3 Ways to Organize Coupons
Continuing our basics of using coupons series, one thing I must stress if you are going to be a successful coupon user is that you must have some sort of system to organize them. Between newspaper inserts, internet printables, and coupon mailers, you will soon find that coupons can quickly overtake your dining table if you do not keep them in check.
There are two basic schools of thought when it comes to coupon organization:
1. Clip and file ALL coupons.
2. Clip only as needed, and file your inserts by date.
You need to decide which method works for you. There are definitely pros and cons to each one. This brings me to three basic ways to organize your coupons.
1. The Binder Method: I demonstrate my coupon binder system in which I cut and filed every coupon, and sorted by category. This is a time-consuming task that you must stay on top of every week. It works beautifully for serious coupon clippers.
2. File by insert: I recommend a simple box that can be moved from room to room, with hanging folders. Divide folders by month or even by week if you prefer. It helps to write the date on the front of each insert as you receive it. Allow extra folders for other coupons, such as printables and mailers.
3. Insert/Binder Hybrid: Most frugal bloggers I know have switched to a combo of sorts, clipping what they know they will use immediately in advance and placing those coupons in a binder or small accordian file, and filing away the remaining inserts in a box. This seems to work quite well for busy moms.
The beauty of filing by date, is that you can quickly reference where a coupon is located when you use my free searchable coupon database. The database records and lists the exact date and insert name (SmartSource, RedPlum, etc) so you can go straight to your files to find a particular coupon. This is a huge time and sanity saver! No more digging through piles of coupons to find the one you need when there is a great sale on (insert your favorite product).
If you are just starting out using coupons and don't want to get overwhelmed, you might consider a ready-made coupon organization system, like The Couponizer. These also make great gifts (think Christmas!)