e-Course: Organizing Your Coupons

by Beth Montgomery on April 14, 2010 · 4 comments

in Coupons & Rebates, Tips & Basics

This is Part 14 of the 30-day Savings Soiree e-course by In Good Cents. View the most recent course in this series or head to the Saving Soiree e-course main menu.   Want to make sure you don’t miss a new course?   Subscribe to In Good Cents via RSS or e-mail!

We   have our coupons… and tons of them, so now what are we going to do with them?   When it comes to organizing your coupons, there is no right or wrong way.   It’s really all about what works for you.   I’ve tried many methods, until   I found the one for me. So, it may take you a while too, but that’s okay.

Like I’ve mentioned, to be a serious couponer, you can’t throw away a single coupon.   I see so many who   flip through the inserts pulling out coupons that look good to them at the time.   Then, a few weeks down the road when a great deal comes up, they realize that coupon that they skipped over and threw away, because it didn’t look so good then, now looks amazing… and it’s gone… forever

Unless you can look at a coupon and say, “I wouldn’t buy this if it was free”, then hold on to it.   It may be free sometime in the future with that exact coupon.   But since so many others are in need and you could use your power to donate the stuff your family won’t use, keep them all.   And with this many coupons, it’s a challenge to find something that holds them all.

- – Clip Them – -

Of course, there is the tried and true method of clipping every single coupon in the newspaper and that you come across, then filing them away under a certain category.     Of course, how you file them, is again up to you.   But with that many coupons, eventually, you’re going to need a BIG coupon holder.

Containers

Filing Methods

  • Alphabetically
  • Category/ Section
  • Expiration Date

Pros

  • Your coupons can be always on-hand and ready to go
  • You get to see all the coupons available while clipping, so you tend to know what you have on-hand

Cons

  • It’s time consuming to clip all those coupons
  • You have to search through all of them for expired coupons periodically
  • You’ll outgrow coupon holders that fit in your purse quickly

Time Saving Tips

  • If you get multiple inserts, stack them together to clip them quickly with one snip
  • Keep “like” coupons together
  • Make sure your container has a lid, so you don’t end up playing “the coupon pick-up game” in store when your toddler decides to drop them

Who Uses This Method

- – Don’t Clip Them – -

Have too many coupons or short on time?   Don’t clip them.   Many pro couponers don’t, because they just have too many to clip.   Simply file the inserts away by the date your received them and clip them when you plan to use them.

Containers

Filing Methods

  • Insert Date

Pros

  • You ‘ll have all the coupons on hand
  • It saves LOTS of time
  • It’s easy to find coupons that match deals on frugal blogs

Cons

  • You can’t carry all your inserts with you, so at stores you might not have a coupon on hand if you see a great deal or want to change up your shopping plan
  • It’s harder to find coupons without a coupon database, since you can’t just head to the “baby” section to pull out a diaper coupon
  • It takes up a lot of space to keep all the inserts and magazines
  • You’ll have loose coupons from samples, the internet, and other sources

Time Saving Tips

  • Write the date on each insert in LARGE BOLD print to find it quickly
  • Add the date the last coupon expires from the insert to the front too, so you know when you can throw out the insert
  • Use clear dividers in binders to see your coupons easily

Who Uses This Method

- – The Combo – -

I tried clipping, but I’d get so far behind and my coupon holder was outrageously large.   So, I tried not clipping, but often missed great deals, because I didn’t have coupons I needed on hand.   So, now I do a combination.

Each week, I look through the insert and clip coupons that I often use, often find great deals on, and for product I love.   Then, I leave the rest in the insert.   I use a black marker to put the insert date and the date the last coupon expires in bold on the top where I can quickly find it and easily see it.

I have a small wallet-size coupon organizer that   doesn’t have a lot of personality, but gets the job done.   And I keep it in my purse, so I always have my coupon that I typically use with me.   Plus, I have envelopes in the front for coupons I plan to use and a special place for high-value or FREE coupons that I definitely want to use, so I don’t forget I have them and can check them out in store.   Then, I hijacked space in my husband’s file cabinets to stick the coupon inserts by date.

Pros

  • Its saves me TONS of time
  • I usually have coupons on-hand
  • I have somewhere to put those loose coupons from samples, internet. etc…
  • I don’t waste time clipping coupons I’ll never use

Cons

  • Sometimes I don’t have a coupon on hand when I find a great price in-store
  • It’s harder to find coupons without a coupon database, since you can’t just head to the “baby” section to pull out a diaper coupon
  • It takes up a lot of space to keep all the inserts and magazines

Tell me. How do you organize your coupons???

- – Additional Resources from Previous Posts – -

Confused or want more help? Don’t forget that I teach classes and speak in the Central Indiana area! Use the code ClippingMyBudget to get $10 off a public class.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Leah April 14, 2010 at 5:31 PM

Question, what do you do with your store coupons that are stackable? Like Target’s? Do you put them with the item so like if it is diapers it stays with the manufacturer coupon or does it get it’s own?

Thanks,
Leah

Reply

2 Beth Montgomery April 14, 2010 at 5:58 PM

Leah, I have a category for “Target” and “CVS”, so that those coupons don’t get lost or mixed up. I even stick my ECB and stuff in those sections, so I remember that I have them and to use them.
.-= Beth Montgomery ´s last blog ..Target: More Cheap Special K Deals!! =-.

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3 Katie April 16, 2010 at 9:31 AM

I keep mine together so that I remember to stack them. I think this is one of those “whatever works best for you” situations.

Reply

4 carrie April 14, 2010 at 5:58 PM

currently in the dollar section at target there are small, expandable coupon organizers – i bought one and love using it for this purpose!

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