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Tell Me How Tuesday – Coupon organization

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We continue the Tell Me How Tuesday series with Coupons 101. Check out previous posts:

This weeks topic: COUPON ORGANIZATION

There are so many ways to organize coupons – boxes, binders, files – I could go on and on. What I will try to do is expose you to what I do – which continues to change as I do more – as well as let you know other methods I have seen that work for others. You need to be the ultimate judge as to what works for your lifestyle.

I actually use a combination of methods.

No matter what method you use, a good starting point is to combine all your inserts into one SUPER insert. This will aid in clipping (if that is what you are going to do) OR filing and finding later.

1. Tear the inserts apart, careful not to ruin barcodes

2. I get multiple copies of each insert, so I lay the entire insert out and pile all the page 1’s together, then page 2 and so on… and staple them together.

3. Then, I write the date on each stapled set
(KrazyCouponLady has great photos.)

If you are going to clip, clip – you can now clip multiple pages at the same time – cool, huh! If you are going to file, place them all back together into one SUPER INSERT. NOTE: not all paper’s inserts are the same!! Though I strive to do this, I have had a horrible time because the Boston Globe and Boston Herald have different inserts. I get the Globe, but get both Globe and Herald from family. Even if they have the same coupons, they are on different pages – AHHHH!!! If at all possible, get the same paper.

File Inserts – easiest method

As I started to blog and read blogs, I realized that a lot of the deals reference past newspaper inserts. If I just clipped what I though I might need, I would have tossed the rest (oh – COUPON SIN – throwing money away!!) They might be for products that I would not normally buy, but if it is cheap or FREE it is for me. This is the EASIEST WAY to start couponing.

When you get your inserts each week, write the date on the front of them and file by date. That way, when I make my shopping list, I can just head to the file and clip the coupons WHEN I NEED THEM.

DOWNFALL: If I run into an unadvertised clearance I do not have my coupons with me. With small children at this point, carrying them all would be too difficult, so if the deal is that great, I will go back later in the week with my coupon.

Coupon Binder Inserts

I have now morphed into also using a binder for my inserts. As I started clipping the coupons, my file was getting unruly. So I have started to place each weeks inserts in sheet protectors in a binder. NOTE – I do not yet carry this binder with me – more on that later.

Each set of inserts for the week has its own sheet protector. Once the insert is about 2 months old, I will go through and clip all the coupons. I separate the expired ones for overseas military bases . Any that are not expired I clip together with a paper clip and put a post it on the pile to know what date they came from and refile them in the sheet protector. This helps minimize the SIZE of the binder.

I eventually see myself potentially morphing even further to Heather’s method on KrazyCouponLady. She does this binder method, but she also prints a list for each weeks coupons that she files (I am working on figuring out an easy way to do this since I cannot find a general Boston coupons list – stay tuned). She carries her binder with her and just flips through the pages if she finds a clearance deal. This is ideal for me, have the coupons with you, but not wasting TONS of time clipping ALL THE COUPONS!

Binder – CLIPPED COUPONS
A lot of people do this one.

This consists of CLIPPING EVERY COUPON and filing them by category in a binder. Most people use baseball card holders or 4×6 photo holders. This ensures you have all your coupons with you for unadvertised deals and makes it easy to weed out expired ones.

KrazyCouponLady – Joanie does this

UtahDealDiva – has an excellent post detailing the coupon binder method!

I just do not have the energy at this point to lug all those coupons around.

OTHER METHODS and HOW to Store Printable coupons:
MoneySavingMom uses a coupon box .

You may be wondering what I do with all my internet coupons, coupons I may have clipped and not used, or my extra bucks and register rewards. I use this:

I have each section labelled by category and I have STORE categories in the front – CVS, Walgreens, Shaws, etc.
When I plan a trip, I gather all my coupons from the inerts and group them together by store so I am ready at check out. This is what works for me. There are many types of coupon carriers for your purse – books, accordian files, etc. They are everywhere.

The most important thing is to not stress. You need to figure out what works for you and that ay change over time. Deals come by all the time. If you miss one now, there will always be another.

If you are a visual person, PinchingYourPennies has an excellent video below describing everything I explained above:

Hope that helps you out. Which way do you prefer??

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Have you found any great deals?? I would love to hear from you!! Post a comment & share your thoughts!! If you like this post, share with a friend or Subscribe to Maven of Savin’ by Email or feed!! THANKS!
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Comments

  1. lyn..
    i file my coupons by products,,, catsup,,,,salad dressing,,,,,etc
    i have a box with dividers..i make my list,,,,,,,,,,,,go to store with box,,
    see what brands on sale,,, go to file pull out coupons….that way any sales
    or clearence i have coupons with me
    works for me but maybe i don’t have as many coupons as you yet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    thanks

  2. I file by category and I have three of those little coupon holders. One holder is for food, one for non-food and the third is by store. When I go to a store I take the first two and only the specific store stuff from the third. That way it all fits in my purse. My reusable bags in the cart create a flat spot to go through my coupons in the store. Again, I don’t have as many as you, but I’ve got lots more than before I started following your blog.

  3. Thanks for the organizing tips! I use an accordian file and carry empty paper envelopes with store names on the front. I put the weekly matchups in each store’s envelope for that week so I can easily locate them at the store. I keep an empty clear zippered bag, too. I put coupons in the zippered bag as I load items in my cart so that I don’t foget any at checkout.

  4. Not sure if you are aware of this or not, but there is a website you do need to sign up for it www. couponmom.com that has lists of all the coupons by states and regions. I use it alot when I am out shopping. I do alot of clearance/unadvertised shopping which keeps my food budget down alot, so as I’m going through the clearance shelves i can look up the coupons with my phone on the website. It is an awesome site IMO. I live in the NE of boston and use the New England one, once in a while i find a coupon not listed in NE section, but in other states. Its not perfect but it works for me 99% of the time.

    • YES – Melissa, I do use her site for local coupons. I need to update the post – it is an older one – LOL! Thanks for the reminder.

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