For me, organizing coupons has been a ‘work in progress’. I have used several different methods before settling on the system I currently use. There is NO definite here…it is simply what you like and more importantly, what helps you save the most money 🙂
My first method was simply an envelope with a few manufacturer’s coupons in it for items I knew I would purchase. I clipped very few coupons then, so this system seemed to work. They were not in any particular order and usually expired before I remembered to use them.
Next, I got a little more serious about couponing. I bought a small coupon organizer with dividers in it to separate the coupons into various groups. At this point, I was cutting more coupons than before, and this system seemed sufficient.
After this, I realized that the small holder was becoming so packed that it was hard to flip through the coupons to find the one that I wanted to use. So, I bought a large plastic shoe box container and some large dividers to again separate the coupons by types. This system was actually very effective in that I had a lot of room to store the coupons, they were very well organized by groups, and they were protected in a box with lid. However, the downfall for me in this system is that I was cutting so many coupons, even multiple copies of the same coupon, that I got tired of looking through even the divided sections to find the right coupon. Also, I found that I allowed so many coupons to expire because they got lost in the sections.
Next, I tried the non-cutting method. I used manila folders and wrote the dates of the inserts that went into each. As I found deals, I would simply pull the inserts I needed and cut the coupons. This method saves A LOT of time, because you only cut the coupons you need. I have gone back to this method various times, especially when I get too busy to cut and file all the coupons. However, for me this system just isn’t as effective. I find that I have a hard time finding the coupons I need. Also, if I’m in a store and find an unexpected deal, I don’t have the coupons that might make for a great deal. They are at home filed away.
And this leads me to what I believe to be the most effective way to organize coupons and the system that I now use. I bought a package of baseball card sleeves (the clear plastic ones with 9 pockets front and back). I placed these sleeves into a large 3 ring binder and began organizing my coupons. Now, I have to say that the initial setup of this system is quite time consuming, but the results are well worth the effort.
Now all my coupons (which is numerous for I buy up to 5 copies of the Sunday paper) are organized using this system. I placed them in order based upon the aisles of the grocery store I most commonly shop. I can see all my coupons, the value of them, and the expiration date. It has really made using coupons much easier and quicker.
For example, if Cheerios are on sale, I got to the cereal section in my binder. I look for Cheerios coupons and can tell by the amount whether it’s a good deal. If it is, I pull out those coupons, for all the Cheerios coupons are in the same pocket and know how many boxes I will buy at the sale price.
I have found this current well- organized system to be the best at maximizing savings. I know what coupons I have, where they are, and can quickly determine how many I have for a particular item. I believe that I save so much more money using this system. Again, it is a little more time consuming especially initially, but for me it is well worth the effort.
Again, there is no right or wrong way. You have to find out what works best for you. It’s a matter of personal preference.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences with this 🙂