Frugal Friday: Coupon Organizing

As a person just starting out in the coupon game, you may find your “stash” of clipped coupons or circulars isn’t too hard to manage.  Now fast forward a few weeks, with accumulated circulars (sometimes from multiple copies of the newspaper), coupons that accompanied your free samples, and the ones inside the cardboard packaging of those granola bars you just bought…also on coupon.  You’ll quickly find that you need some method or sort of organization to make this venture easier.  Walking down the grocery store aisle and frantically digging for that ONE coupon may not be working so smoothly from here on out.

I organize, simply.  For $12.99, I picked up a 13-file expanding according file folder at Staples.  The coupons are stored in a corresponding file, organized by category, as how many of our local drug stores, grocery stores, and large retailers are:

Pantry (salad dressing, boxed rices and pastas, condiments, snack items, etc.)

Refrigerated (deli meats, cheeses, dairy products, eggs, and juices)

Frozen (entrees, vegetables, fruits, and desserts)

Household (batteries, housewares, paper products)

Cleaning Products (including laundry detergents and softeners, sponges, and dishwasher detergents)

Baby (diapers, wipes, bath products, and formula)

Personal Care (body wash, soaps, deodorants)

Oral Care (toothpaste, floss, mouthwash, whiteners, lip balms)

Beauty (makeup, facial cleansers, shampoo, conditioner, and hair styling products)

Pharmacy (medications and first aid)

Store Deals (store specific coupons including store coupons, rebates, extra care bucks, and register rewards)

When I go coupon shopping, I will check out the store deals before hand and place those in a separate envelope along with my shopping list, and any register rewards or gift certificates I may have for that particular store.  I will also take with me the entire accordion file with coupons.  At this size, it isn’t too bulky, and can even fit inside my purse.  If I see and unadvertised sale or an item on clearance, I have all my coupons there with me and ready to use.

How I organize may not be the best way you find to organize your coupons.  You can sort coupons in several ways, by expiration date, by brand name, by product name or by product category.  But there are several different organizational methods, so one is sure to work for you.

1. A shoebox-sized container with envelopes or dividers labeled by aisle, product type or item category.

2. A 3-ring binder with clear sheet protectors or trading card protector inserts.

3. A notecard box.

4. A pre-made coupon organizer with pre-set tabs or dividers available online.

Here’s some tools you can utilize to get you started on your own coupon organization method:

Printable Coupon Binder Pages

Printable Shopping List

Step-by-step on How To Create a Coupon Binder

Printable Coupon Binder Cover & Divider Pages

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