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Image How to organize your coupons!

 

So now that you have started collecting those coupons, how do you think you will organize them all? I am going to share exactly what I do to keep organized and most importantly, portable! I started using coupons like this about 4 years ago. A friend of mine introduced me to a local coupon queen via her blog and I was hooked! I even went to a coupon class twice! After that, I was a little obsessed to say the least. I started teaching classes, I held one at my place of employment, a few at my home and even did a lifestyles class on how to save money shopping for the Probation and Parole division here in my county. My obsession dwindled thankfully! But I never stopped using coupons. I am thinking about doing some more classes or even online live classes….but we will have to stay tuned for that. 

To begin talking about organizing your coupons, I want to start out by listing the types of coupons:

  1. Manufacturer coupons: Sunday inserts (Redplum, SmartSource, P&G), blinky machines in supermarkets, Peel off coupons on products, hang tags on products,store inserts, manufacturer websites and facebook pages
  2. Store coupons: store inserts, store flyers, in store specials

I get 6 sets of coupons per week! So yes, 6 newspapers! The general rule of thumb would be to buy 2 newspapers per family member. I have a family of 4 and I think 6 for us is just enough, so my suggestion would be to start with 2 or 4. Why even numbers? Most stores coupon policies here in Florida state you can use 1 coupon per item which includes Buy One Get One Free (BOGO). So even though one item is free, they allow you to use a coupon on it, so it is like double savings, so we want you to have the correct number of coupons which means even amount of inserts!! We will get more into how to use your coupons in an upcoming blog post. Each Sunday, a different number of inserts will be included. So for example, this weekend we may have 1 SmartSource insert and 1 RedPlum insert. But next weekend we may get 5 total!! So this weekend I will have 12 inserts to organize, but next weekend I will have 30!!

There are two ways to organize your coupons. There is the binder system and a file system. The file system I have tried twice and has never worked well for me although I found it to be less time consuming. The way this works is you can get a bin that holds files, you will then label each file with the dates of each Sunday for the inserts. So for example: 4/19/15, 4/26/15, 05/03/15 and so on. You will change these dates as the old inserts are expired and new weeks come in. Usually you will have a rolling 10-12 weeks worth of inserts.

Supplies needed to create file system:

  1. Bin or tote that can hold file folders
  2. About 15-20 File folders with the label

Once you have your supplies, Label each week as they come. I say that because holiday weekends we usually don’t get inserts in the newspapers and won’t have any to file. Once an old week expires, just write the new label. Once you have all of your inserts you will then separate them and put the same pages together and put it back together at the end. So When I have all 6 sets, I will put all 6 of the same page together, and then once finished I have one thicker insert. The dates are on the spine of the inserts so you can easily see what weekend it came from and then just file it in its own folder in your tote. Easy and simple!

Supplies needed to create your binder:

  1. 3 or 4″ binder preferably one that zippers all the way around. Check out the featured picture in this post for a picture of mine.
  2. Tab dividers (Personally I have 30 tabs for categorizing my coupons)
  3. Baseball card inserts. These are usually found at the front registers in Target or Walmart. I prefer the target ones because they are a little more durable.
  4. Scissors, paper clips, a mini coupon holder with dividers or Envelopes for each store you will coupon at. (My categories would be Publix supermarket, CVS, Walgreens, Walmart and Target)

I do the same as I would do if I was using the filing system and I put all of the same pages together and make one thick insert. I then open my binder, and cut each coupon, but when I am cutting, all 6 are cut at once! I open the tabs to that category and file in the the baseball card holder! As I do that, I will take out expired coupons in that category which is my way to save time and not have to sit down and go through every category of my binder to purge old coupons. So each category is done when I visit that section and usually by the time I am done clipping and filing, I have gone through most of the binder.

Ok! I love this system and I will tell you why!! When I talk about how to use your coupons and making your shopping lists in an upcoming blog post, I don’t always purchase items on sale, so it is so much easier for me to look up an item under its category and find a coupon. If I use the file system and I have 10 items on my list that is not part of a sale, it is harder for me to know I have a coupon for those items without having to reference a coupon finder on a blog somewhere. And best of all….bring your binder when you go shopping! I know, I know…you may look a little funny carrying around the binder, but I know you have seen other people do it! The best part is that when you go to a store and you see their clearance section and you realize you have a coupon for one of those items, you can just open up your binder and flip to that category! I found Shampoo one day at our local supermarket on the clearance shelf and with my coupons I ended up buying them for 12 cents each! What??!!

Categories in my binder (you can take away or add any):

  1. Air Fresheners (Smelly’s)
  2. Baby
  3. Bags (Reynold’s, Ziplock, Garbage Bags, etc0
  4. Baking
  5. Body (includes all deodorant, lotions, feminine products, soap, etc)
  6. Breads
  7. Breakfast
  8. Candy
  9. Cleaners
  10. Condiments
  11. Drinks
  12. Freezer
  13. Fridge
  14. Fruit
  15. Hair Products
  16. Laundry and Dishwasher
  17. Makeup
  18. Medicine
  19. Mouth
  20. Paper
  21. Pasta/Sauce
  22. PB&J
  23. Pets
  24. Produce
  25. Snacks
  26. Soups and cans
  27. Veggies
  28. Yogurt
  29. Misc
  30. Toys

So now that you have started collecting coupons, lets start organizing and then check back here for How to Use your coupons!