I love to coupon, save money, and live frugally. I started couponing when I was in college, and my system has evolved over the past few years. I changed my system as my needs and our family’s needs changed. I think that is important to remember when choosing an organization method for your coupons. What works for you now, may not work two years from now. Be willing to learn, change, and customize your system.
Here are the basic components of my coupon organization system:
- A coupon binder
- An expandable coupon organizer
- A Grocery List Folder
Let’s start with the…
I bought this binder at Wal-Mart several years ago for around $10. It has served me well, and has lots of convenient storage areas.
One of my favorite features is the expandable file area on the front.
Here I keep my sales papers for the week for grocery stores and drug stores. I also keep my Staples rewards under the “Misc.” tab.
Let’s take a look inside…
There are pockets for pens and markers, my store savings cards, and coupons that I cut but haven’t used yet. I added a pencil pouch that holds a small notebook, post its, a calculator, and a small pair of scissors.
There are several sections to my coupon binder.
First, I keep a list of the coupon insert schedule handy in the very front. I can easily look each week to see how many inserts will be in our Sunday paper, or if there are no inserts for the week.
Second, I have baseball card protector sheets that hold loose coupons that come in the mail with free samples or on products I buy. I know these coupons are not normally included in the coupon matchups I use online, so I can just flip through them individually to determine if there is a deal for the week with those coupons.
Third, I have my weekly coupon inserts from the Sunday papers. This is the largest section of my binder.
I do not cut my coupons out of my inserts until I need them! I plan my grocery trips around what is on sale, and use Southern Savers website to match my coupons with the items I will buy. She tells you the date of the insert for each coupon matchup and by not cutting them out, I can easily just go through whichever insert I need. I will also search the coupon database for any items I will be buying that are not part of the store’s weekly sales.
I put each week’s inserts into a separate sheet protector and add a post-it note with the date written on it. These serve as tabs that I use to find the inserts I am looking for.
Fourth, I have a couple of sheet protectors that I cut and sewed back together to form pockets. Here I keep coupon booklets that I receive in the mail (mostly P&G or store specific booklets). I simply cut a slit in the top piece of the sheet protector half way down and then sewed a straight stich across to seal the top pocket on my sewing machine.
Fifth, I keep copies of different stores’ coupon policies. These are handy to have when you are planning your trips and to take with you to the store in case there is ever any question from the cashier about your coupon usage. Surprisingly, store clerks often do not know the store’s policies.
Sixth, I have two pocket folders. I purchased these from Staples for $1 each and in one I keep retail coupons and in the other I keep coupons I clip from magazines.
And last but not least, I keep a copy of Coupon Mom’s Grocery Saving Strategies in the back for reference.
It’s a full load but it helps me keep everything in place and available when I need it. I use this binder at HOME, not the store. I have tried to take it to the store with me, but it is just too bulky and is not effective for me.
I keep it in a pretty file box that I received as a wedding gift when I’m not using it. It normally stays in the office and I get it out when I plan my weekly shopping trips.
Tomorrow I’ll share what the second part of my coupon organizing system- what I take to the store with me.
Do you coupon? And if so, how do you keep all of those coupons organized?