Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Organizing your coupons.

I have had several requests to post how I organize my coupons. I know you'd think I am highly organized, but I am not as organized as I should be. As I type, my wrists are resting on two small stacks of blinkies and sale ads, with a pair of scissors near my left arm and to the left of that a stack of printed q's. LOL.

This is one of those things that I truly feel takes some time to figure out what works best for you. I started out clipping. I did the binder thing with baseball cards holders thinking that would work. Then that got out of control because I never had time to cut all the dratted coupons. I started dumpster diving and buying multiple papers and there was NO WAY I was clipping them all. Plus, most sites with q databases list the location of the coupon and once you clip it, you don't know where it came from.

I went through several different cycles of different things and FINALLY I have things in some semblance of order. It’s not perfect. The drawback is that I don’t have ALL my coupons with me. So if something is on sale I may not have q’s for it. This is a bummer (CVS diaper clearance anyone?), but you have to pick and choose. Here’s what I do now…

1) I buy my papers and pull out the inserts. I flip through them to see what is in there. I have a pretty good visual memory and once I see it, I can usually remember it’s there. I may not remember the exact amount, but I know, say, “there’s a coupon for Visine somewhere”. I have three small filing boxes. Two are crate looking things and the other is a box with a handle that you can carry around. In the two crates, I have hanging folders and file folders labeled with the date and insert. Like, “8/30 Red Plum ” and so on. I shove the entire insert in the folders. In the other, I have folders with all the booklets I find.

2) Tearpads/blinkies/peelies, etc. I have a temporary holding zone for these in the form of a Huggies wipes box. It's convenient b/c it is a good manageable size and it sits on my desk. When I have coupons I ended up not using, I put them in there along with those blinkies.
I also have a binder I don’t use for my weekly q’s anymore and my GOAL is to get all these from the huggies box into the binder. But that hasn't happened yet. ;)

3) Printable ones are in a stack on my desk. LOL. I clip these when I think I’ll need them – otherwise they just stay there.

When I head to the store- I have an envelope for each store. I recently bought some zip-top durable pouches that kind of look like pencil pouches but without the holes and use those for taking my coupons to the store. (Found them at Office Depot) Over the course of several days, I pull the q’s I want to use for that sale and toss them in the appropriate envelope. As I create my actual list, I type it up and then print it out when it’s DONE. I then pull all the q’s and match them to my list. I sort them and make sure they’re all there. Then I put my envelopes in a gallon Ziploc bag so none get lost in transit. The bag goes everywhere.

When I am making my list, I use hotcouponworld's coupon database HERE to find my coupons. You can enter what you're looking for and it will list all the coupons available for that product.

As I said, the drawback is I don’t have all my coupons with me at all times. I have been known to put the entire bin in the car, just in case, but it is a major pain in the rear.

For events like Kroger triples, I get a baby wipes box and toss in anything that “might be a good deal”. Like $.75 coupons and $.50 coupons for items like hot sauce, etc, which I know might be freebies. When I get to the store, I just meander around looking at the q’s I have. It’s not organized, but I don’t have any way of knowing what’s on sale or what the regular prices are, since I’m shopping stores that are not in my area. The longer you do this, the better you'll be at knowing what "good deals" might be. {I would be AWESOME at the Price is Right these days!!!}

I will try to get some pictures up with this post tomorrow if I can find time. Meanwhile, I hope this helps some of you!


  1. How much time each week do you spend couponing? It seems like a part-time job with the way I am doing it! Is it just me? The savings are significant and I plan to keep at it. I'm just trying to figure out if I'm being as efficient as I could be. :)

  2. Thanks for the post Earthy Mama. I guess it really is a work in progress until you feel you have the system that works for you.

  3. Sounds like my organizing system, lol. I have stacks of inserts across my buffet and on the tv.

    I generally try to take a day about once a month and go through the older inserts and clip out the non-expired ones and put them in a white envelope in alphabetical order and put the date the envelope.
    But I'm running a couple months behind, heh.

    I also miss out on some clearance deals not having the coupons with me, but what can you do.
    I do now carry some odd-n-end coupons like some diapers and Zyrtec and toothbrush, toothpaste and Glade, etc. in some of my envelopes. Just in case.
    I got cheap Fruit Loops at Wags yesterday on account of having some of the $1.00/1 blinkie q's in my Publix envelope, even though I wasn't planning to buy cereal at Publix this week.

  4. Another use for Huggies wipe containers. Thanks for the tip.