So you have figured out where to get your coupons and how to use your coupons…but now you need to know where to put your coupons and how to organize them. I am going to be quite honest with you, organization of anything is not my strongest suit. I am an art teacher and primarily use the right, creative side of my brain. My desk at home is usually covered in coupons and my desk at work is covered in construction paper cut-outs, watercolor trays and paint brushes. Organization does not come natural to me. So, if I can organize my coupons-you can definately organize your coupons!
You could probably google “coupon organization” and find a gazillion blog articles on it.
Some people use a big coupon binder with baseball card sleeves. They have notebook dividers for different sections. All their coupons are in the pockets of the baseball card sleeves and they can easily see all of their coupons. This works for a lot of people.
I have never tried it and don’t really plan on trying it.
A friend of mine has a binder with clear folders in it for her various coupon inserts. She keeps her entire inserts in the folders and she makes a list of all the coupons each insert contains and keeps them in the front of the folder. She then follows blogs, the sales, and supermarket ads and cuts her coupons out as she needs them. I would like to try something like this at some point.
Some people just use envelopes . That is what I did in the beginning, but the envelopes started falling apart etc…and I needed to move to a new system.
Here is what I do. It kind of evolved from just one coupon accordian to 1 accordian and some envelopes…and a few folders…to this system.
I have an old file box where I keep my coupon inserts. It is nothing fancy and quite old. You could also use a sturdy cardboard box. I use old manila file folders to organize my inserts. I have a file folder for each month for each insert. For example, one folder says Smartsource February, one says Smartsource March, one says SS April, etc. And this goes for Red Plum as well. Then I have a folder for P&G inserts and other miscellaneous inserts like General Mills or Playsaver. I also have a folder in the front for printables and miscellaneous coupons that I have not cut or filed. Ideally, when I get my inserts, I use a big fat black marker and write the date on the front of all the inserts and then put them in their corresponding folder.
So that is where I store and organize my inserts.
Ideally, I go through my new inserts at the beginning of each week and cut out the common coupons my family uses.
Then these cut coupons get filed in one of my three accordian files. You can pick these up at a dollar store or Target or something. For my system, I highly recommend 3 and definately get them in different colors.
I have one accordian for food and drink-anything edible. I have another accordian for products that are not edible, like toilet paper and shampoo etc. The last accordian is for specific stores.
So, my FOOD ACCORDIAN is divided up and labeled into different sections. Ideally, you could label this according to how your grocery store is set up. I have categories like produce (yes, produce, produce coupons do exist and sometimes there are coupons for things found in the produce section like Wholly Guacomole). Other categories include cereal, rice and pasta, canned goods, frozen food, dairy, coffee and tea, drinks, snacks, miscellaneous.
My NON-FOOD ACCORDIAN is divided up into different sections as well. My categories include, Medication and vitamins, teeth, face, body, hair, air fresheners, paper products (toilet paper, napkins, paper towels etc. ), household (ziplocs, foil, light bulbs etc), baby, sanitary, and miscellaneous.
Last but not least is my important, sanity saving, STORE ACCORDIAN. You may wonder why this is necessary, but it has made my life and my shopping trips soooo much easier. I think it is extremely important for a smooth shopping trip.
My store accordian folder has spots labeled for all the stores I often shop at. These are CVS, Rite Aid, Target, and Shoprite.
In my CVS spot, I keep my ECBs, rain checks, receipts, CVS store coupons etc. In my Rite Aid spot, I keep my +UP rewards, my RA VV coupons, receipts etc. In my Target spot, I keep my Target store coupons. When I go to Target I add whatever coupons I plan on “stacking” or using in there as well.
My Shoprite spot is near the front. The front spot is mostly kept empty except for a small pair of scissors, some money, and a few Generous Savings business cards.
I put my Shoprite receipts and Catalina coupons in the third spot. Before I go to Shoprite, I make my list and gather all my coupons that I will need and put them in the second spot. I also put any $$ off your next purchase Catalinas in the second spot. As I put items in my shopping cart, I move the respective coupon to the first spot. This way, by the time I get to checkout, all my coupons are there ready for me. This saves a lot of stress at checkout. I also move any $$ oyno Catalinas that I plan on using that day, to this front spot. When I checkout, I just go to my front spot and pull out that pile of coupons and hand to the cashier and I always watch the register to make sure they all go through properly.
When I am done with my shopping trip, any coupons left over in the second spot get moved to the third spot or filed back into their category in their accordian file. The front two spots are empty once again, waiting for my next trip.
Also you might wonder what I bring with me to the store, so I actually bring all 3 accordian files with me. My store one is on top and easily accessible but the other 2 are with me as well, because I never know when I will see a product that I use and need on sale or clearance. They happen to fit perfectly in a medium sized fashionable diaper bag by RowanTri designs. There are several places to keep my keys and cell phone handy. RowanTri makes all kinds of bags and accessories by hand. I highly recommend checking them out on Etsy or Facebook. There is a wide selection of bags that are very cool and hip and they can custom make a bag for you as well! So if you have a system different from mine, you can have a stylish bag custom made for it.
When I don’t keep up with my coupon organizing system, my shopping trips are much more frazzled and difficult. My system works well for me, when I actually do it. Something else might work better for you. Everyone needs some kind of system though to make their life and shopping trips easier.
Pictures will be coming soon…….