A Simple Way to Organize Coupons

After reading the Extreme Couponing book, and checking out a bunch of blogs, I decided it was time to begin couponing in earnest. I have always been one to use a coupon here and there, but never took the time to really plan out a trip with coupons in mind.

In all honesty, I still do not necessarily plan around coupons in a big way. But I am doing so minimally, more so than before. I will likely build on my couponing skills as time goes by and I get more used to the process.

I did take a couple of hours the other day to set up my couponing system, and am glad to have that out-of-the-way. With my coupons organized, I am able to more easily find what coupons I need when I am shopping.

Below are the steps I took to set up my system.

NOTE: I was not paid or asked to promote books, websites, authors, or other products in this post here on the blog. I simply purchased and/used the products and visited the sites.

I first watched some of the Extreme Couponing shows on TLC. These shows interest me in that the people are able to buy so much for so little money. One young mother, living with family, did not have to burden her family with so many financial needs. Another woman’s family donates so much food and other items to members of her community, she is able to get her fans involved. It is truly amazing.

This prompted me to buy the book.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014

Joni Meyer-Crothers did an excellent job writing the book, and explaining all that is involved with couponing. The book helped me to understand the couponing process more, and gave me the boost needed to start down the couponing path I am now on.

The book explains different types of coupon organization systems. For instance, many people use binders with index dividers to separate categories, and plastic see-through sports card pages for the coupons.

After reading this book, I had a real good idea of the system that I wanted to set up.

I then went on to Amazon.com and ordered my organizer.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014

This is a simple poly 13 pocket coupon organizer, with tabs and inserts for labeling, and an extra pocket in the front to hold gift and reward cards.

It looks like this on the inside:

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014

Once I had the organizer in my possession, I set aside a couple of hours to set up my system.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014

I already had a bunch of coupons cut out. They had resided in a paper envelope, that was badly in need of replacement. The coupons were not organized in the least.

I also had a bunch of inserts I still hadn’t gone through, and a few magazines with good coupons in them.

First, I threw out all the expired coupons. On reflection, I will most likely be looking for a base to send these to in the future.

Then I grouped still usable coupons by like products. For example, hair care products in one pile, cleaning products in another. I had quite the number of piles when I finished.

Next, I went through the inserts and the magazines, cutting out the coupons I might actually use if I find a good enough deal on the products. I placed these coupons on the proper piles, and added a few more groups of coupons to my collection.

I then had to decide how to combine these piles in a way that made the most sense to me.

There were thirteen pockets to work with, and that was all.

I made a list. (Yes, I am a list person.)

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014

In case you are unable to read the list in the photograph, here it is:

Front Pocket: Gift Cards, Rewards Cards

1. (Shopping) List, Current Coupons (The coupons I will use during that trip. If I will be visiting more than 1 store, I will have a list for each with the correct coupons paper clipped to each.

2. Mainly Paleo (I consume a mostly Paleo diet, so this section is important for me. There are not always good coupons for this diet, so I look extra hard for them.)

3. Herbs, Spices, Condiments (Again, I use mainly Paleo versions, but there is not always such a version for what I need, and I do not always have the time to make something from scratch. So half the coupons are not for Paleo items, but are for things I will use if I have to – once in a while.)

4. Other Foods (A Paleo diet can be an expensive way to eat. When funds are low, I will eat non Paleo foods. That is what this section in my coupon organizer is for. I try to buy items from this category, but the coupons are good to have on hand just in case.)

5. Paper, Plastic, etc. (Trash bags, toilet paper, etc.)

6. Office Supplies (I am a writer.)

7. Cleaning

8. Vitamins, Meds, etc. (First aid as well.)

9. Shaving, Deodorant, etc.

10. Shampoo, Body wash, etc.

11. Other products (Household, clothing, etc.)

12. Restaurants (I usually order food once a week for dinner at work, trying to keep it as close to Paleo as I can.)

13. Store coupons, Receipts

So then I had to fill out the little tab inserts, slide them into the tabs, and place the coupons into the correct pockets. Easy peasy!

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014

And I have that little front pocket to put the reward and gift cards into. I also kept the extra tab inserts, in case I decide to change the pocket labels at a later date.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014

It really was an easy system to set up, and I am happy to have it available to bring shopping with me.

Tell us about your coupon system, or tell us about why you haven’t set one up yet. Maybe we can help!

You might be interested in:

Food Storage Using Sales and Coupons

Tips for Shopping Dollar Stores

Store Rewards Programs

Purchase from the Discount Carts

Eating Frugally in a Bad Economy

Shannon

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4 thoughts on “A Simple Way to Organize Coupons

  1. I use the no cut system. I get four papers a week. I group them into “like” pages. Most of the blogs I follow tell you which insert the Q came from. When I am planning my trip, I take out the Q’s and staple the ones I want and cut them. Then I use a coupon folder similar to yours. My tabs are labeled by store. I plan my transactions on an index card and put it in the slot. When I’m in the store as I purchase the product, I put the coupon in the first slot. When I get to checkout, All the coupons I need are in the first slot.

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