There are tons of ways to start organizing your coupons, and it takes a little while to figure out which system will work for you. Here are a few options I’ve tried over the years:
1) File and Clip Method: The method I’ve used forever is to store my coupons in two (cute!) boxes that are 8×11 and 10×14 (I found mine at Tuesday Morning). The smaller box holds any coupons that I get in the mail, print, or pick up while I’m at the store. Then if I see a deal I hopefully remember that the coupon is in there!
The large box holds all my Sunday coupons sorted by date. I’ve done best keeping this pretty simple – I just file each weekends coupon inserts in file folders and then place them on top of the previous weeks; so when I sit down to organize my coupons once a week for shopping, I take them out by date and clip only the ones I need. (Tip: if you’re unsure of the date on a set of inserts just look at the seam of the insert for date and newspaper info!) About once a month I throw out coupon inserts that are 4 months or older (sometimes there are coupons in those that haven’t expired, but I can only stand so much paper running around my house so I may miss a deal every now and then because the clutter makes me crazy!)
Once a week (usually Thursday or Friday because Publix runs their sale ads Wednesday to Tuesday), I sit down and print out my printable coupons for the sale that week, and write down which ones I need to clip as well as my grocery list. That night, with my kids in bed and my hubby watching a little TV, I clip my coupons. It really doesn’t take that much time, and the amount of money I save makes it completely worth it. On average my family of five spends $50 a week for groceries and toiletries, so I probably save $100 in the hour or two it takes me to plan my grocery shopping. Not a bad hourly rate for a stay-at-home-mommy!
2) Clip and Sort Method: Another way to organize your coupons is to clip all your coupons as you print or get them from the Sunday newspaper inserts, so that you can more easily sort through them when the new ad starts each week. A huge benefit to this is that when you get to the store you’ll have all your coupons right there with you for easy access, so you can find deals that aren’t necessarily advertised or shown on coupon blogs – your deals are all right there with you! I have stayed clear of this one because it just sounds too time consuming to me, however I’m about to slightly change my ways!
I have whole-heartedly been a fan of the “file-and-clip” method since I started couponing several years ago, but I am seriously considering making a change over the next few weeks! I’ve found that as I’ve gotten busier, I’m not as diligent to sort through my coupons and I’m missing oodles of deals because I’m overwhelmed by all the PAPER! So my plan is to attempt a very modified “clip and sort” method. I’m going to try to sort all my printables and miscellaneous coupons (I have them everywhere!), as well as coupons from the newspapers that I know I’ll use (i.e. high value coupons or items our family uses all the time). I’ll continue to file away the rest of the coupons by date so that if some random money making scenario comes up on a deal with an odd coupon, I can still sort through my stash to find the one I need! This is going to be a huge change for me, so we’ll see how it goes!
3) One more tip on coupon organization: Don’t throw away a coupon because you just know you’ll never use it! There have been so many times that I’ve been able to get overage on items that I would never normally purchase, but thanks to an awesome sale and coupon deal, I’ve been able to make a little money with those coupons! (A great example of this was a deal on Bayer Contour Meters last fall at Walgreens. I made TEN DOLLARS on a deal just because I hadn’t thrown out those Contour Meter coupons – CRAZY! I was also able to donate the Contour Meters, so hopefully someone benefited from my great bargain!)
If you’re really new to this and need a few coupons to get you started, check out these sites to start your coupon stash:
Be sure to also pick up your local newspaper Sunday to add a few more coupons to your pile, and in no time at all you’ll have coupons coming out your eyeballs like I do!
If you have an extra minute or two this weekend, organize your coupon stash! Whether you’re a newbie or an old pro, I’m betting it could use a little attention (I know mine can), so let’s get it together and start the next week off ready to go! And stop back tomorrow to see my new cute organizer (y’all are gonna love this!), and we’ll get into the nitty gritty of couponing Monday. Happy Weekend!