One of the hardest parts of starting couponing is ORGANIZING! It is difficult to find which method works for you. Everyone is different and you will find that what works for someone else won’t necessarily work for you. Anyone who has couponed for a while will tell you they have tried a few methods before finding which one works the best for them.
I hope this helps you understand the different methods of organizing and sorting.
Here I have listed the different types of organizers. This is WHERE you store all your coupons.
This a simple coupon clutch, this is something nearly everyone has seen or used.. Designed to hold a couple hundred coupons, these purse-sized contraptions are a must for the beginning (and sometimes expert) couponer.
For a brand new couponer, this is the way I would go. It’s small, it’s simple and it’s easy. As the amount of coupons you have grows you will need to grow into another method as well. But many people still use a clutch in combination with other methods.
Advantage: Simple and Easy.
Disadvantage: Can be difficult to find coupons if you have too many.
Picture a very large three-ring binder, filled with plastic sleeves holding thousands of coupons.
That’s a coupon binder.
Advantage: Easy to see every coupon you have and have them all with you. Catch any deal at any time.
Disadvantage: EXTREMELY time consuming. Requires a lot of upkeep to remove expired coupons and clip inserts every week.
File Box Method
Another extremely popular grocery coupon organizer is the file box method. This is a small suitcase like box that sits in the baby seat of the shopping cart. Able to hold thousands of coupons, this box is portable, and very well organized. This can be something as small as a index card holder or much bigger.
Advantage: Easier to sort your coupons than Binder Method and yet still have them all with you.
Disadvantage: If you drop it’s a disaster. Can be time consuming in the store to find what you have. You have to clip and sort each section often to get rid of expired coupons.\
File Whole Inserts
Some couponers purchase an actual filing cabinet, or filing tote from an office supply store, complete with dividers, and will file their inserts, uncut, in chronological order. Then, when they have a sale and need a coupon, they pull the inserts, clip the coupons, and refile the inserts.
This coupon organizer would still need a way to bring the coupons to the store. Most likely, a coupon clutch is used as well.
Advantage: Takes little time to organize each week.
Disadvantage: If you see an item on Clearance, you probably won’t have the coupon with you. And it can be time consuming to plan your trip in advance because you have to make sure you have all your coupons with you.
Just getting started in your coupon hobby and need a free, quick, and easy how to organize coupons method? Try the envelope method. Recycle several old mailing envelopes (the kind those ugly bills come in) and write a department or coupon category on each one. Create an additional envelope (or envelopes, depending on how many stores you shop) for store coupons, or coupons you intend to use at a particular sale.
I have never only used the Envelope Method so I can’t say there are advantages to only doing this method. When I was doing the Binder, I would clip all my coupons and then sort them into an envelope for each section in my binder and if I needed something from that section before I had them all filed away I knew where to find them.
I now use Envelopes for when I shop. I write my grocery list on one side and put all my coupons on the inside so they don’t get lost or misplaced.
I’ve mentioned many different ways to choose your perfect grocery coupon organizer, but I want to stress that you can combine more than one method. You just have to find what works for you.
I personally do a combination of Binder, File & Envelope. I file all the coupons that I trade for or get in the mail from my mother in law into my binder. I file my whole insert into my little file box. And I take an envelope with me to the store. I write my shopping list on my envelope so everything is all together.
If there is one specific coupon that I know that I will use, I clip it from my insert and I file it into my binder so that if I’m at the store and I see it on clearance or just need to buy it, I have the coupon with me. Do I miss a deal here and there from the clearance area, sure. I just don’t have the time that it take to keep up a whole binder so I’m ok with that.
Methods of Coupon Organization
These methods will help you find your coupons in any holder you choose.
Some prefer to sort their coupons alphabetically. This means that they will take the name of the product, for example, Kraft Singles, and file it under “K” for Kraft. Totino’s Pizza Rolls will go under “T” for Totino’s, and so forth. This method is great if you are a brand name shopper who remembers all the different brand names, but can be confusing if you are not.
This is the #1 way people use if they clip their coupons.
They make general categories for their store and then put them in their binder the way that is easier for them to remember and find coupons when they need them.
I’m working on getting a full list of categories to help you decide which ones to try out.
After clipping their coupons, they file them with the soonest expiration in the front, and the furthest expiration in the back.
Some chose to sort by insert date. Especially if you file whole inserts, this makes it easier to find the insert you need if they are sorted by date.
Walking the Store
Another coupon organization method is to set up your system to coincide with how your store is laid out. If, for example, you start in the produce department, your produce coupons would come first in your file.
Go to frozen foods next? Place this category next in your file.
Make your way through canned goods, baking items, and then cereal? Then place them in that order.
This method works well for those who mainly shop at one store, but if you shop multiple stores, they will all be laid out a little (and sometimes a lot!) differently.
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