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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Coupon Organization & Storage (With McLinky!)

Well, here we are, already 1/3 of the way into February, and I finally got around to cleaning out my coupon binder (Debbie, the Queen of Clutter-Free would be proud!)  Who knew that I had so many expired coupons stuck in there??  Since many of you are probably cleaning house as well, I thought it might be a good time to talk about coupon organization!  We all have a method to our madness - and what works for one might not work for another.  Here's your chance to share what works best for you and get some ideas from others.

First, I'd like to share what works best for me (Jamie).

This is a picture of me at Bi-Lo, with my coupon binder and my little store divider.  This happens to be the system that works for me:
1)  I use the large coupon binder, with baseball-card holder pages, to organize my coupons.  The baseball-card holders are perfect for keeping blinkies, clipped coupons, and printables all tidily divided up into convenient categories.  I divide my binder into THREE main categories (based on the layout of my favorite grocery)-
  • Health & Beauty
  • Produce/Meat/Packaged Foods
  • Frozen/Dairy
I then divide those categories into more specific sub-categories (i.e. Teeth, Shampoo, Cereals, Pasta, Canned Goods, etc…) If you've attended a workshop, you might have purchased a binder with an organization list already included.  If so, Yay for you!

2) After I research the weekly ads & matchups, I pull out the coupons I’d like to use for each store and put them in my little purse-sized divider.  I then throw it into my purse so that whenever I have time to stop at a store, I have my favorite coupon-matchups ready to go!  My little store divider is categorized like this:
  • Publix,
  • Bi-Lo
  • Food Lion
  • CVS
  • Walgreens
  • Rite-Aid
  • Target
  • and “Other”(which is where I keep high-value coupons that will work well just about anywhere)
I like to bring my big binder with me, in case I find an unadvertised deal or something that has been clearanced - but the little divider keeps me focused on the deals I came for.

3) And now, I will humbly admit to you that I do not always find the time to actually clip my inserts or printables (GASP!!).  That is why I actually have a THIRD system for keeping printables and newspaper inserts organized until I get to them!  I have a cheap expanding file that I drop the inserts into, according to the week they came out.  (TIP: If you aren’t sure what week they’re from, you can find the date on the spine in tiny print.) 

Despite all the pains I take to keep my coupons “ready for action”- there are some, in reality, that are still hanging out in my minivan, on top the breadbox, and under stacks of mail.  I’m an unorganized procrastinator at heart,  and yet, I still manage to save 50%-90% per shopping trip.  I hope this not only gives you a couple storage ideas for starting out, but also encourages you to “soldier on” in your efforts to save money for your family with couponing (Even IF you are organizationally-challenged like I am!)

Okay, enough about me!  What organization system do YOU use to help corral all those valuable coupons?  Post a link to your own blog post touting your method below!


  1. Well Jamie, I am a blog procrastinator. So I will try to explain my coupon organization here. First - I order 25 of each insert EVERY week (not the local insert, they are terrible) - that is ALOT of Qs to organize, and that doesn't include the IP, blinkie, hangtag, peelie, and ones that I pick up here, there and everywhere (or the ones that are waiting in the mailbox on the Q trains that I ride). Now, I cut ONLY 10 of my inserts every week - that way I have plenty to share on the coupon train (and at a coupon swap should I ever get the chance to attend one) - but I keep them on hand for those high dollar Q's that I may use for gifts, donations, etc. Those uncut Qs are waiting in a divided folder by date (I mark the date on the outside with a sharpie each week).
    I used a zipper binder after attending a workshop - but it was very HEAVY, and hard for me to wrestle with at the grocery store. So, I brought my retired Creative Memories tote out of the basement and put it back to work - and it has the added bonus of a LARGE pocket on the outside for my "little divider". It is the "Foxfunds Bank" - as my kids put it. It has all of the benefits of a zipper binder with a HUGE exception, it has a handle for carrying inside and a shoulder strap for leaving the store with full bags of free/cheap groceries - woohoo, an answer to my prayers. Inside my binder I have baseball card insertss, 3x5 photo inserts and 4x6 photo inserts - and I have full size sheet protectors - all to fit whatever kinds of coupons come my way.
    I have it divided with dividers that have pockets on each side - for those LARGE Qs that are hard to place, or those high dollar Qs like blood glucose monitors. My sections are beverages/breads/product, frozen, refrigerated, breakfast/baking, canned/boxed, snacks/sauces, HBA, cleaning, paper products, pet supplies, and store coupons. Each of those sections is sorted even further by subcategory of each one - my nine year old can find Qs without a problem when I give directions to pull them.
    Once a month I clear out old coupons and send them on their way to a military family (I have a list of families that I send my expired Qs to).
    Remember those full size sheet protectors? I use them for rebates that I am currently working on, so I keep all my "ducks" in a row - or receipts with it's rebate info - as the case may be.
    And the little divider? Yep, just like Jamie - I have it sectioned by store - mine has 13 dividers and a larger pocket in the front for my calculator. Every day I sit down with a new store - pick and choose my items, Qs and deals - and off I go. I am a big one for rainchecks - and I keep paper clips on hand to clip those Qs to the rainchecks so if I am running into a store and see that they have what I am missing from weeks before - I am ready.
    It seems like a lot - but I shop for several families - we all have to help each other during times like this. I consider it my job to save the family money - and couponing has saved us more money than I ever made working full time with kids in daycare. Not to mention - I am teaching my kids to live within their means and still live good - 'cause life is good!!

    Many thanks to you ladies - between the valuable info on the sales, the deals and how to work them, the encouragement to conquer the clutter, organize the great deals I come home with, and the sense of accomplishment that I have after 8 months of couponing - I couldn't have done it without those classes full of valuable information and this site that continues that every time I visit.

  2. I don't blog about couponing either, so I'll let ya in on all my secrets here.:0

    I use a binder. When starting out, I used the small organizer which quickly became too small. I tried not clipping, filing, and clipping when I needed them. That was disastrous for me! I get 6 insert copies, staple like coupons together and cut once. My binder is divided to mimic how I would walk through my most visited store: produce, beverages, snacks, etc. It is also subdivided: snack bars, crackers, candy, etc.

    In my binder, I have three pencil pouches. I shop at grocery stores on Mondays. Sometime between Thursday and Sunday, I will get my trips together. Decide what I want to buy and put the list and the coupons in a pouch. I do drugstores on Thursday or Friday, I rotate out the pouches accordingly.

    The first day of every month is my day to clean out my binder and reorganize!

  3. I am looking for the binder organizer that I saw at the Time2Save workshop that I attended. Kelly was using it and it had a shoulder strap. The rings were much bigger so it would hold more pages. Does anyone know if this is in the online store? Please help! Thanks!



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