Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Organizing your Coupons

So far, in my couponing endeavors, the most challenging thing has been trying to keep my coupons organized.  I have so many different types of coupons accumulating that it's hard to keep them all organized in a way that I can effectively use them.  I have newspaper inserts, coupons that I've printed, coupons that have come in the mail, ones I've picked up in stores, etc.

At first I was keeping them in big stacks.  I would write the date on the front of the newspaper inserts so I could find a certain coupon easily when it is referenced in one of the blogs or websites I frequent.  This got old really quickly.  The piles started to get mixed together and it became a big mess.

My second attempt was using envelopes.  Being a new couponer I'm still learning which coupons are better than others and will get me the best deals, until I have a good grasp on that I've been saving all the coupons from my Sunday papers.  In my envelope attempt I was cutting out every coupon from the inserts and putting them in an envelope labeled with the date and the name of the insert.  As I'm sure you can guess, this became incredibly tedious.

In my latest attempt I'm using post-it notes and page protectors.  I write the date of the paper that the insert came in and then put it in a page protector that is then put into a large binder.  I also put coupons I've printed, rebate forms, and all my other coupons into the page protectors.  This seems like the easiest way to keep them organized and uses minimal effort so I'm not endlessly cutting out coupons that I may or may not use.

In addition to this I keep a small accordion file in my purse.  Each store I regularly frequent (Hannaford, Rite Aid, etc) has a slot so when I make out my shopping list for each place and organize my coupons there's a place for them to go to keep them separated and organized.

Here are some other approaches that may work for you -

  • Separating coupons into envelopes by product type (meat, beauty products, soaps & detergents, etc.).  Once they're in the respective envelopes, keep them in a shoe box or small plastic tote.  Another alternate to the envelope method is to sort them by the month that they expire so you can quickly dispose of those that are no longer current.
  • Use an accordion file and separate the coupons just as we discussed above.  Keep the first file empty and use it to store the coupons you plan to use on your next shopping trip.  Make sure to purchase (or make) one with file tabs that you can label with product types or month.
  • Use an index card file box and either buy or make cardboard dividers to separate the coupons.  
You can also organize coupons in alphabetical order by product name using any of the above methods.

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