For the first eight or so years Jay and I were married, I didn’t use coupons. None. (I know, what was I thinking?) The Sunday paper would come, I would leaf through the sale fliers, and toss the coupons aside. I thought they were all for processed foods we never used and that I didn’t have the time to cut them out.
But really, I just needed to come up with a system to organize my coupons!
Whether you have been couponing for years or you are just getting started knowing how to organize your coupons is a must. If your coupons are unorganized you chance missing out on free or deeply discounted products and we sure don’t want to do that! There are many different ways to organize your coupons that will fit any personality or shopping style.
There is one very important tip I want to go over with you before we begin organizing your coupons. There are expiration dates on coupons and it is very important to make it easier to find them because you are going to be dealing with a large amount of coupons. It is much easier if you take the time to color code your expiration dates with a different colored highlighter for each month. For instance if you use blue for January then when February first rolls around you can grab all the coupons that have the expiration date highlighted in blue because you know all these have expired.
How to Organize Your Coupons
Coupon Binder Method– Having a coupon binder is a great way to organize your coupons. There are a few things that you need to get to make a coupon binder.
What you will need (I’ve linked to the ones that I’ve purchased and loved)
- 3- Ring binder (I have had better luck when they are at least 2-3 inches thick)
- Baseball card holders (approximately 15-20, this varies greatly on the amount of coupons you have)
- Pens, pencils and notebook (use the notebook for taking notes or tracking prices)
- Zippered Pencil Pouch
- A copy of each stores coupon policy that you frequent
- Folder (for holding coupon policies)
- Highlighters (for highlighting expiration dates)
- Dividers (to place in the binder to make categories)
- Place the 3-ring binder in the front of your folder for the pens, pencils, calculator and notebook (if it will fit)
- Place the baseball card holders with the openings facing up toward the ceiling when you’re holding it. This is pretty important because when you are in the store they will fall all over the floor if they are not in there right.
- Highlight the expiration date before placing them in the coupon organizer. Place the dividers in the 3 ring binder to separate categories of coupons. I have listed the categories below that I use in my binder.
- Canned/Jar/Boxed Food
- Personal Care
These are some great binder options for keeping you coupons organized.
Case-it Open Tab Velcro Closure 2-Inch Binder with Tab File, Purple, S-816-PURCase-it Mighty Zip Tab 3-Inch Zipper Binder, Black, D-146-BLKCase-it Universal 2-Inch 3-Ring Zipper Binder, Holds 13 Inch Laptop, Purple, LT-007-PUR
Other tools you need for the binder system:
AmazonBasics Chisel Tip Highlighters – Pack of 121 Red Zippered Pencil Case by School Smarts – 3 Ring Red Pencil Pouch for Binder with Mesh and plastic window. For Use in and Out of the Classroom.Avery Write & Erase Durable Plastic Dividers with Pockets, 8 Multicolor Tabs, 1 Set (16177)
The Mini Organizer
You can find many different sizes of mini accordion style coupon organizers pretty much anywhere. They are much lighter than the coupon organizer and much easier to lug around. They usually have around 8-10 slots which work well in keeping them in separate categories. If you plan on keeping each and every coupon that you come across you may find that you outgrow the mini organizer very quickly but it works really well for some and is much easier on the back!
There are some really cute options for accordion style organizers:
Expandable Coupon Organizer – BlackCoupon Organizer for Grocery Shopping Holder for Coupons, Canvas Chevron Pattern, Grey ColorModern Grocery Coupon Organizer Wallet & Extreme Coupon Holder. Set Includes 24 Plastic Coupon Cards Dividers and Stickers. Material Canvas.Evelots 4025 Expandable Grocery Coupon Organizer Binder & Coupon Holder, Floral Coupon OrganizerKitchenka Purse Coupon Organizer RC-Line 13-Pocket Poly Expanding File, 10 x 5 Inches, Junior Size for Receipts and Checks, Includes Tabs, 1 File, Color May Vary (58710)
Keeping Whole Inserts
Keeping whole inserts is a great time saver because instead of cutting each and every coupon you actually keep the inserts whole and file them in a box. It’s much easier if you take a permanent marker and write on the front of each insert the date the paper came out and the name of the insert.
When you search on a coupon database to find the coupons that you are looking for they will advise you of the name of the insert (redplum, smart source or P&G) and the date it was printed. Keeping them filed by date and name will help you quickly find the coupon and cut it out when needed. This method saves you tons of time by not clipping the coupons you don’t use. The downfall is carrying a big box of inserts with you may be quite heavy and leaving them at home may cause you to miss a good deal. My advice would be to take it with you and leave it in the car. That way if you find an unadvertised deal you won’t have to go far for the coupon.