There are several different ways to organize your coupons. What works for one person does not necessarily work for another. I encourage you to try what you think will work best for your lifestyle; you can always make adjustments later.
1. WHOLE INSERT FILING:
Instead of clipping the coupons, file the insert WHOLE, by date either in an accordion-style folder or in a dated file folder.Once you are ready to go shopping, use a blog such as Saving the Piggy to get your coupon match-ups. Then go clip just what you need.
Example: If Barilla Pasta is on your list, you will see that there is a $1.00/2 coupon in the 1/5 SS insert. Just go to that folder, pull out the SS insert and clip the Barilla coupon. Then return the insert back to the folder.
Pros: Super easy and you only bring the coupons you need to the store instead of lugging around a big binder!
Cons: You may miss out on unadvertised sales and clearance deals if you don’t have every coupon with you.
2. BIG BINDER:
This is the most common among serious couponers. Start with a 3” (or larger) binder (with a zipper!) filled with plastic baseball card, photo holders or currency sheets (may be ordered on Amazon.com or EBay). In this case you will clip every single coupon that you might possible use and file it in your binder.
Using stick-on tabs, divide your binder either alphabetically or by category. I personally divide mine into categories put in order of the aisles in my favorite store. You do what ever works for you!
Pros: You always have all of your coupons with you and if there is an unadvertised special, you are ready! Also, you can easily flip through and remove expired coupons (at the end of the month is a good time for this). The binder is easy to store are ready to go when you are.
Cons: It is quite time consuming to cut and file all your coupons each week and they may not fit in the pockets without having to use origami! Also, it may make it more difficult to use the coupon database since your coupons are no longer in order of date.
3. SHOE BOX:
This is the same as the Big Binder except that you use a shoe box or other type of container filled with envelopes to hold all your coupons.
Pros: Coupons fit more easily than they may in the little pockets in a binder, you can easily rearrange categories, and the box fits nicely in the front of your cart.
Cons: You still have to clip every coupon and now it is a little more difficult to sort out expired coupons. Also, one rambunctious little one thinks it is a football and it’s all over!
4. MY METHOD
I personally use a combination of the Whole Inset and Big Binder methods. I clip all the coupons for products I know I will use and for those I know usually go on good sales. The rest stay in the insert and are filed by date. Sometimes I still miss a good deal, but I have learned to let it go. I don’t have to get EVERY deal. I suggest everyone repeat that: “I don’t have to get EVERY deal”. One more time: “I don’t have to get EVERY deal”. Good. That will save quite a bit of undue stress!
What ever method you chose, I suggest keeping with you the store coupon policies, pen, paper, extra envelopes, a calculator and your shopping list. And, have fun!
Now, go organize your coupons and get out there and start Saving the Piggy!