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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Coupon Organization - Making it Work for YOU {Part 2}

In part one of the series, I gave you a link to a Savings Tracker spreadsheet created by the super fab Angela over at The Coupon Project. Now for Part Two!

There is no proven method when it comes to organizing your coupons. The only thing that IS proven is that you're more likely to USE them if they are ORGANIZED!

Organization can be the wall that stops a newbie couponer from couponing! It's overwhelming to find a new place for all this new "clutter"! I have a sister that is THE MOST organized person I know, but she was overwhelmed with the whole coupon organization thing, she finally bagged it and {gasp!} tossed all of her coupons she had been collecting.

Lucky for us - there is more than one way to do it. And if you're like me, you'll change methods a few times, trying to find what works for you.
Just starting out? Not quite sure you want to commit? You can go to the dollar store and purchase a small photo book to organize your coupons in. Investment - $1.00. This is what Monica did to start out. She'll tell you that it only lasted a few weeks before she moved on to something bigger.

As for me, there are three main methods of coupon organizing that I have tried. Each have their pros and cons... again, you just do what works for you! And it may take a little time to figure that out, and that is OK!!!

Here is my own coupon organization metamorphosis!

#1 - Filing Method

This is pretty basic. You simply find a way to file your coupons! I've seen some use a mini filing box, or a crate. Personally, I wanted something a little more portable, so I purchased an accordion binder on clearance.

It had 13 slots - which would hold about 3 months of coupons. Perfect! I put the oldest coupons in the back, and the newer ones in the front. It certainly wasn't anything fancy! I used sticky notes and wrote the date of each coupon week on it and then filed all coupons from that date in that slot.

Then when it came time to plan my shopping trips, I could easily find on a *certain fabulous blog* which coupons I would need for what deal. (ie: $1/8 Yoplait Yogurt from 1/3 SS told me that if I pulled out my Jan 3rd Smart Source insert, I would find a great Yopait Yogurt coupon!). I'd pull the insert, clip out the coupons, and file it away again. When I got to the point where I had my 14th week of inserts to file, I simply looked at my oldest insert, and most often, every single coupon had expired, so I could recycle it!

* Quick way to organize - no cutting!
* Simple to use for a busy mom
* Very small investment for the system

* Takes more time to prepare for shopping trip because you have to find and clip the coupons
* Although it is portable, it's not user friendly when in the store. Example: If I ran into a great clearance deal (let's say I found Secret Deodorant on clearance), I may or may not even remember that I have a great coupon to use, let alone know where in the heck to find it!
* Often times I didn't even look through the inserts. Just filed them away, so I'm sure there were some fabulous coupons I missed out on!

I used this method for the first 9 months of couponing. Stay tuned for stage two of my metamorphosis in coupon organization! The Binder Method! The most commonly used method that I've seen in these parts. :) We'll have a list of all the sections we have in our binders. ALSO, we'll show you our super fast way of cutting coupons! The last post, I'll show you what I'm doing NOW (yep, I'm no longer doing the binder method either!).
SO - are you using this method? What do you like? What don't you like?

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Stephanie said...

This is the method I use. I have two binders, one for SS & GM inserts and one for RP & GM inserts. I have a much smaller binder for store coupon booklets and such. I also have a mini expandabale file for all the printable coupons I get that are cut. It sounds like a lot, but it works wonders for me! I hated having to spend time clipping each coupon so this way is best for me. I've also always been an intense planner anyways so I rarely run into problems. I think it vastly depends on each person's shopping style!

ian said...

I have two small 12-section file booklets, about the right size to hold index cards. I label sections by category and the coupons in each category are roughly organized by expiration date. Some brands with a lot of coupons are paperclipped together. One coupon book has grocery items, the other is non-grocery.

Each week I pull out whatever is going to expire and then look for sales... on-the-spot shopping is easy since I can just look for coupons in the same category. Before going to the store I pull out the coupons I want, sort them by aisle, paperclip them, and hit the store! Tried a database but it's far too much work to keep track.