOD FOR THOSE hahaha

      I have shelves on my desk and one shelf is printable, tear pad and peelie food items and one shelf is all the nonfood items…. then if you go in my van I have 1000 other printable, tear pad and peelie coupons laying EVERYWHERE… I need to get more oragnized on those hahaha

  12. sharon lynn says:

    Oh man….I thought you had ALL the answers. hehe!

    All the CVS coupons and ECB, really make me crazy at time….I have to figure out what will work.

    Thanks :)

  13. sharon lynn says:

    I would say one more question, but I feel that you probably know me better than that by now! hehe

    Do you take a bag/tote with all your flyers, store coupon policies, store booklet/coupons, etc… with you into the stores?

  14. I organize my coupons in labeled envelopes in my purse. I have one for paper products/cleaning products, another for shampoo/razors/soap, another for cereal/breakfast bars, etc… Then at store I have what I am shopping for all in one envelope. All the others are in my purse as needed!

  15. I had a hard time keeping organized for the almost daily trips to different stores, so I went to the dollar store next to the post office in Waterford and found these heavy duty clear plastic zipper pouches! I’d say they are 8 x 10. Bought 5, they had student stickers, and a dry erase marker inside, I just donated the stickers and markers to the school.. anyway what I do is have one pouch for each store (Publix, CVS, Target, etc.) I keep it with me with my shopping list and Q’s for that store. That way all I have to do is grab that one pouch and run in. I can put the receipt back in the same pouch should I need to go back for a return, exchange or refund later. Hope that helps! ;)

    Cori

  16. Gabriels says:

    I agree, an important aspect to making the most of coupons is staying organized.
    I don’t print coupons until I need them until then I save my grocery coupons online using this free online app I found on eventbin.com
    Plus with a smart phone version coming soon I can access it from anywhere.

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