Organizing Your Coupons

Clipping:

The fastest way to clip your coupons is to do it all at once.  Separate the pages of each duplicate insert and then stack the like pages together.  Hold on to the stack and clip.  I clip mine 3 at a time.  It takes me about a half an hour to clip and file my inserts when I get them all at once.

 

Filing:

Everyone files and organizes their coupons a little differently, but the most popular methods are by binder, by insert or a combination of both.

 

Coupon Binder:

A coupon binder is great method to use if you like to carry all your coupons with you when you go to the store.  It does take a little extra time to file them this way, but is also much more organized.  If you like to clip every available coupon then this is probably the best method to use.  I clip about 90% of the 3 inserts I regularly receive and file any remaining inserts by date in a file cabinet.  Using a binder makes it very easy to see what coupons you have available.

You can make one of these very easily using a regular binder that you buy in the office supply store.  Purchase a couple of sets of plastic baseball card holders to file your coupons in.  Business card holders tend to be too small and photo holders tend to be too big.  I have to fold about half my coupons to get them to fit into the baseball card slots.  Some people have elaborate methods for putting these things together.  Mine is pretty basic:  I have a couple of pocket index dividers in the front, baseball card holders for the coupons and I made the index tabs from post-it notes covered in tape.  My binder has a pocket on the inside where I put all my ads and a zipper pocket in the back where I keep a pen and a small pair of scissors.  I organize my coupons by type – beverage, dairy, bread, snacks, etc..  Some people do them alphabetically and other people like to organize them by the how their store is arranged.  Mine zips up and has a handle, which I really like.  Mine is also very thick so I carry it in a large tote bag.  The idea is to have it on hand in case I see an unadvertised sale or clearance item.  Here is a picture of my very worn out binder!

By Insert:

Some people like to clip only what they use regularly or they going to use for a particular sale.  They file their inserts by date in a manila folder and then pull and clip them as needed.  Most coupon matchup lists (I will post one later) will specify what insert a particular coupon is in.  This is by far the fastest method, but the disadvantage is that you may not have what you need if you run into an unexpected sale or exactly which insert to look in.  There are coupon databases available on the Internet for situations like this, but you would still have to return to the store to go get the item later.

 

Binder/Insert:

I know a few people who clip only what they think they will use and then carry the actual inserts in a small binder, which they often leave in the car.  If they see an unexpected sale item then they will go to the car, clip the coupon and go back in.  I have tried this method myself, but find my memory isn’t good enough to remember what I have unclipped.

 

Preparing for your shopping trip:

Some people like to make a list and just take their coupons out at the store.  I find the best way to prepare for the ad is to pull the coupons first.  I have a large manila envelope marked for each store I am going to.  I pull out the coupons and paperclip the like ones together and then I arrange them in the envelope by the store aisle.  If I don’t have time to look at a coupon matchup list then I’ll just open the store ad, get out my binder and pull every coupon for items in that ad that I might want to purchase.  I usually pull at least 3 coupons of each item and leave them in the envelopes until the sale is over.  Often I’ll add to the envelope as I read about deals I might have missed and make another trip to the store before the ad is over.

 

Coupon Database:

A Coupon Database is simply a long list of coupons that are currently available and where you can find them.  Bloggers pay to host them and I do currently offer one.  I like to use the one on A Full Cup (you may have to create a free count there first).  All coupons are listed in alphabetical order and when you click on one it will tell you what type of coupon it is and where it is located.  If it is from a Sunday insert then it will tell you which one.  By the way, the dates are located on the Insert spine in tiny print (just in case you didn’t date it when you got it).  If the coupon is from a magazine then it will tell you which one.  Keep in mind that it is a good idea to print at least some Internet coupons in advance because the printable sites (I will cover this later) track how many have been printed and sometimes will take the coupons off early.  Printable coupons also run in month long cycles so a database may be referring to one that is no longer available to print.

Posted by: on November 7, 2010 under