How to organize coupons quickly, in a way that is easy to find coupons, and maintain your coupon binder organized
Everybody organizes their coupon in a way that is efficient and useful. How do you figure out what is the best method of coupon organization that works for you?
Whether you’ve been couponing for a while, or you’re a newbie, coupon organization is a priority when it comes to using coupons. Couponing can be time consuming, and the way you organize your coupons and make it longer or shorter. Couponing, especially extreme couponing, should be about saving money without taking too much time away from the things you enjoy with the people you love. So figuring out the best method to organize coupons so no matter what coupon organizer type you use, should be fast and easy to use for you.
Once you start using coupons you realize that you need 3 things.
1- you need a place to store coupons- a coupon binder, an accordion file, coupon folder, envelopes, etc.
2 – a technique to sort inserts and coupons – this refers to whether you clip all your coupons before you use them, or just file your coupons and cut them when you need them (the clip-n-go or clipless method), or just cut the coupons that you use and discard the ones you don’t.
3 – a method to organize coupons – a coupon filing system. A method that lets you find coupons quickly when you need them as well as an easy method to maintain coupons. Let’s focus on the method to organize coupons: how to file your coupons.
You can try out different methods, and by trial and error, find one you like. That can be time consuming though, because in the process you’re reorganizing your coupon binder, and then you wait a while to see if that works out Alternatively, you can do this quick 3 minute analysis which will help you determine which method of coupon organization works best for you.
How to figure out which organization method works best for you:
- First, pick up a random coupon – and pay attention to what you notice first in the coupon: is it the expiration date? the picture of the product? the brand? Do you look for a store name or associate the coupon with a particular store?
- What you see first is a trigger for remembering the coupon. Organize your coupons based on this trigger to make it simple and easy to find that coupon.
Organize Coupon binders and files:
Narrow it down:
Category – If the trigger was the picture on the coupon, it may be efficient for you to organize coupons based on categories of the product. For example, say you picked up a coupon that has a picture of mayonnaise. You may find yourself associating mayonnaise with a category or look for what type or brand it is. If a category comes to mind then what category is it – pantry? condiments? Then use that term to file that coupon. Categories are easy to do, and can be as elaborate as you’d like. You can use a category based on the part of the house where the product goes and have labels like “bathroom coupons” or “household cleaning coupons”.
Brand – Using the same example of the mayonnaise, if you found yourself looking at what brand of mayonnaise it is, then you may find it efficient to organize coupons by brand of the product. In this case, label your coupon storage binder or file with the letters of the alphabet. Then using the first letter of the brand of the product, file the coupons. The only drawback of this couponing method is that our alphabet has 26 letters, and finding a folder with that many sections can be challenging. You’ll have to get creative.
Date – If the trigger was the date, organize coupons based on the expiration date or the month in which it expires. So you filing system can have tabs with either numbers or months.
Store – If you see a coupon and think of the store where you get that product, then organizing your coupons by store name may be an efficient method for you. This gives you choices to organize your coupons with tabs labeled “CVS” or “Walmart” for example. Using store coupon labels is useful for couponers that have an established shopping routine as well. In other words, some shoppers only shop at Walmart for food and Target for paper products. If this is you, then the store coupon method would be best.
My method of coupon organization
I had tried different methods to organize my coupons and finally figured out that organizing coupons by brand was the most efficient for me. One day I picked up a coupon of Barilla pasta and realized that I tend to look at the brand of the product in the coupon. Sometimes I look at a coupon and can’t tell what the product is, so I would look for the brand.
When I first started couponing, I browsed through several coupon storage pictures. Most of them were pictures of binders. So I went out and got a nice zippered binder that would hold all my coupons in place. But then, I found it to be a cumbersome because it was bulky. I would often leave it home, which made me miss out on unadvertised deals because I didn’t have the coupons with me. Some couponers suggested to leave the coupon binder in the trunk of the car. So I did this for a while, but it wasn’t always easy to go back to the store with cranky kids complaining that they were tired. So I started looking for other coupon storage ways and came across a letter size folder. However, it didn’t hold all my coupons very well. I continued looking until I found a letter size accordion file (pictured in the scroll bar) that stretches in the bottom. Some accordion file folders don’t stretch in the bottom. Since finding the accordion file, my pretty coupon binder is now used for something else, and all my coupons go with me whenever I go shopping. I organize coupons using an accordion file, and my coupons and inserts are file using the coupon brand method.
Hopefully this article helps you identify a style of coupon organization that will help you save time and be more efficient.