Until recently, I hadn’t found a really great way to keep all my coupons organized.
I’m usually the "have pile will travel" kind of gal. But that can make for some tough experiences at the grocery store — when you get to the checkout aisle and you’re trying to sort through a pile of paper and the lady behind you is giving you dirty looks because you’re taking so long.
There’s also the opposite. One of my girlfriends is scary organized with her coupons! She clips coupons all the time, and uses one of those albums with the plastic holders. She’s got them all separated by categories. She tried to show me once, but personally, that’s a little too organized for me.
I’m thinking somewhere in between my pile and her album is the best way to go.
Here are the best ways to organize coupons that I’ve found…
Organize your coupons in a coupon holder so they match the grocery store layout. That way, you’ll be able to find your coupons easily as you shop instead of trying sort through a stack of coupons once you get to the checkout counter. While this is a good approach, it’s also important to be intuitive about these things. So, if you have coupons for items that you don’t buy often, instead of putting them in their logical category, it might make more sense to have a category just for "things you don’t buy often."
Use a recipe box with dividers to organize coupons. Since most recipe boxes tend to be small, they are still easily portable. You might want to write the categories on separate dividers instead of using the alpha ones that typically come in recipe boxes though. Or, you could keep your coupons in alphabetical order using the standard recipe dividers, but that could get tricky when it comes to check out aisle. I think it would take longer to find individual coupons this way.
The 3-ring binder method works great for organizing coupons. (And to think, I accused my friend of doing overkill with her binder! This binder method takes things to the next level.) The idea is to use a large binder that can be zipped up and has handles. This makes it really easy to carry. By using clear plastic sheet protectors as mini-folders for each of your coupon categories, it’s easier to see and grab coupons as you need them! One option is to separate your coupons by store and then by category within store. You can also have sections for each store’s weekly coupons — so if you don’t use some of those weekly coupons in time, they can easily be weeded out and new ones added for the next week. Clipping and organizing coupons looks really easy using this system!
Organize coupons by product and expiration date in the coupon file of your choice. If coupons are organized by product and expiration date — with the older ones being up front in the file of your choice — then it’s much easier to find those coupons when you’re shopping. It would even be easier to find coupons at the checkout counter if they’re organized this way.
The Dayrunner coupon organizer is a little spiral-bound organizer. It has thick cardboard-like pages, featuring all the categories you’ll need. Each page features a unique category and a pocket for you to put your coupons in. Also, it’s small enough to fit in your purse — which makes it a no-brainer. Finally, the cost is perfect: $8!
Obviously, there are many ways to organize coupons. My personal favorite (and the one I’ll be putting together soon) is the binder method mentioned above. I really like that one.
I’ve always clipped and used coupons, so I know from experience that they do save you money. But one woman actually did the math and discovered exactly how much money is saved by clipping all those coupons!