There are LOTS of different methods of organizing coupons and there is no right or wrong way, you just have to try a few and figure out what works best for you. I buy four All You magazines every month and subscribe to four Sunday newspapers — I go through tons of coupons and there wouldn’t be enough time in the day to clip them all, so I use a combination of methods that make organizing my coupons a fast and easy task. Here is a quick video I made to show you how I organize my coupons, in it I talk about the steps I’ve detailed below.
On Sunday nights, after the kids have gone to bed, I’ll sit down to watch some television with my husband and while doing that I take the inserts from the newspaper that day and file them away in a folder in this portable file cube. I also have hanging folders in it for my Internet printables, Publix advantage flyers, and each month’s All You coupons, which I pull out of the magazine and stack in order until I need them.
I usually make my drugstore shopping trips on Monday morning, so my next step is to plan those trips by copying and pasting the matchups from my favorite bloggers into a Word document. Next I delete everything that I’m not interested in, and start looking for coupons for the things I do want to purchase. The matchups tell me what inserts I’ll find the coupons in, and when I do cut the coupons I need I take that page out of every insert and cut them all at the same time with my slice tool and cutting board as shown in the video. For example, if I’m cutting a Nivea coupon from the All You magazine, I’ll pull all four of the same pages from the file (that’s why I keep them stacked in order) and cut them all together to save time.
When cutting coupons from an insert, I do the same thing — cut all the pages and all of the coupons from those pages. I usually end up with extra cut coupons that I don’t intend to use on this week’s trip, so I divide those up by category in these inexpensive stacking plastic baskets that I got from the craft store. I used to put them in an envelope for each category but they got full really fast, so now I’ve just labeled the top of each of those envelopes with the category name and I stuck them in the bottom of the baskets. I pull the baskets out when I’m clipping, divide up the leftover coupons, then stack them and put the baskets away with the filing cube when I’m done.
Of course there are always those “special” coupons for free items, B1G1s, coupons for staples or things that you usually buy, or sometimes I’ll even buy extras of the really terrific coupons. All of those “special” coupons get filed away in my Coupon Clutch, which I carry around with me to the stores on shopping trips in case I find unexpected deals while I’m out.
I save lots of time and effort by using this combination of methods because I’m only clipping the coupons that I need when I need them and I always know exactly where they are. I used to get overwhelmed by my growing stack of inserts and printed coupons and it was always hard to find the ones I needed. I never let a stack get started now that I can just throw them into the file cube, which I keep handy in the small closet in the foyer.
Let us know what methods work best for you!