Shopping with Coupons | Organize your Coupons

This is the third baby step to Shopping with Coupons: A Beginner's Guide to Saving. This snack is focused on Organization. If you don't know how to Organize your Coupons, it would be challenging to be successful.

Sometimes my husband doesn't “get” my organization. Honestly, he doesn't have to since he doesn't do any of the grocery shopping, I get to :-) Here are some things that are important as you consider how you will Organize your Coupons.

Pick an organization method. The two most popular methods are the binder method and the filing method. I have personally used both methods and am currently a file-by-insert kinda gal. I will briefly cover both here:

Binder Method

  • Clip coupons from weekly inserts (and coupons from magazines, etc).
  • Sort and file coupons (using baseball card holders or photo sleeves) into intuitive categories for quick and easy access.
  • Shop with your shopping list and Binder full of coupons.
  • Discard expired coupons as new ones are sorted and filed.

With the Binder Method, your coupons are available during shopping to take advantage of any unadvertised sales that were not in your original shopping plan.

Filing Method

  • Label weekly inserts with Date and Insert Name (i.e., 9/7 Smart Source). Even though the date is on the spine, labeling the inserts makes for quicker access.
  • File weekly inserts by the week or month in file folders (I file mine by the month).
  • Clip coupons once your shopping list is made at the time you need them.
  • Shop with your shopping list and clipped coupons.
  • Discard insert when coupons expire. If not all coupons are expired, I just keep the entire insert so I'm not clipping them out. I don't want to cut them at all until/unless I use them.

With the Filing Method, a personal suggestion is to keep an envelope of “SMART” coupons in your shopping envelope. These coupons will always be on-hand in the event there are unadvertised sales that were not in your original shopping plan. Please see my snack, Coupon Organization, for how I personally organize my coupons and more about what I consider a “SMART” coupon.

Again, these are just two of the most popular coupon organization methods. Honestly, I think taking a little bit from different methods to find what works for you is the best method. You will find that having your coupons organized, you will be efficient when you make your personal shopping list and pull/clip coupons to match. Your time = $$$!


Read all of the steps in the Beginners Guide to Saving.


  1. kari on October 27, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    thank you! i needed this one! blessings

  2. Amie on May 18, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    You need to start holding workshops…. these tips are awesome.. Thank you!!!

    • mommysnacks on May 18, 2009 at 4:58 pm

      Amie, I do hold workshops actually :) I really like to conduct public classes so it’s open for everyone. But, I do also do private classes upon request too :)

  3. amy on January 17, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    When & where do you hold workshops?

  4. Melissa Burkitt on February 16, 2010 at 10:27 am

    I have three friends who are retired who cut out coupons out of several magazines, newspapers, etc and give them to me each thursday. On thursday I sit down and organize what I want to use that week. Then I file the others that I can use later in a accordian file holder by category. Then on sunday when my two college students come home they go thru the accordian file to see what all they can use that week. Then we go get our groceries at Krogers. Then I call up my three friends to tell them how much they helped me and my girls save and say THANK YOU!!!!

  5. beth on February 16, 2010 at 10:34 am

    I have a mini file system. I got a small crate (small enough to fit in the cart) then cut file folder down to fit in the crate. Since I mainly shop at Meijer I labeled the folders and put them in order of the store so I cut down on the rummaging while in the store. The fabric crate that I have also has pockets which I use for the qs that I pulled before I got to the store, cvs bucks, and rainchecks.

    Since no one else in my family uses qs I have 4 sets from which to draw. I immediately cut 2 then label and file the other 2 for referencing later when I read your posts.

  6. Helen on February 16, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    I luv the tips too….I cut and file mine alphabetically. I have 2 sections….one is anything u eat or drink the other section is everything else….it works for me..

  7. Cheri on February 16, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    I use the binder system. I cut everything and have dividers labeled by category. (My binder is literally bursting at the seems.) I admit I have a lot to throw out each month, but then you just never know what’s going to be a money maker! I sell a lot of the stuff on eBay (and make more money on it!) or I give the products to friends & family who actually use them. It works out great for everyone! My mother-in-law loves anything Olay, so she got a lot of Olay products for her birthday and my cost after coupons & rebates was very little. (I didn’t tell her that though!)

  8. Michele on February 16, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    I cut all my coupons and file them in a card file box with dividers labeled by section – meat, dairy, pasta, frozen meals, drinks, etc. My co-workers get a real kick out of watching me cut and file them on my lunch hour at work :-)

  9. marcia on February 16, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    I file everything. All inserts go in hanging folders. One hanging folder per month but if I get lucky and get lots of Q’s (yeah!!) I use an extra hanging folder. I bought these plastic totes at Target that hold a hanging folders. They work great because I can carry all my Q’s easily to wherever I’m working. I can also store my old Q’s for a year and just tuck the one away. I’m still trying to figure out how to handle my extra Q’s that I get in the mail and print out. I still don’t have a good system for those. They all go together in a folder.

  10. Craftymaw on February 17, 2010 at 3:10 am

    I am just getting started. I have a small plastic accordian to file coupons with. They are catorized like paper, condiments, frozen, refrig, meds.

  11. Kymm on February 17, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    I use the binder method too. I sort by sections that I shop by-canned, meat, dairy etc. I get lots of comments at the store. I’m still not saving what I’d like, but slowly and surely I’m getting there.

  12. Katie on February 17, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    I am new to couponing and very addicted to it. I use envelopes right now until I can come up with something better!

  13. BabieRuth on February 18, 2010 at 12:54 am

    I started couponing with my first inserts from the Jan. 10,2010 of my local paper. I have quickly adapted to binder method. Sunday evening I go ahead and clip all coupons and put them in my binder. I do this because I am often shopping with my 85 year old mother that has moderate dementia. This way my coupons are always available in the car every time I end up running out for something. I do keep seperate pencil holders for CVS, Wags, and Rite Aid and plan those trips throughly before I ever leave the house with my senario and coupons in their individual holders. This is a must , being so new to couponing and I have quickly learned 85 year old and 3 year old have to much in common. LOL

    • Andrea Deckard on February 18, 2010 at 11:45 am

      BabieRuth – I love it “I have quickly learned 85 year old and 3 year old have to much in common.” That is totally true!

  14. Gretchen Hautzinger on February 20, 2010 at 9:16 am

    I first cut what I know I will use then file in the binder, then I cut what else I might use and file in the binder, the remaining I file in file folders by date so when something comes up I can find the coupon by date. This system works for me.
    I also each week, take te coupons out and put in the front sheets in the binder for the sale items I know I will use. I do this before I go shopping as this helps me from becoming overwhelmed.

Leave a Comment