Coupon Organization Methods

Are you as excited about continuing this series as I am? In case you missed the first few posts of the series, you can catch up by starting here.

Today, I’m going to introduce you to three common methods for organizing your coupons. However, the best way to organize them is whatever way fits your needs and your lifestyle best.

I’ll give you some pros and cons to the following methods, and then you can make your own decision as to which one you think might work for you.

The most common methods of organization are:

  • Accordion File
  • Coupon Binder
  • Shoe Box/Plastic Box

Accordion File

binder12 430x313 Coupon Organization Methods

With this method, you label the accordion file tabs by insert name and date, and then place each weekly insert behind the appropriate tab label.

For example, if you get a Smartsource and Redplum insert on March 14, you would label the first tab SS 3/14 (Smartsource 3/14) and the next tab would be labeled RP 3/14 (Redplum 3/14). This way you don’t have to cut out the coupons until you actually want to use them. (I’ll explain in the next post how you’ll know when you want to use them and how you’ll know which insert to look in to get the coupon you need.)

If you don’t have a lot of time, but want to be able to snag the advertised deals, this might be the best option for you. However, the main disadvantage is that you can’t easily take these into the store to look for unadvertised deals and clearance sales.

Coupon Binder

binder1 430x322 Coupon Organization Methods

The coupon binder has become, by far, my favored method over the past several months because it is easy to take to the store.

To set up a coupon binder, you’ll need a two to three inch binder, a package of baseball card sleeves, several divider pages with tabs, and a good sharp pair of scissors (for cutting all those coupons, of courseĀ  icon smile Coupon Organization Methods ).

When setting up your categories, my suggestion would be to categorize by type of product. In other words, some of your categories might be “Beverages”, “Dairy”, “Medications”, and “Paper Products”. This way when you come to these sections in the store, you can flip to that category and you’ll be able to see all those coupons quickly and easily.

Organizing this way is particularly advantageous when it comes to grabbing those unadvertised deals and clearance items.

The obvious disadvantage is the time it takes to actually clip the coupons, and then file each one into the baseball sleeve pockets.

Shoe Box/Plastic Box

Now, I consider this system of organization to be somewhere between the accordion file and the coupon binder. I’ve personally not tried this system, but I know it works well for some.

You’ll need either a shoe box or plastic box, preferably with a lid, and divider cards with tabs. For this method, you will simply cut out your coupons and place them behind the appropriate divided and labeled categories inside the box.

The pro to this system is you have all your coupons cut and categorized. Therefore, you can take it into the store with you to look for other deals and clearance items. You also don’t have to worry about folding coupons and cutting them just right to fit into the little baseball card sleeves.

I would say the cons to this system are, first of all, clipping all the coupons, and then, although the coupons are already cut and categorized, it’s not quite as easy to just glance and see what coupons you actually have.

Other Organization Information

I do have a few other things I want to mention regarding coupon organization.

It is quite common for someone to use more than one of these methods simultaneously. For instance, even if you are using the accordion method, you will need to either have a box or binder for storing and organizing other loose coupons you collect along the way.

On the other hand, some couponers will only clip coupons for the things they are most likely to purchase and place them in a box or binder, and then file what’s left of their inserts in an accordion folder. This way they save the time of cutting everything out, but if for some reason they need a coupon from one of the inserts, they can still easily find it.

In addition to my binder, I have a mini accordion file that I use for organizing the coupons I plan to use for specific shopping trips.

minifile1 430x322 Coupon Organization Methods

I wrote the name of each store I shop at on the tabs. Then as I plan my shopping trip for the things I know I’m going to buy using coupons, I place those coupons behind that store name. For me, this makes organizing my coupons for the shopping trip much easier, especially if I’m going to several different stores in one day.

Like I said in the beginning, it’s all about finding the method, or methods, that work best for you.

I hope this gives you a few good ideas for organizing your coupons. Now, I can’t wait to show you how easy it is to find all the deals out there. Be sure to check back on Monday, so you don’t miss it.

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Posted on March 26th, 2010 in Money Matters | One Comment

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