How to Organize Your Coupons

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photo credit: philsnextkick

Coupon clutter (piles of loose coupons) can become overwhelming more quickly than you’d think.  And it can cause you to miss out on some great, money-saving deals.  If you’re going to do this couponing thing, I strongly advise you to be as organized as possible.

When you become an Extreme Couponing Extraordinaire, your coupons become as valuable to you as cash.  And who doesn’t keep their dollars in a safe place?  Losing a $10 bill is a big deal!  So is misplacing the coupons that were your ticket to receiving multiple grocery items for free.

Like your cash, your coupons need their own safe place.  They need to be protected from tearing, crumbling, fading, baby drool, dog drool, inclement weather, fire, and any other bad thing that could possibly happen to them.  Yes, I’m a little dramatic.  But the thought of wasting money this way literally hurts my stomach.

So what are you supposed to do with your rapidly growing mountain of coupons?  Surely, they won’t fit in a wallet…  Try organizing them in one of two simple ways:  by category or by date.

ORGANIZING BY CATEGORY

This seems to be the most common coupon organization method.

  • Binder

Use baseball card sleeves to display your individually clipped coupons in sections listed categorically (Bread, Meat, Oral Hygiene, Lotion, Batteries, Laundry Care, etc.)

Pros:  Less time spent shopping – You can quickly reference the coupons you have when you come across an unexpected deal while shopping.  If you use a zippered binder, coupons remain organized despite being jostled or dropped.

Cons:  More time (1-2 hours per week) spent clipping and organizing.

**This is the method I use.  I’ll post a more detailed tutorial on creating your own binder soon.

  • Coupon Box or Accordion File

Drop clipped coupons into slots designated to specific categories.

Pros:  Less time spent organizing than when using a binder with baseball card sleeves.  Less time spent searching for coupons while shopping than when organizing by date.

Cons:  More time spent clipping than when organizing by date.  More time spent shopping than when using a binder with baseball card sleeves, as coupons are not as visible or easily accessible.  Higher chance of disorganization if jostled or dropped.

ORGANIZING BY DATE

  • Binder

Use full-page, transparent sleeves to hold entire inserts or full pages of inserts.  Arrange sections by name of insert and the date it was released.  Be sure to include a printed list that tells which coupons are included in each insert.  List them alphabetically for easier reference.  Cross them off the list once you’ve used them so that you don’t find yourself wasting time searching for a coupon you don’t have.

Pros:  Less time spent clipping coupons you won’t use (you won’t use the vast majority of them!).

Cons:  More time spent searching for and clipping coupons while shopping.

Now that you know where to get your coupons and how to organize them, you’re finally ready to learn how to get the most bang for your buck.  In the next Couponing 101 lesson, you will learn how to most effectively use your coupons in order to purchase items at rock-bottom prices, even free!  If you have any questions about the process so far, please leave it in the comments.   I’m happy to help you in any way I can!

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