ORGANIZING YOUR COUPONS
How I organize my coupons
You want to get more serious about using coupons. Great! The first step is to avoid these not-so-helpful strategies. Are you guilty of any of these?
#1: The Clip ‘n Forget Method. You have good intentions, so you clip your coupons, but then don’t have a plan of where to put them, so they tend to end up in a forgotten pile that goes into a junk drawer somewhere.
#2: The Bottom of the Purse Method. You find a good coupon at a store or get one at checkout, so you put it in your purse for “safe keeping” only to discover it three months later when you’re cleaning said purse – and the coupon has long since expired.
#3: The Forgotten Folder Method. You decide the best place for your coupons is in a neat and tidy folder in your home office. Only problem is you never consult this folder before making your grocery trip.
While a bit tongue in cheek, the point I want to drive home is that coupons will not save you any money if they are not organized or easy to retrieve. On the flip side, it’s entirely possible to create an overly complicated system that stresses you out every Sunday when new coupons arrive (I know because I’ve been there, done that). I have tried countless methods only to find that I am very frustrated, wasted my time and missed out on countless sales! So Here is where your plan should begin.
Your goal will be to create a system that both keeps your coupons organized and is easy for you to manage. This should not be stressful!!!
Coupon Organization Ideas
Over the years, I’ve used three different organizational methods that work well for most couponers. The one that’s right for you will be different for each person based on your needs, wants, how you like to shop, how many coupons you intend to use, and how much time and effort you wish to devote.
ORGANIZATIONAL IDEA #1: THE COUPON BINDER
Even if you’ve never clipped a coupon in your life, chances are you’ve seen someone carry around one of these binders that way pounds and pounds at the store. You may have been inspired by them, or sworn you’d never be that crazy. I personally tried this one for awhile and while it looked amazing it took way to much of my time, so, after countless coupons clipped and looking beautiful in my binder. I just couldn’t do it, with two kids and a full time job, and family responsibilities I just couldn’t keep up with it. (I will also mention that I am a 10-15 newspaper girl, when I did 3-4 newspapers this was much more manageable and I often would use Sunday night to clip and sort them while I watched tv. But if you are going to use this method, here is what you need:
Supplies needed: a large binder and plastic inserts (http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_13?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=baseball+card+sleeves&sprefix=baseball+card%2Caps%2C345 and http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=zipper+binder&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Azipper+binder )
Clip your coupons and file away weekly
You can also add coupons you find in stores and get in the mail
Don’t forget about coupons you can print too – head to the “Print Coupons!” tab above for legitimate, free coupons (http://www.coupons.com/coupons/?pid=13903&nid=10&zid=xh20&bid=2000002991&plid=call&crid=180×150)
Keeps your coupons at-the-ready should you find deals in stores
Organize by category or alphabetically
Keeps them neat and tidy
ORGANIZATIONAL IDEA #2: FOLDERS/FILING
If the binder method is not for you, you could simply file your inserts away each week. On the spine of each insert in tiny print is the week date. You can use a sharpie or thick marker and write the date across the front or put the inserts into file folders. I like the ones that are colored so that I can rotate months in colors like the pictures shown above (example: July-blue, August-Yellow, September-red). I have expanded to two boxes but you usually only need one if you are going to do a 3-4 newspapers a week.
Here is what you need for this method:
Here’s how to retrieve the coupons you need, under this system:
#1: Use my coupon matchups as a guide! When we share the deals we are finding at the stores with you here at Happy 2 B savin, we tell you which date and which insert you’ll need. For instance, if I say the $0.50 off soup coupon is from the 10/14 SmartSource, you can refer to your 10/14 file or folder, find that SmartSource insert and flip through to clip the coupon.
#2: Use a coupon database. There are several online FREE coupon databases you can use. We have one listed right here on our website for you to you. For example, Suppose you’re looking to see if there is a coupon for Bic razors. You could go into one of these databases and type “Bic” or even just “razors” to see what comes up. Use the results as a guide to refer back to your inserts. IMPORTANT: coupons and their values may vary by region, so just because the database says a coupon was put out on a certain date, does not mean your local paper got it.
This method has it’s pros and cons. On the plus side, once you’ve created your folders or filing system, managing your coupon inserts is a breeze each week. It’s perfect for the couponer who has limited time and/or gets many inserts and clipping all those coupons would be very time consuming.
A couple disadvantages to consider: you’ll be doing a lot of thumbing through for coupons when you need them, which can be tedious. Also, this method is not very portable. If you find an unexpected deal in a store, you’re often out of luck.