Did you know that you can look on the outside cover of the coupon insert and find the date and publication?
The example above came from the March 4, 2012 Pensacola News Journal
Do you buy more than one Sunday paper?
Organize them in a file with dates marked on each one.
There is not right or wrong way to organize your coupons. You may find that you have to test a few methods to find a way that works for you.
In our minds there are at least four levels of coupon organization.
- Index Box or Accordion File
- Clip Free (Hanging File Box)
We have used all these methods through the years and have settled (for now) on using three of these. We buy a minimum of 5 papers per Sunday so we use the Clip Free to place our inserts in hanging files. We will go through one set of inserts and clip those coupons that we know we will use. We have a Publix and Target Envelope that we use to place coupons in to use at those stores. We use a Binder to hold our blinkies, tear pads and other coupons that have already been clipped. We take the envelopes and binder to the store, leaving the box in the car or at home.
Here are some additional tips and more information for each of these coupon organization levels:
- Create envelopes with store names on them and put the coupons for that weeks deal inside
- Create envelopes for product categories
- Small cloth envelope coupon organizer or you could use paper envelopes. To make the paper envelopes last longer, cover them in wrapping tape.
- Using the envelopes as a grocery list is a great trick that works for us if we know we need specific items. We will pull the coupons from the binder inside that store’s envelope and look inside the envelope before getting in line.
- Because we have stockpiled and don’t need much, we would say that we use the envelopes more than any others methods
Index Box or Accordion File
- Use an index box or accordion file sorted by categories
- We have seen some index boxes that fit nicely in the basket of the shopping cart
- Can use envelopes to sort the coupons inside the box
- There are some sites out there that will sell you a coupon binder but we have found the easiest and cheapest way is to make your own. It does not take much and you probably already have the supplies on hand.
- Using a cloth or vinyl binder with business card sleeves is a great way to get your coupons organized. Using Business Card Holders is really handy to view the expiration dates. Folding the coupons so that you can see the value, product, and expiration date will make it easier when the coupons start to expire at the end of the month. We only go through our binder once a month, to toss expired coupons. When shopping, we look at each coupon as we use it so if we find a coupon that has expired we place it our military family file.
- A plastic photo album with black or white pages would also be a great way to organize your coupons
- Use product categories to make labels for your binder or just place the coupons in the particular categories See below for a list of categories.
- Graduate to a large binder with business card sleeves, plastic paper sleeves, and pockets. We have seen some binders with baseball card sleeves. We purchase our business card sleeves at Staples. We found some card holders in the Foley Target store near the baseball card section. We found these are not as well made as the business card holders and don’t seem to last as long.
- We never felt the need to create a coupon database of the coupons we have in our binder (we would never have the time for that). If we have taken the time to clip or find the coupon we will remember. We shop by Frugal Fairhope.com store deals. As we go through the post, we pull the coupons from our Binder or Clip Free box that we are going to use and place them in that store’s Envelope.
- We mix in the competitor coupons with the manufacturer coupons, the tear pads… in coupon categories so there is no guessing just a quick look if we can do a 2 way coupon stacking deal.
- We have even seen a photo of someone’s closet where they keep the Sunday inserts on each shelf. This is a very interesting and creative way to organize coupons.
- We have no time to clip, place the date and the last expiration date on the front of the insert and place in sheet protector We get the Mobile Press and Pensacola News papers so we place a “P” or “M” on the cover (there are major differences in the inserts).
- Sort the inserts by dates
- We have seen others place the inserts inside sheet protectors and place in the pages of a binder. We will sometimes have 10+ inserts for one Sunday so that would not work for us, we have yet to see a sheet protector that will hold that many inserts.
- We tear out the front cover, index page, and coupon pages, of the All You Magazine (we get 2 issues per month) and place them in a sheet protector in the back of our binder.
- We place the binder and envelopes in our bag to carry to the store.
- We use binder clips to keep multiple circular coupons and coupon books together.
- When printing coupons, we don’t always clip those coupons so we binder clip those coupons together as well. We are constantly growing our methods of organization and are currently looking for a better way to organize the printed coupons without clipping them.
We don’t use category dividers, we felt that the extra weight and space would be wasted. Our binder (Bettsie) is a good old gal, so dividers are not needed, she is like a good Bible you can feel the chapters as you thumb through her.
- Canned Goods
- Frozen Foods
- Juice & Soda
- Paper & Plastic
- Oil & Rice
We would love to hear how you organize your coupons and what progress you have made in organizing your coupons, comment on this post and let’s help those that are just starting this coupon journey. Feel free to send us photos of your progress to Frances (at) Frugal Fairhope(dot)com.