Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Couponing Basics Part 4: Organizing Your Coupons

So you've been collecting coupons from newspapers and websites....but now where do you do put them?

Here are a few different systems to consider.

File Box
  • One of the easiest coupon organization systems to put into place is a file folder box. Simply take your inserts and a manilla file folder, label by date, and file. When there is a coupon you want to use, locate the insert and clip.
  • Advantages - little time and effort spent on clipping and organizing, little chance of misplacing coupons before using them
  • Disadvantages - too bulky to bring to stores, more difficult to see which specific coupons you have
Coupon/Accordion Folder
  • I'm sure you've seen people walking around stores with these little plastic folders, which are often held shut with a small bungee cord. This type of folder is either segmented or comes with dividers, which can be labeled. To use this type of system, label your folder sections by shopping category (see suggestions at The Krazy Coupon Lady), clip your coupons, and sort by category. Within a category, to be more organized, you might want to sort coupons in ABC order by product name, or perhaps by expiration date. Think about what will work best for you.
  • Advantages - Easy to carry to stores, all coupons with out in one place
  • Disadvantages - takes time to clip and organize, cannot see each coupon and will need sort through folder sections to find individual coupons
Coupon Binder
  • This is actually the organization system that I personally use. I started by gathering a large three ring binder, baseball card sleeves, and tabbed pocket dividers. Then, I began to think about how I would like my coupons organized. I decided that I wanted sections for the stores I frequently shop, like CVS. Inside the pocket of the CVS divider, I would keep the current store ad, any rewards money, and store coupons. Following the store pockets, I added labeled pockets for shopping categories (See ideas here - I don't have nearly as many categories in my binder. Pick and choose). Behind each category folder, I added a few baseball card sleeves. After clipping coupons, I sort by category, putting each coupon into a slot in a baseball card sleeve. Some people use a similar system but choose to sort coupons alphabetically instead of by category. Like I would tell my students, every mind thinks differently, and a strategy that works for me might not be the best for you. Find a strategy that makes the most sense to your brain. :)
  • Advantages - all coupons are in one spot, can carry to stores, coupon categories and clear baseball card sleeves make coupons easy to find
  • Disadvantages - very time consuming to clip and sort each coupon, binder can be big and bulky to haul around, especially when shopping with kids
Reader Response: Do you already have a system for organizing your coupons? If not, is there one that seems like it will work best for you?

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