Basic Couponing – Part Two: How to Organize Your Coupons

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:

Smart Source

Red Plum

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!

Go HERE for a quick reference of basic coupon lingo, and be sure to join Passionate Penny Pincher on Facebook to keep up with ALL the deals!

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  1. I started out clipping every coupon that i could get my hands on and filing it in my very large trapper keeper but after doing that for so long it gets old and takes soooooo long to do. So i have been doing like you are starting to do and I clip high value, things i know that i will use, things that i know will probably give overage, and a few others. It saves a lot of time and i know exactly where to find everything, overall it makes couponing easier!

  2. The system you are changing to is what I did until we were moving and I had no time to clip so I filed everything instead. But, I did miss a bunch of deals. So…last night, I bit the bullet and clipped everything and filed it into my new organizer. I did keep the ones that I might use in the files just in case. I really did like this method and I do not clip everything. Just the things that I am pretty sure that I am going to use. Good luck!!!

  3. I’m about to start reorganizing so we’ll see how it goes! I’m only going to file what I’ve already clipped (i.e. ones I didn’t use, printed coupons, odds and ends), and tomorrow I’ll start clipping the ones from the paper. I just can’t imagine going backwards! We’ll see how it goes, thanks for the encouragement Staci and Ashley!

  4. I tried the binder first and got overwhelmed swapping expired for current coupons. Went to your method with the boxes. I am also missing deals. I hate to find a clearance rack and knowing I have a coupon at home for it. And since I travel to Huntsville usually only once a month to do a big shopping trip I really need to have all them with me at one time. So I am thinking it is time to go back to the binder????? Who knows!

  5. I need a new system. I am a clipper. I miss too many deals and they expire. I have them in envelopes but it is too time consuming to sort them and refile them if I don’t use them. Plus they are bulky and fall out. I was thinking about a binder but I like the expandable file idea if it had alot of dividers. I would like one that is not so deep. I will have to look around for one.

  6. I am new to this and I clip ALL my coupons in 2 file folders.. It works out nicely for me.. But, I am new to this and trying to learn the tricks of the trade(lol) I guess you could say…

  7. I am just starting this…and I got one of the small expandable file folders. What is the best way to sort the dividers? By dates, or types of items? I’m lost.

    • Hi Kayla! I think doing them by items is best – not by date. Mine are sorted by type (i.e. breads & cereals, dairy, pasta & seasoning, frozen, etc.), but I think sorting them by alphabet might be a great idea – if you sort them by the very first letter of the item. (So all your Pillsbury stuff would be under “P”.) I think that would make hunting down your coupon go a little more quickly!

  8. I live in Lubbock Texas, nowhere near a Kroger or Publix . But Do appreciate the couponing tips!

  9. Debra Payne-Campbell says

    I like the binder tip that's what I am using. I am new to couponing so even little tip I am thankful for.

  10. Tiffani Dobbins says

    HI Laurie,

    I attended your couponing class at Asbury, and I see you on Mondays & Wednesdays at the gym. I am trying to remember your method of coupon organization. I know you said you use a file holder, but I am not sure what the method of organizing them was…..Please help! I’m a beginner…

    I did go to Target yesterday and because of your great suggestion for Cartwheel, and for the text coupons I was able to save $11.00…..AMEN!!!!!!! LOL….

    Please help, and little bit of suggestion would be greatly appreciated.

    • Hi Tiffani! I completely understand – it’s so overwhelming to begin with!

      The way that I’ve been organizing my coupons lately is by just filing the coupon inserts by date, then I pull out the ones that I need and clip them when I see them on the list.

      I also print most of my coupons online, so I don’t have to fool too much with hunting down coupons. (Just not enough hours in my day, and something has to give!) Here’s a link that explains it a little better ~

      Soooo excited that you saved yesterday at Target ~ I’ll see you at Riviera in the morning 🙂 so definitely ask any questions then too!

  11. Call me lazy but I like to file the whole inserts by date. That way when a certain coupon is mentioned by date then I know exactly where I can find it. I also use a binder and file by type of product for those things I have printed and clipped or peelies or other loose coupons. I have been doing it this way for about four years now.

    • Penny Franey says

      I bought a three ring binder and some of those clear plastic sheaths you can insert pages in thru the top. I file each page of coupons from the Sunday paper into the clear plastic sheaths and then insert them in the three ring binder. Yeah, I have to remove the whole sheet of coupons when I want to clip them, but it sure makes it easy to sort thru. I put a sticker on the front of each section with the name of the coupon section and the date. (ex Smart Source 1/1/17 ) so that finding coupons that are indexed on a site like this one is much easier.

  12. DianaDanny Rojas says

    this might sound like a silly question, so i can purchase the Sunday newspaper at the store and it will have the coupon inserts in it?

    • That’s not a silly question at all Diana! Yes, the papers at the stores do have the Sunday coupons in them. Hope that helps! 🙂

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