Couponing 101: Stay Organized

Posted by eisor Sunday, February 1, 2009

Organization is key! You’ll have a very difficult time couponing if you don’t begin organized. There are a few different methods for organizing your coupons.

Whole Inserts – You can keep the inserts in tact and file them in envelopes or file folders. Then file them by date. Each insert has a date on it’s spine, so it’ll be easy to identify which week the insert came from.



Clipped Coupons – You can clip all your coupons and then put them in a binder (with baseball card pages) or an expandable organizer. You can organize alphabetically or by category.



I prefer to keep my inserts whole. I feel that clipping all of my coupons is a waste of time. I usually don’t use enough of them to make it worth all the work involved with clipping them all. I file my whole inserts by date and store them in file crates. Then, I clip the coupons only when I’m ready to use them.

Don’t throw away any coupons until they are expired. Seriously. You never know what you might buy or what deal might come along. But, once coupons expire, be sure to clean them out of your files. You can donate them to military families (who can use coupons up to 6 months expired) or just toss them.

It is so extremely important to stay organized. Experiment with different methods and find what works for you.

When I first started couponing over a year ago, I began with the binder method. This meant that each week I clipped about 5 sets of inserts and put them in my binder. What was I thinking?!?!?! This method was so time consuming. I quickly advanced to 20 inserts a week and things just started piling up. There was NO way I was going to have that much time to clip them all. Plus, I found that I was only using about 10% of the coupons I clipped. To me it was a waste of time.

I moved on from there to a file crate system where I store whole inserts. I found that it worked best for me to not even bring the coupons in my apartment. They remained in my car and I sorted them at the recycling center. I filed each insert into a hanging file folder by date. (You can see the date on the seam of the insert.) This was great.

When my sister, Liz, started getting 100+ inserts a week, I stopped picking up my 30 inserts that I was getting. We just shared the ones she had. I absolutely LOVE her organization method. She stores her uncut inserts the Office Max 15% off promotional paper bags. These bags come a couple times a year and she keeps all of them. Then, she sorts her coupons right into the bags. On the outside of the bag, she writes the date and type of insert (RP, SS, P&G). This way, when all the coupons in the insert are expired, the whole bag just gets thrown into recycling. It’s a really great system that is working for both of us really well.

Here are the bags of coupons (notice the labeling in red):

Here is the van piled high for recycling:

Have you picked an organizational system? How are you organizing the inserts you’ve obtained?

Reader Response

Having a hard time getting coupons?
Be sure to ask your neighbors, coworkers, friends and family. Try asking friends from church if they could bring their inserts to you at church each Sunday. If you can’t get free inserts, look into finding discounted newspapers. The Sunday paper in Atlanta is $2 (YIKES!). But, there are vendors who stand on street corners selling it for $1. Or, there is a two pack at the stores for $2.50.

There are also some online clipping sites where you can pay a handling fee for coupons. You are not actually paying for the coupons, you are paying for the seller’s time & effort to clip them. – sells whole inserts and clipped coupons – sells clipped coupons – sells clipped coupons – sells clipped coupons

Of course, there is always ebay. A lot of people haven’t thought about purchasing coupons on ebay. But, you can purchase whole inserts as well as clipped coupons. Be sure to shop around if you plan to purchase coupons online. Some sites charge more than others.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in a comment. We’ll try to answer them each week in the Reader Response section.

Sunday Savings: Couponing 101
Couponing 101: Know Your Stores
Couponing 101: Get Weekly Ads
Couponing 101: Get Coupons
Couponing 101: Stay Organized
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