I am organizationally challenged. I don’t pretend to be organized. I just keep striving to that organizational goal! So, this post will not only benefit you guys, but it will benefit me as well. You see, it isn’t that I don’t know how to be organized. I just don’t have time to be. I know there are probably several of you that are gasping right now thinking, How can you not have time to be organized?! I have 3 kids, I homeschool, I run a blog, I cook, I clean, I chauffer, and I try to pencil in a little time for sanity. Organizing somehow doesn’t always fit on the list.
Well, today I am going to show you several different ways to organize your coupons. Everyone is different and one of these may work better for you specifically than another. I personally use more than one of these methods. I am a rebel, what can I say!
Filing has to be one of the simpler ways to keep track of whole coupon insert from the newspaper. I personally do file the whole inserts. I just take an empty file folder each week. Place that week’s inserts inside and write on the outside of the folder the date, and what types of inserts are inside. Like this
6/6 SS, RP, P&G
For those of you who get confused by all the coupon code, you can check out my previous post on coupon abbreviations to decode the letters above.
Then, when you go to wonderful sites like A Few Short Cuts that offer coupon matchups you will notice things like this.
SuperPretzel Soft Baked Pretzel, 6 ct, 13 oz box, BOGO $2.99
-$.50/1 SuperPretzel Soft Pretzel Item, any – 05-02-10 RP
-$.50/1 SuperPretzel Product, Any – 03-14-10 RP
You will know to look for the file folder marked 5/2 and pull out the redplum insert to find the coupon you are looking for. No more clipping the entire insert!
Now, this works well if you plan your trips ahead of time. For you spur of the moment shoppers you may want to think about the next two methods.
Again, this is another way I organize. Except currently it is a little less organized and more just thrown in a box. It is the definition of Organized Chaos. I know exactly what is in there, and if I did organize it I would probably have no idea how to find what I was looking for.
You can buy great little boxes at Michaels with dividers in them, or Staples. You can even get just a clear plastic shoebox container from Walmart for around a $1. Use index cards to set up your own categories like, Dairy, Produce, Canned Goods, Cereals, etc. When you clip your coupons file them in the correct category and take your box with you to the store.
I use my box for my printable coupons, and magazine coupons. Oh, and my blinkies. Any loose coupons I may have. I do not carry it to the store with me. I try to plan before I leave. When you fill your box with that week’s coupons, look for expired coupons and remove them. That way you won’t have such a big job on your hands later.
Is a box necessary? Why not just use one of those little accordion folders? Well, if you are getting serious about couponing you will quickly realize that the little accordion folder will quickly become outgrown. They are great to place coupons in that you know you will use that week. For example, place coupons for the grocery store in one tab, cvs in another, Walgreens in another. That way, you plan one day and shop all week.
For those of you who coupon for a small family or a couple, it may even be easier for you to clip your insert coupons and keep them in your box as well. That way all of your coupons are in one location. Since you will only be clipping 1 or 2 inserts it will not be that time consuming.
Coupon Binders are fabulous. I have really, honestly, and truly decided I want to start one. This may be just the push I need. The most convenient thing about binders is they are portable. You don’t look strange carrying one into a store. Plus, do you know how much you can fit into one binder?
First things first, you will want a binder that zips shut. This is for many reasons, but imagine dropping a binder full of coupons, or accidently picking it up upside down. Yeah, not pretty.
Inside the binder you will need dividers, and those plastic baseball card pages. You can pick them up at Walmart, or order them online really inexpensively. For larger coupons you could use photo album pages. The picture pockets are larger than the baseball card ones.
The easiest thing to do would probably just check out Coupon Clutch. They have really great binders and you can order the inserts right from them. One stop shopping from the comfort of your own home!
Now, you could organize by category, but I think the most logical would be alphabetical order. That way you know right where to find specific coupons. There will be no guessing if you put that L’Oreal coupon in hair care or beauty.
Don’t forget to toss a calculator, and a pen in your binder. You can also have sleeves for the current sale paper, your store reward cards, rebate forms, receipts. Your binder can be your one stop resource for everything coupon related!
There really is no right or wrong way to organize your coupons. You are by no means limited to just one either! I hope this post helped give you some ideas on how to organize your newly found coupons! Come back on Sunday to find out how to match your coupons with the grocery store sale to get the most bang for your buck!