SC Johnson Family Economics Blog
Friday, January 21, 2011

Find What Coupon Organizing System Works For You | Family Economics

By Andrea

Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to save money? If so, I have a great tip: use coupons! As I began my coupon journey many, many years ago, I was struggling to find the best organization system. I switched back and forth between two popular coupon organization methods. I use somewhat of a hybrid of the two methods today.

If you are considering starting what I call “focused couponing,” I encourage you to check out the organizational methods that are available and see what works for you. Coupons can make a huge impact in your budget, they helped our family save over $6,500 in one year. That kind of savings is completely possible for anyone to achieve!

The two popular coupon organization methods are:

Binder Organization: This method ensures you have all your coupons with you at all times. You will need a binder and baseball card sleeves to get your coupons organized.

Each week when you get your Sunday newspaper, you cut the coupons you will use and organize them in your binder. The organization can be done by store aisle or general categories like frozen or box products. Or, even your own made-up approach. You will then pull the coupons when you need them based on what is on sale.

Filing OrganizationFiling Organization: The filing method helps you save time by only clipping coupons when you will actually use them.

When you receive your newspaper coupons each week, simply take a black marker and write the date on the front. You then file your entire newspaper insert by the week, or as I do, by the month. I use a hanging file folder with labels for each month and quickly grab the months for the coupons I will need.

With the filing method, the common question is how you know what coupons are in the insert if you haven’t cut them. If you follow websites that help you get your items on sale with coupons, they always share the date of the insert that the coupon was published.

For example, I can check a coupon database and can see that the November 7 Sunday paper had several great Glade coupons. When Glade items are on sale, sites like mine, Savings Lifestyle, will share so you can find your Glade coupons in that week’s insert. It saves you time because you won’t have to clip all of your coupons and you will still achieve all the savings!

How do you organize your coupons?

10 Comments so far

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On Tuesday, March 19, 2013, Gail wrote

I am brand new to this. I need to cut down on groceries. I have a family of five and I'm spending $250.00 a week.. First I need to collect coupons to get started. Any advise would be very helpful.

On Saturday, November 12, 2011, Outsidetheboxmom.com wrote

When trying to decide which method is best for you, remember what's most important to you: ability to take advantage of every deal, quick to start and maintain, filed by category, date, etc., and how many inserts do you get. Review the methods and customize it for your needs.

On Thursday, February 03, 2011, Andrea @ Savings Lifestyle wrote

@Amanda, a filing girl just like me - woo hoo!! @Rebecca, great method too! I use something similar like that but with one binder. I like your idea of having three separate based on sections of the store (hygiene, foods, etc). Great idea! @Patricia - you are so generous to send your expired coupons to overseas military! That was something I failed to mention but wholeheartedly support that! Maybe I'll share that one in a future post as well! @Stacie - thanks for sharing your link. I think we can all definitely learn from one another and form our own process that works the best. It's good to see others' methods to their savings! @Honeygal - great attitude to have! I have evolved with what I've used over the years so I think it mixes it up a bit and makes saving money even more fun and interesting! Thanks so much for all the dialogue on this post - keep it coming!

On Thursday, January 27, 2011, honeygal wrote

I agree with Rebecca--the binder method is too much of a pain. I have an envelope size file with 13 pockets with marked tabs for categorizing. That way I can always have ALL my coupons with me. And I can set it in the top of my purse. I tried carrying around the binder and felt like I was lugging around a photo album--a little bulky to say the least. But I like her idea of having more than 1--I do have a lot in the health care category. I would like to break that down further--makeup, hair care, dental, etc. Hmmmm.... think I will try that with my health care and cleaning categories. I have been couponing for MANY years, but this old dog can still learn new tricks!

On Wednesday, January 26, 2011, Valisha from Columbia, SC wrote

I use a binder with baseball card sleeves, photo pocket sleeves and currency sleeves as wellas tabbed see-thru pockets to hold the inserts I haven't cut yet. I'm a little new to this so I'm still experimenting!

On Wednesday, January 26, 2011, Cheryl M from Ohio wrote

I'm still trying to figure out what works for me. I have a binder but I don't use the baseball card pages...the slots are way too small. I got my pages from momsaves.com. I LOVE!!!! the 8 pocket pages & the 3 pocket pages. The 6 pockets are too skinny for a lot of coupons & the sides of most of the slots have torn from me trying to dig a coupon out. What I don't like about the binder system is it can take too much time (waaaayyyy too much time) if I even take 2 weeks off it takes me at least 2 hrs to cut & sort. I save at least 50-60% off my bill though (during Kroger megaevents it's more like 75%) I tried to have a coupon envelope thingy (from Hannah Hansen) but I have WAY too many coupons & it took forever to flip thru to find what I need & I dumped it at least 3 times in a store. So that didn't work. I tried the labeling & filing...but missed out on too many sales in the store (In reality I would never get back that week to get the sale item I saw) + with 2 small boys at home no place was safe for me to keep all the inserts without them getting messed up...so I'm still trying to find a happy medium

On Wednesday, January 26, 2011, Stacie wrote

I use both systems in a hybrid approach! I posted about a video about it at http://www.motherhoodonadime.com/make-your-own-monday-my-coupon-organization-system/">http://www.motherhoodonadime.com/make-your-own-monday-my-coupon-organization-system/. I've tried several different approaches, and this one has worked well for me!

On Wednesday, January 26, 2011, Patricia from Arkansas wrote

I put my coupons in an old leather check box (I think it was from the 50's) and file them by categories (Dairy, Frozen, etc). It works fine for me. I can't even imagine using a binder. I keep to many coupons to fit in a binder. All my neighbors give me their coupons and even print some out for me when I need them so I have hundreds of them. The expired ones I send to the military in Europe (they can use them for 6 months past expiration) so nothing goes to waste.

On Wednesday, January 26, 2011, Rebecca wrote

I actually use my own lil' method. I tried the baseball card with the binder, but that took SO much time and a lot of work! I have also used the filing method, but my problem with that was when I would go grocery shopping, there would be something on clearance or on sale that wasn't advertised,and I wouldn't have my coupons with me! I realized that I needed to come up with an idea that worked better for me and was also sufficient! I went and bought 3 little coupon holders at the Dollar Tree, and I used little tab dividers to cover over what was pre-written on there. I have 3 of the holders. One is for grocery (every section is labeled, i.e. canned goods, dairy, cereal, etc.), one is for health and beauty (of course labeled separately), and one is for everything else (i.e. laundry, dishes, paper goods, etc) I love that they are all sorted into their own categories. All I do on Sundays is cut my coupons, and do a "quick sort", and I'm done! When I'm in the store shopping, I have all my coupons with me. I might have to shuffle through a few of them in the "pocket", but it is so much simpler this way!

On Wednesday, January 26, 2011, Amanda from Cincinnati wrote

I use the Filing Organization!! I LOVE it! This method is very easy for me to find what insert I will be needing to get my coupons for my weeks shopping. I organize mine by lableing them : example... Red Plum 1-9-11 P&G 1-16-11 ect. This way, when I go to SavingsLifestyle.com to see what stores are having the deals.. it is easier for me to find the inserts that I will need to clip my coupons!!

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