• How to Organize Your Coupons | Coupon Training

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    a few easy ways to organize your coupons {Photo Credit}

    How to organize your coupons is probably one of the most common questions I am asked, but for me the hardest to answer.  I think you have to find the way that works for you in order to make couponing work.  What works for one person may not work for another.  It wasn’t until recently (and I have been couponing for a few years now) that I found my perfect way. I invited some Coupon Connections readers over for an organizing party and my dear reader Sarah started filing her coupons away using envelopes and a box.  I was instantly intrigued and asked her all kinds of questions.  Well guess what…she was the first one done with all her sorting and cutting.  I was sold!

    Pros

    1.  She was done quickly.  She did not have to flip the pages of a binder to find the correct category and everything was neat and tidy.

    2.  Envelopes hold all different sized coupons

    3.  The box she had has a lid and a handle; so nice and convenient to carry in the store

    4.  It fits perfectly in the front of the cart (your new baby if you will) and if you have to put it in the main cart area it hardly takes up space.

    5. Envelopes, index cards and box are CHEAP!

    Cons

    1. I could no longer SEE the coupons. I am visually oriented and like being able to see them through the baseball card holders

    2. Possible box FAIL.  My box could very well fall on the ground and I’d have a big coupon “yard sale.”

    In my case, the pros outweigh the cons, so the next day I hopped into my Eurovan and dashed to Big Lots.  The total cost for envelopes and index cards was about $3.  I couldn’t find the Sterlite container, but luckily  I ended up finding one at Rite Aid and I was able to use my + Up Rewards. :) Bonus!

    Are you ready?  How to make a coupon box:

    ::First you need the Sterlite container.  Here is one on Amazon, but this is pretty pricey.  Hopefully you can get a deal at Rite Aid or Target.  If you are not ready to invest, use a shoe box.

    ::Next, you will need several envelopes. Get enough to cover A-Z (Size depends on your box) and cut the flaps off the envelopes like so:

    ::Decide on your categories. Personally I sort mine by manufacturer.  This just makes sense to me.  Do what works for you.  I also have additional envelopes for store coupons: Target, Albertsons, Safeway etc.

    ::Write your categories on Index Cards and slip them inside the envelopes with the labels facing you.

    ::Decide if you are going to cut EVERY coupon or just the ones you think you will use.  Hard question to answer?  Ask yourself this: If it was free would I use it?  If the answer is yes, cut the coupon.  Any coupons I don’t think I will use just go into a box.  Don’t throw them away until they expire.

    ::BONUS ROUND!  Fast way of cutting up inserts- I personally receive 8 delivered papers.  So I will cut through the seams and stack the like pages.  I staple the coupons together and cut. Much faster than one at a time.  And vwa-lah!  In a perfect world I would do this every Sunday to stay caught up.

    Now this may or may not be the method for you.  If you are still looking for the best one check out this article Making a Coupon Organizer from Tipnut.com

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    Author: amber

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    41 Responses to “How to Organize Your Coupons | Coupon Training”

    1. JoAnne says:

      I have a coupon box and love it. I started with a binder and baseball card pockets but I found that it was time consuming to fold all the coupons so they’d fit in the little pockets. Plus the binder was getting way too big to carry it around. And I mean BIG since I cut all coupons.

      After I went to your coupon class at the Brier Library and listened to your story about your switch to a box system, I was sold on the idea. For me, it’s a much faster system and I find that I can keep up on the organizing part so much better. My box it similar to yours but it has a hinge lid and I have two rows of coupons going the across the box instead the long way like yours. Does that make sense? I’ve had the box for a long time and used to store my greeting card samples in them so I have no idea where I got the box.

      If anyone wants a pic just let me know.

    2. LaVonne says:

      I only cut out the ones I think I will use. I store the other ones by date. I look at the deals and pull the insert I need if I have not already cut it out. :)

    3. Jennifer says:

      I now use a coupon basket with envelopes!! I tried the three ring binder keeping inserts together and with baseball card holders, but have found that the basket works way better for me and I made sure to get one that would fit in the front basket of the shopping cart so I could take it with me… My girlfriend laughs at me when we go shopping together (with the basket) but I don’t care because having it has saved me $$ that I wouldn’t have saved if i had only brought the few coupons I thought I would need!!

    4. Hapee says:

      I like to collate my coupons using this method. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrLcbwBKNP0 It is very easy. It is a great way to cut out multiple coupons at a time.

    5. Evon says:

      I’m pretty new to hardcore couponing and I’ve been using the baseball card method and I’m not happy with it, so I switched to this method but I made one change: I used colored index cards to sort my categories out. I used one color for non food products, one for non frozen food products and one for frozen food products. It makes finding where things go much faster for me.

    6. [...] Need help with finding an organizing method?  Check out my post on how I organize my coupons [...]

    7. [...] Need help with finding an organizing method? Check out my post on how I organize my coupons [...]

    8. [...] you are new to couponing and having figure out your organization yet be sure to check out how I organize my coupons. Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. When you use them, you help support this site. [...]

    9. [...] Need help with finding an organizing method? Check out my post on how I organize my coupons [...]

    10. Nancy says:

      Which size envelopes are you using, standard or long?

    11. [...] will find articles on How to Build a Stock Pile , How to coupon without getting overwhelmed, and staying organized.  You are more than welcome to join our FREE Couponing Class May 21 at the Mountlake Terrace [...]

    12. [...] Happy Mothers Day! Today you should’ve received 1 Smart Source Insert in your Sunday Paper. You can check  Sunday Coupon Preview here for a list of coupons that may be available in the paper. This is a great time to get caught up on all your cutting and organizing. [...]

    13. Mary-Pat says:

      I have used a similiar envelope system for years. I used standard sized envelopes & store them in a plastic box with a lid. I file by product type: “baking”, “candy”, “ice cream” etc alphabetically, food first then non-food items like “air fresheners, scouring”, “cat food” toward the back of the box. Under the non-food items I have an envelope “misc” & “free”. I write these labels right on the top of the envelopes. Before the end of each month I pull out all the coupons that are about to expire & keep an eye on these.

    14. Heather says:

      I’ve tried both envelope and binder, and I’m a binder girl all the way. It does have its cons, especially if you’re like me and you clip everything. But my binder is organized by typical store aisles, so when I’m in cereal aisle all of my breakfast/cereal coupons are all together, face up so I can see them. Because if I can’t see them I will surely forget I have them. I think no matter which method you go with, it just takes time for you to find what works best for you, and it may not be what anyone else does. As long as it works for you, that’s all that matters.

    15. [...] Preview here for a list of coupons that may be available in the paper. If you have yet top pick an organizing method to your coupons go [...]

    16. I just adapted your idea and created my own coupon box. I organized by product type and also have seperate envelopes for different stores. I posted pictures on my blog.

    17. Sue says:

      Thanks for the info on coupon storage. I was looking to switch from my small folder to a binder, but after reading I think I will try the box approach first. Especially since I already have the plastic box and envelopes. I like the colored index card idea too :)

    18. Janelle says:

      I get 4 weekly Sunday Papers. On weeks I know there will be more inserts I pick up 4-6 additional papers. I look through one entire paper (for misc coupons that may be hidden). I pull the coupon inside and put them into a folder by date and provider (SS, RedPlum, Purina, etc).

      I use a ringed binder and both baseball card inserts and photo inserts. I cut coupons I will use and put them into the binder (alphabetical by category). I also have a category at the end for Retail stores/Resturants. I carry the binder always in the car.

      I pull weekly store fliers from the stores I freqent most (Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, Target, Albertson’s, Safeway, Fry’s, Basha’s, Food city, El Supa, and Pros’ Ranch March.

      I clip with paper clips coupons onto each weekly add that I know I want to use in that store (ie. toothpaste at Walgreens). I take my add into the store with coupons and my binder. I watch online for the great deals pull my coupons and clip them onto the weekly adds. I don’t open my binder expect on stock up trips or if I see something onsale in the store I know I need adds for.

      I match adds with Walmart when I don’t have time to go to several stores or when I have other shopping to do at Walmart.

      THE HARD PART IS GOING BACK THROUGH TO PULL EXPIRED.

      Happy Happy Couponing :-) – Native From Kansas City – Now in Phoenix AZ

      PS – Learned from my grandmother – THE SMARTEST PERSON I HAVE EVER KNOWN AND BEST COUPON STOCKPILER I HAVE EVER SEEN ;-)
      Anyone want to trade coupons – let me know – Janelle

      • Anna says:

        Janelle, I’m pretty new to couponing and I live in Phoenix as well. I wanted to know what papers you get? I just get the Arizona Republic, but I wanted to see if there are any others that I am missing out on?

    19. Lisa says:

      Excited to get going on this, I happen to already have the container with a handle. Thanks for all the great tips.

    20. Elizabeth says:

      I used to use the plastic baggie method… yeah that was a major pain in the bum so I switched to the 3 ring binder and love it! My secret is to keep a record on the lap top that can easily be printed of what coupons i have, their value, quantity, and expiration date. I think this helps the most when researching what sales I want to use, and could also help with the envelop method to help keep your inventory in check. I just cross off the coupons I use during my shopping trip and delete them from the list when I get home. The list gets reprinted every week when I add my new coupons so it stays readable. The best part is that the list is in order of where my coupon is in the binder, say I have 5 pages of coupons in my frozen section, well I need the coupon for x product and notice it is on my list for page 3 and its the 5th item on the page, voila, easy as pie to find!

    21. Summer says:

      I will have to try this for sure. I have done the accordion system which sucks and the binder would drive me crazy so this option makes sense to me.

    22. Carrie says:

      All these ideas are interesting. I’m an intermediate couponer. I have my lil accordian coupon organizer. I used to have it labelled by aisle but realized many would end up not used because they’d expire. Now, I organize it by the month they will expire. I have a lot less unused coupons this way. I’ve only clipped what I know I’ll use and pass on the rest.

      There have been times where a sale was deep and I gave away the coupon so keeping those “maybes” on hand would be a good idea and “collating” them as mentioned above (thanks for sharing) and putting in a box or folder would be simple enough. I usually only take the coupons I’ve matched to the circular with me and just put them in an envelope or if I take my organizer, I put it in the front slot. It depends on if I had time to prep or not before shopping.

    23. Manda says:

      Personally I use both the box and the binder method. It sounds a bit confusing but it makes things a bit easier for me in the store. I organize pretty much the same way as you in the box but after I make out my grocery list I get the coupons out that I plan on using and put them in the binder along with any I’m going to check the pricing on. Then while I’m shopping, I can see the exact coupons I’m going to use and just put a checkmark with a dry erase marker on the baseball card sleeve to let me know I’ve picked up the item. As the cashier scans my shopping, I grab out the ones I used and wipe off the check mark to start fresh the next time.

      • lindsey says:

        That is a really great idea, I am using an expandable file and it is annoying.. I think i might try the binder and box…that way my binder isn’t crazy full..

    24. dawn says:

      Right now I’m using the envelope method (although I don’t cut the flap off, I fold it in and staple the colored index card over the flap). I think I will try the binder method. I find it hard to sort through the coupons in the envelopes when I’m at the store.

    25. Marie says:

      I cut my coupons the same way (stapling pages together) but just read an article on another blog about how manufacturers won’t pay back stores for gang cut (identically cut) coupons. Yikes! I http://www.jillcataldo.com/gang_cut_coupons

    26. [...] often hear how much time couponing takes, but when you are organized and know what you are going for it can be quick! You may even be able to fit it in during your [...]

    27. chrisie says:

      I’m new to couponing but very excited and I’ve saved a good bit of money so far but I haven’t gotten myself organized yet so I get frustrated at times. I went out and bought a binder hopefully to use this method but haven’t yet bought the baseball card insetts. I’m confused as to what will work better the baseball size or maybe the currency size. I’m really wanting to know how the coupons should be stored in them. Say I go with the baseball card way and I buy 3 newspapers are you supposed to put 3 of the same type of coupon in one slot? So only one type of coupon per slot? I would think you would need tons of inserts for this. If someone could help id appreciate it :)

    28. Beth says:

      I was wondering if you print as many printable coupons as you of the things you use as well? I like http://www.coupons.com but was wondering if I should print as many copies as it will let me or do you do most of yours by clipping from the newspaper inserts? I don’t want to waste ink/paper if I’m not going to end up using them. Thanks!

    29. Desiree J says:

      Perhaps I’m a lazy couponer, or too busy working full time nights as a nurse with 2 kiddos and one more due in 11 days…. but I don’t cut any coupons until I prepare for my shopping trip. I write the date on the front of my SS, RP and P&G inserts and then just grab from the stack and cut what I need on Saturday night. Only takes me about an hour to gather my coupons up for my shopping trip. I put the clipped ones in a baggie by store and off I go. I understand I don’t have the benefit though of seeing a great price on something, say on clearance, and then pulling that coupon. I only have what I have planned for. It works for us for now, usually I have 4-5 SS and 6-10 RP per week. My night stand drawers are full of all the inserts =) I love your website, I have been couponing for almost 2 years but just recently started truely “stockpiling” because of my upcoming maternity leave and being without a paycheck for 3 months! My hopes is to only have to buy my fresh items and items that are at least 70% discounted during this time. I am falling in love with my stockpile and wonder why I didn’t think about during this earlier!

    30. [...] system to stay somewhat organized while I found a better system. Now I use the system that Amber posted about a while back with a bunch of labeled envelops in a plastic container with a handle.  I like [...]

    31. Amy says:

      This box system would never work for me. Baseball card organizers are a nightmare. For someone who would like to try something different that these two systems, try Mrs A’s. Its Awesome and FAST!!!!! They have several products and I love their grocery list that color coordinates with the color tab page dividers.

    32. Jessica says:

      I prefer the binder method because I need to see my coupons. but my problem is I dont know what categories to do, I am constantly re-organizing and I dont like wasting the time. I could be clipping or shopping.

    33. Pam says:

      My new years’ resolution this year was to learn extreme couponing, partly to become shopping savvy and partly to stretch our currently miniscule budget.

      I decided to start with the envelope+box organizing method. Found a box with a locking lid at Fred Meyer and paid for it with my January Rewards Points. It was a great kickoff. Everything is organized alphabetically by brand name, which also works with the way my brain is wired. After my first shopping trip, I realized I’d probably have the most success with 6 papers. Now I have been lining up the coupon inserts, gang clipping the coupons, then filing them. This past week I decided to use a little paperclip to hold together each like coupon so I can grab all 6 at once when planning my shopping trip, and I think that will make it easier when the time comes to purge expired ones.

      Thanks for posting this! I think if the best way for me to organize my coupons was via binder, I never would have given it a try. And with the paper clips, at least I can just flip through the stacks of coupons for what I need as I search for great deals and as I build my regular shopping list.

    34. Veronica P says:

      I personally dont mind cutting coupons its the deal finding i get lazy with. Plus when i do find a deal I tend to take to long to buy the item or items and by then there all gone. I use a coupon organizer purse that I got from a lady on esty named sewdesirable. Here is a link to her shop if anyone is interested. http://www.etsy.com/shop/SewDesirable

    35. Gabriel says:

      I like to organize my grocery coupons online using this free online app I found on http://eventbin.com

      With the binder method it is difficult if I want to sort quickly by expiration date or change my category or search by brand/store.

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