There is no right or wrong answer here. Each serious couponer has his/her favorite and many are continuously evolving their method. I definitely fall into the latter!
So here are a few ideas to help you get started.
WHOLE INSERT METHOD
You will need file folders and something to hold them such as a suitcase file.
Each Sunday you want to mark on the front page of each insert the date you received it, i.e. 7/24 and which insert it is, i.e. SS, RP, PG.
Label a file folder date and put the inserts inside. You can print off the Sunday Coupon Preview I post each week and tape to the outside of the file folder.
If you follow the match ups listed for the stores, you see note that if a coupon was in an insert it is listed, i.e. (7/3 PG) this is done so that you can quickly and easily find the insert and clip the needed coupon. There are pros and cons to using this method.
- Only spend a few minutes each Sunday filing your coupons
- Only clipping coupons you need as you need them
- If you like to have all your coupons with you in case you come across a good deal, you will have to either skip the deal or waste time and money going back home to clip the coupon and head back to get the deal. Sometimes it’s not worth it, sometimes it is.
- My personal major CON for this method is that I share coupons I have clipped with my daughters so it’s much easier to just clip them all at once on Sunday and be done with the clipping. I belong to several different coupon "trains" at A Full Cup so it's just so much easier to cut all at once. I also send my expired coupons to a military base overseas (more on that here) and they require all coupons to be clipped so I’m going to have to clip them then anyway. I’d rather clip once and done.
This is what I used when I first got started and it worked well before I began to accumulate so many coupons.
|This is what my box looked like|
In order to know just what coupons I had in that box, I kept a spreadsheet that I would enter each coupon onto each Sunday. When I would do my matchups I could refer to the spreadsheet to see what coupons I had.
- I could quickly and easily see what coupons I personally had when making my lists
- The spreadsheet is very time consuming to maintain. I would invariably miss entering something, or enter it incorrectly, etc. Also I had problems with expired coupons. I would delete them from the spreadsheet but would forget to clear them from my box.
You will need a large 3 ring binder, storage pages and some types of dividers.
I no longer use is method for various reasons but will tell you how I set mine up when I did. I didn’t have the money to purchase a zipped binder but I did get a large, 3” D type 3 ring binder with a 20% coupon from Staples. I do have to be cautious because I do not want to drop it and have all my coupons scattered everywhere and have to be refiled.
There are not specific coupon storage pages available, although you would think there were be. I found 2 types of pages at Staples. They are trading card pages and 4x6 photo pages.
Some who use a binder use an extensive category list to sort and organize the coupons within the binder. You can sort and categorize yours any way you want. When I first put my binder together I had my coupons sorted into 5 major categories:
- Pet supplies
- Household items
Each Sunday I clip the coupons from the inserts. This is also when I will clip any internet printable coupons I have printed off during the previous week. I would sort them into the 5 major catorgies, then in alphabetical group, file them. If it’s coupons I know I sending to my daughters or to one of the trains, I just keep those in a pile on my desk until ready to mail.
- Quickly flip through binder to find coupons
- Quickly and easily identify expired coupons
- Always have all my coupons with you when you shop (if you take your binder with you)
- Can be expensive and time consuming to set up as well as time consuming to file each week.
I found that it was taking longer and longer for me to sort and file my coupons as well as pull expired coupons as my vision (which has never been great) has gotten worse and it was difficult for me to see the exp. dates through the plastic. It seemed no matter how hard I tried, I could not keep up with my binder therefore I was missing sales and good deals!
MY CURRENT COUPON ORGANIZER (3/26/12)
|My Mega Large Coupon Organizer!|
I was very unhappy with my binder so I was trying to figure out what I thought would work for me. I liked the box but it was too bulky for me to carry into stores. In my head I had put together an organizer and started looking for something like a lunch box to put them in. While scouring the internet, I came across this:
This is the Mega Large Coupon Organizer from Glow Girl Fibers. I thought "how'd she get in my head and create that so fast?" Well, obviously great minds think alike. So I ordered it, waited impatiently for it to arrive (it only took 2 business days!) and in NO time at all my binder was empty and my bag was full! I tested it out at HEB a few days later and am totally in love with it!
I'm hoping to convince her to donate one for me to giveaway to one of my readers so keep your fingers crossed! In the meantime, check out all her products here (and tell her you saw it on Momma's Moolah!).
- It's lightweight, closes off completely and is easy to carry around.
- You can customize your organizer by choosing which fabrics you want yours made from.
- You can choose a short handle or a long handle.
- It comes with a large variety of labels so you can decide how you want to sort your coupons. Just peel and stick onto the dividers she provides.
- Other than having to pay for it (which I feel the price is extremely reasonable) at the moment I have nothing bad to say!
No matter which method of organizing and storing you use, you’ll also need a way to carry the coupons to the store (if you do not take your organizer in the stores).
My method is cheap and simple:
I have several small No. 6 ¾ envelopes and each is labeled with the name of a store I shop.
• DG (Dollar General)
• FD (Family Dollar)
I make my lists, pull the coupons and place them in the corresponding envelope. On shopping day all I have to do it grab and go. After each transaction I put the receipt(s) in the envelop so when I get home I can input the information into my savings spreadsheet. (Yes I am that nerdy about it!)
I have 2 ziplock bags taped to my desk. One labeled “FOOD” and one labeled “NONFOOD”.
I will pull expired coupons as I see them and at the end of the month I will go through and make sure I have pulled all expired coupons.
Please DO NOT THROW EXPIRED COUPONS AWAY! Our military personal stationed overseas can use expired coupons up to 6 months past the expiration date on the bases and posts. They cannot use store specific coupons but all manufacture coupons they can use.
As I pull the coupons, I drop them into the appropriate bag. At the end of each month I will send these coupons to the base I have adopted in Japan. You can read more about handling expired coupons here.
You may find a combination of any of the above methods works for you or you may invent one all on your own! Just keep tweaking it until you feel it works well for you!
If you have any questions, please leave a comment or send me an email!