So far in this Getting Started with Coupons series, we have learned where to find coupons and what their abbreviations mean. Today we are going to discuss the ways that couponers organize their coupons.
Why is organizing my coupons so important?
You might think that taking the time to organize coupons is silly, but after a few weeks of couponing, you will come to see why your coupons need to be in some kind of order. If you don’t know where a particular coupon is, how can you use it to get that awesome deal?
There are 3 main methods used to organize coupons:
The binder method
Many couponers use the binder method to organize their coupons. This is just a simple 3-ring binder that you can find at any office supply or discount store, such as Target, along with some baseball card protectors and dividers.
Each coupon is then cut from its insert and placed in a pocket on the protector sheet. The sheets can then be organized according to category (baking supplies, diapers, shampoo, pet supplies, etc.) using the binder dividers.
The great thing about this method is that all of your coupons are already cut out and ready to take shopping, plus they are easy to find, thanks to the see-through protector pockets. The binder is also easily carried to the store, so you can access coupons for items that you might discover on clearance.
On the other hand, it does take a lot of time to cut out all those coupons and fold and organize them every week. It is also a pain to go through and throw away expired coupons, since the date is sometimes covered up because the coupon has been folded in order to fit inside the pocket.
The accordion file method
Quite a few people like using the accordion file to organize their coupons. You simply take an accordion file and use it to file your full and uncut coupon inserts by week.
This method is great because you don’t have to cut out coupons that you would not normally use, plus many coupon match-ups refer to coupons by the date and type of insert, making it a snap to find what you are looking for.
The downside to this method is that, depending on how long you want to keep your insert, you will need several of these files and a place to store them all. It is also not a good system for keeping loose coupons, such as peelies, catalinas and register coupons in order.
The box method
This coupon organization method is probably the most familiar one to many people. It is simply a box with dividers (or envelope) in which you store your cut coupons.
With this method, the coupons are stored cut and ready for shopping, however, it is sometimes a bit too bulky to take shopping with you, or it may become too small to accommodate all of your coupons.
My personal method
I personally use a combination of the binder and accordion file methods to organize my coupons. And although it isn’t perfect, I have found that it works the best for me.
Each weekend when I receive coupon inserts, I look through and find the coupons that I am most likely to use. I cut those out and store them in my binder. I then label and store the remainder of the inserts in a cupboard in my kitchen.
When I prepare for a shopping trip, I check the coupon match-ups for the store and can find the coupons I need rather quickly and easily.