How Do YOU Organize YOUR Coupons?

    Questions and Answers...  

I asked this question a few months ago as part of a contest in my newsletter. My intention was to put together a nifty little e-book on this subject. Well, I discovered making an e-book wasn't as easy as I thought for someone as non-technical as me so I'm going to share some of the responses in this section.

The article below was submitted by one of those readers. It has so much great information I'm not going to summerize it . Here's Belinda's coupon journey - I hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I did. --Mom

I was a coupon clipper way before everyone started talking about it.  I remember asking my mom to use a coupon I had clipped from a magazine--I think it was 3 cents off of some sort of gum--that was a lot back in the late 60's.  My mom didn't want to use it because she didn't understand the coupon concept; however, she did use it.  Before she passed away in 2004, she was a coupon clipper, too.  So, after getting married in 1977, coupon clipping became a small part of my shopping trip.  As the years went by, diaper coupons became really important to me.  I was a rebater, too, before it became popular.  I put the rebate money I got back in my child's bank account.  I didn't stop doing that until they graduated college and were on their own.  Now we share our good deals with each other, couponing and rebating every week.  My child is now better than I am with coupons and rebates.  She also learned a lot about math growing up with mom's coupon deals. 

I have used several methods of coupon organization.  Once, when there didn't seem to be very many coupons available, I just filed them away in a small coupon organizer for my purse.  I filed by category, then tried by expiration date, and then went back to category.  I have always used these categories:  Drink, Meat, Breakfast, Bread, Condiments, Soap, Make-up, Medicine, Chips, Cheese, Fruit, Vegetables, Baking, Animal Food, Sweets, Paper, Beauty Aids, Household.  This has always worked for me. 

When coupons got to be very plentiful, I moved to a check filing metal container with a handle.  I used the dividers provided to break the coupons up into the above categories.  This is what I currently use and have used for about 24 years.  I bought myself and my daughter very nice binders (the ones they always talk about--with handles, zippers, pockets, shoulder strap, etc.)  I was so fortunate to find a huge sale at CVS one year and got each binder for less than $5 each.  Needless to say, my child got very busy organizing her binder with the baseball pockets.  She uses the categories I use.  She uses Post-It flags to divide her categories.  She loves her binder, and if time will ever permit me, I will have my binder ready to go before it gathers too many cobwebs in the closet.  My daughter also has a plastic pocket for pencils and pens and a small notepad and calculator inside her binder. She also has a zip pouch for her "free" coupons and one for restaurant coupons.

I get one set of coupons out of my Sunday paper each week.  However, on the weekends that my husband works, he purchases a paper with double sets of coupons and brings them home for me. 

Coupon organizing has taken a lot of time away from my other household duties in the past year or so.  It has gotten to be so big.  Each week I look at the supermarket ads, CVS, and Walgreens to see what I can get for free or almost free.  It takes time to cut and file the coupons. 

What I cannot understand is--I can be in a store buying up a bunch of an item because it is very low in price or free, and I will turn to a person buying the same product and offer a coupon to share in the excitement--some think I am crazy, some say a quiet thank you, and occasionally someone will be very grateful and excited to get the coupon.  People just don't get it--you are handing them money!

Occasionally someone will see me checking out and want to know where I got my coupons.  I may share a website or two that I use to obtain the coupons or the obtain the knowledge of what coupons to use that week.  NEVER will I pay to get this information!  I have had checkers at some stores tell me that another person was in and used this and this coupon to purchase a product and asked if I had tried that combination.  Or, the store may have a coupon stash themselves and offer to look and see if they have a certain coupon I could use.  Sometimes people will ask when a very special coupon (free or b1g1 coupon) came out.

My daughter and I have had the pleasure of donating many items to worthy causes with the free items we have obtained--from the food bank, to churches, to animal shelters. 

I guess you can tell that I am very enthusiastic about couponing.  I certainly enjoy your website, and hope you will continue on for years to come.

Thank you for the opportunity to share the "fun"! --Belinda A.


Here are the questions I asked and links to the great answers I received from some super couponers.

1. What method do you use to organize your coupons? Answers

2. Did you try other methods before the current one? Answers

3. Do you sort by category or alphabetical? Answers

4. If you use categories - which ones do you use? Answers

5. What's your biggest problem with organizing coupons? Answers

6. Do you get more than one set of coupons each week? If yes, how many?

Mom's Coffee-Loving

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Multiple Coupon Inserts
If you have several of the same coupon insert the best way to cut your coupons is to tear the inserts apart and stack the pages together.

Example: If you have 4 inserts place all 4 of each page together to cut your coupons. BE CAREFUL - you need to make certain that the date and bar code are lined up on all sheets. Look at the bottom and sides of the coupon pages. You will see that they do not always print in exactly the same place on the page.

After you line up the multiple pages you can staple them before cutting to keep them from shifting. DO NOT staple through the expiration date or bar code. It's best to cut the coupon with a little space outside the actual coupon and staple there.
Here's How
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