I’ve had a few people ask me about my coupon organization system, so I thought I would share with ya’ll what I use, what I have used and why I use the method I do (mouthful, I know :-) I definitely recommend also checking out some other places to see their methods of coupon organization. I truly believe you can get other perspectives that might work better for you – one size definitely does not fit all when it comes to stuff like this!!
Here are all my coupons – or I think of them as money just waiting to be redeemed:
I keep a separate envelope for coupons that I’ve clipped (or ones that have been clipped for me)and ended up not using and I discard expireds in this envelope as I go. I also put my Internet Printable coupons that are not used in that envelope too.
Now, I just file and cut my coupons as I need them. This method takes me about an hour each week when I’m planning my trips and I’m not backed up on clipping hundreds of coupons. I have enough chores to get backed up on and I never want my money-saving ways to prohibit me from saving more! This is an area I try not to slack on or else I may not stick with it!
I know some people don’t like this method because they want to have all their coupons with them in case of an unadvertised sale. For me, I have a budget and I really try not to go over it (like I have lately). So, if those unadvertised sales would get me to use more of our money, then I probably shouldn’t get it anyway. But, if it’s FREE then I’ll just bite my lip and wish I had them there :-) I know, I know, but I figure that sale will either come back around again or it just wasnt’ meant for me to have that. It’s how I look at it anyway :-)
Now, here’s why this method works for me since I’ve tried the binder system too.
When I started couponing, I had the binder system with baseball card holders. I clipped all the coupons I thought I would use and discarded all others. I kept the binder in two sections: Grocery Items and Health/Beauty. Well, do you know how HARD it is to lug around a binder (probably weighed at least 5 -10 pounds, seriously) AND a baby (who now weighs around 25 pounds) AND my diaper bag/purse (weighing around 5-10 pounds)? Well, if you have kiddos, you already know – it’s SO HARD and it makes your back all out of whack!
I would also get behind on the clipping of my coupons (know the baby I mentioned) and found that I was physically touching each coupon three times, which didn’t make sense from an efficiency perspective for me. I would clip (1 time), file (2 times), then pull as I needed them (3 times). So, for me, it just didn’t make anymore “time” sense (I’ve said before time has to be considered in all you do – you’re time is worth lots of money!). Also, I found that I discarded those coupons for things that I may not always use but ended up being FREE with my coupon. I will always want those deals because I can donate or try something for FREE!
So, there ya have it. This is my coupon method. What coupon organization system do you use, or do you have a system? Like I said, I really feel like this is an area where you can pick and take processes from each person’s system and make your own efficient system…then brand and trademark it and we’ll all want to buy it :-)
ETA: I have recently started carrying some coupons with me, I call them my “SMART” coupons because I feel smart by having them to possibly save me extra money! These coupons entail any coupon I have purchased through Ebay or a clipping service, and coupons that are for essential non-perishable items that we always use (wipes, brand loyalty hygiene products). I also include high-dollar coupons, that if found cheap, can end up making me money (like those $2.25 Electrasol or $1 Powerade coupons). So, this is one way to make those devoted to the “clipping and sorting” or the binder system feel some relief that all your deals will still be there for the gettin’, especially on those items you really need!
See how I organize my lists and shopping each week in a Q&A I did here. It explains the method to all my Mommy Snackin’ madness :-)