Friday, September 23, 2011

Frugal Friday- Coupon Organization

This week's Frugal Friday topic is fun for me, because I love to organize.  I am going to talk about the 2 different methods I have tried for organizing my coupons.

When I first started couponing I didn't have much of a stash.  So I used a small accordion file that I kept in my car.  I found a few from Target in the dollar bin, like the one below.  I put different categories based on sections in the grocery store on the tabs and I would just throw my cut coupons in there.  That worked for a little while, but when my collection of Q's started to grow it got a little annoying.  It was a lot to search through when I was looking for something.  Another major downside was that I would go through all of the inserts each Sunday and cut every Q I thought I might use and file it in the right category.  That didn't last very long!  But this is a great method if you are only going to use mail coupons and coupons you print online.  Plus, this can be kept in your purse when you go grocery shopping.   
On to my next method and the current method I use: the coupon binder.  This is probably the most popular method for organizing Q's because it is the easiest way to see what all you have.  At first I used a regular old 3-ring binder with baseball card sheets and dividers.  Each divider has a category written on it.  I cut the Q's and put them in a slot in the correct category.  Now I've upgraded to a nice Case-It zippered binder, pink of course.  I still have the same baseball card sheets and dividers I bought over a year ago.  I found the binder on clearance at Target for $9.  These binders are usually $20-$30!

 I mostly put internet printables and Q's I get in the mail in the binder sheets.  The only thing I do different now is I don't cut any Q's from the Sunday paper inserts.  I keep those whole in a side pocket.
Before I go grocery shopping I look through my binder and grab Q's for anything I need.  Then I go to We Use Coupon's  coupon database to look for Q's for products I don't have one for.  It will tell you the link if it's an internet printable and I print it.  Or it will give you the name and date of the insert it is in if there is one.  Then I pull out that insert cut the Q I need.  You can use their database here.  I put all of my Q's in an envelope with my grocery list on the front.  I DO NOT take the binder with me in the store, but I do keep the binder in my car.  This helps if I need to stop somewhere on the way home, or if I read about a great deal on one of the websites I follow I might go at lunch.  So I always have access to the coupons I need.  Not cutting the inserts saves a lot of time and energy.  Collin, from Hip2Save, has a great video here about setting up a coupon binder.

The categories I use are:
  • at the front I have a misc section that I put retail Q's (Old Navy, Gap, etc) or Q's for anything free so I see it right away
  • produce (really anything that can be found near produce)
  • condiments (salad dressing, bbq sauce, or anything near that section)
  • canned/packaged
  • dairy (really anything cold goes here)
  • frozen (anything that can be found in freezers)
  • grains (bread, pasta, etc)
  • breakfast/cereal
  • snacks
  • home items (cleaners, candles, etc)
  • personal care items (toothpaste, soap, etc)
  • cosmetics & hair care
  • paper (tissues, toilet paper, ziplocs, etc)
  • pet

Now here's my binder!

***I do not devote a lot of time to couponing, nor am I a crazy deal-seeker like you may have seen on TLC's show.  But making the conscience effort to buy ahead when on sale, research the best deal, find a coupon, and use it has made a world of difference in our grocery bill.  Even if it is just price-matching at Wal-Mart- it is totally worth the effort.  I simply buy a Sunday paper every week, take the inserts out, and throw them in the binder.  I follow Hip2Save and Totally Target on Twitter.  So I get updates throughout the day when a new coupon becomes available online to print.  I print coupons from company's Facebook pages,, and tons of other sites.  I just throw the ones I print into the binder and zip it up if I'm not using it right away.  Then once a week I go through and cut and file them.  Then I have everything nicely organized and visible for Sundays when I do my grocery shopping.   
So what do you think?  Have I persuaded anyone to shop with coupons yet?  I would be more than happy to answer any questions about it!     

Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!

1 comment:

  1. i love hearing about other people who coupon and their organization! i also use the coupon binder and i cut all the coupons i think i might use every sunday, but i think i might need to get one of those smaller accordions to stash the high value coupons or my target apparel coupons rather than in an envelope (i use old envelopes to store my coupons for my shopping trips and write my list on too!).


I love comments!