One of the biggest challenges of being an avid coupon clipper is keeping your coupons organized.
There are many ways to organize your coupons, but I thought I would share the system that works best for me.
I currently use a system that is based on The Coupon Mom’s coupon organization system. The Coupon Mom doesn’t clip coupons every week – instead she writes the dates on the front of each coupon insert she gets from the newspaper and files them by month in file folders. When she plans a shopping trip, she uses her coupon database to find what coupons she needs, and then only clips those coupons from her collection.
This method for coupon organization is a huge time saver. But as someone who lives about 30 miles from everywhere, I found that I needed to make a personal adjustment to the system.
Before I file away the inserts each week, I clip the coupons that I am almost certain to use – for example, cereal coupons, toilet paper, and other staples for our pantry and toiletries. I keep an eye out for unique coupons such as “buy one get one free” or high value coupons.
I then keep these coupons in a coupon organizer that I always bring with me when I go to town. The coupon organizer has separate pockets that I’ve designated for different categories (i.e. baby items, baking, breads & cereals, beverages, cleaning and laundry, paper & plastic items, meats & vegetables, toiletries, and snacks).
The reason I do clip some coupons is that sometimes I run across an incredible deal while I am shopping for other things, and I want to make sure that I can maximize those savings with my coupons. If my coupons are sitting in a file folder at home, there’s not much I can do about it when I’m 30 miles from home. By the time I go home, clip those coupons and get back to town, I will have not only wasted an incredible amount of time and gas money, but chances are the deal won’t be there anymore.
I don’t clip all of the coupons because I find it is usually a waste of time. I really only use about 1/3 of the coupons form the Sunday inserts. I also found that it was harder to keep them organized when there were so many of them.
I know others who organize their coupons in recipe boxes or binders, and others who alphabetize their coupons by product. I did try using a binder system, but ultimately found it to be clunky and hard to keep up.
My current system seems to work best for me. I save time by not clipping every single coupon, yet I’m armed with coupons when I stumble across a clearance sale at my favorite discount store.
Recognize that it takes some trial and error to find a coupon organization system that works for you. But once you figure out what works, you’ll be on the road to some great savings!