July 13, 2010

How to organize your coupon inserts. . .

This post is LOOONG overdue! I think being organized is one of the most important things when it comes to being a successful couponer. Time is money and if you’re wasting time searching for a coupon, wasting time clipping stacks of coupons and overwhelmed with a mess of coupons, you won’t keep couponing!

So I updated my Coupon Organization page with these tips on how to organize your coupon inserts. . .

The biggest tip I can offer to couponers is DON’T CLIP coupons until you need them! I recommend getting multiple Sunday papers (see my special Tacoma News Tribune rates). . .which means you could spend hours clipping coupons every Sunday! You’ll waste a lot of time and probably end up with carpal tunnel. . .so instead, I recommend just filing your newspaper coupon inserts by date, so you can find them easily when you need them!

Here’s how to organize your inserts

The first thing I do is take a marker and put the date on the front cover of the insert. For example, these inserts were from the July 11 newspaper, so I put a big 7/11 on the front cover. This makes it easier when you are trying to find a specific insert.

If you are not sure which newspaper a coupon insert came from, check the binding/edge of the insert. In TINY, TINY print you’ll find the date and even the newspaper it came in. For example, Tacoma News Tribune, 7/11/10. So now you know when my blog says, “Use $1/1 coupon from 7/11 Red Plum” that you would grab this insert to find the coupon you need!

Then file them by date! You can use a portable file cabinet like this, a regular file cabinet with hanging folders or even magazine holders (see photo below). Have them labeled by date (I’m lazy, so my hanging folders don’t have dates on them in this picture – but you can use post-it notes to easily label the folders. I file mine with the newest ones in front, but you can do it however it works for you.)

It doesn’t have to be fancy!!! Use whatever you have on hand to organize your inserts so you can find them by date. That way, when I list a deal and I say, “Use the $1/1 coupon from the 8/2 P&G insert” you know where that insert is and you can go and clip the coupon when you need it!!

Now, you can’t obviously carry all your Sunday inserts around, so there are a couple schools of thought in “mobile” coupon organization. Pick the one that works best for you, the most common are the binder and envelope methods. For either of these, you would clip coupons that you think you’ll use so you can have them on hand when your out and about.

Learn more about these methods:

I want to hear from you – how do you organize your coupons?


    Leave your comments here...


  1. Thanks… I created a binder but Ive been endlessly trying to clip the new coupons before the next weeks papers come and wondering how to keep up because When I think I know which ones I wont have use for I find myself hunting for them later only to find I must have thrown them out assuming I wouldnt use them and there goes a great freebie I never expected. Now that my eyes are more trained to look for and notice clearance tags and clearance shelves as I am walking around its hard when I dont have them all with me because its not that quick to get back home and I am too pregnant for too much running around I am getting exhausted when I try to backtrack…

  2. For storing inserts, I use a unit with pull out plastic drawers – 3 large drawers and 3 small drawers. It’s about 36″ tall. I have plenty of room- placing RP, SS and PG each in their own drawer. Inside the drawer the inserts are stacked by date. The smaller drawers hold coupons to sort, coupon books from mail or other sources.
    Like I said, I’m still trying to find my comfort zone in determining what if any inserts to take along with me to stores, in case I run into close-outs.

  3. I’m SO glad you posed this. It took me quite a while to get the method that would work best for me. I use the binder. It’s a nylon zipper binder, which has 2 sets of rings – when unzipped and laying open, there’s one set of rings on the left and one on the right. The binder is full of clear pages with slots – I use pages with 6 slots – just right for the standard coupon. I tried the baseball card size, but got tired of folding the coupons or having them stick out. This method allows me to see the exp date. The binder has a shoulder strap and carrying handle. I’m thrilled with it.
    I have used a file box with a snap lid but after dumping it a couple of times, I find the binder method works best. I added larger clear pocket pages to hold all my FREEbies, and a slot for each store deals and catalinas and rainchecks. There are also zipper pockets for doublers, calculator and scissors and paper clips etc.
    When in the store, I lay the open binder over the ‘child seat’ area of the grocery cart, as if I were adding a lid to the child seat area.
    I’ve been struggling with which and how many of the dated inserts to take along on shopping trips. Since we live quite a long way from town, multiple trips aren’t practical.
    I’m sure this topic will help a lot of people. Thank you for all you do.

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