This week's Money Saving March post is all about coupon organization. An organized system is vital to couponing. By using a very effective system, you can easily track down your coupons, match them up with sales, and not spend a lot of time doing so. If you already have a organized system that is working for you, then please continue to use it. This is the way I organize and what works for me. I use this system because I do not like to clip coupons and do not want to spend time clipping every coupon that I may or may not use. This is a very easy way to organize that is less time consuming and correlates with the way The Frugal Friends' blog is set up as well as the Starter Kit that we offer. So, here is step #1:
This is my personal coupon binder. It is a 3 ring binder with about 10-12 sheet protectors. Here's what you do...When you get your coupons, go through them, clip the ones you KNOW you are going to use. If it is something you're going to get this week on sale or if your family always uses Corn Flakes, clip that coupon. Everything Else, leave in tact and uncut in the insert it came in. Write on the insert the date of the paper that the insert came in and slide that week's coupons into a sheet protector. Stick a label or piece of tape to that sheet protector with the date as well. This will make the deal match-ups that are on The Frugal Friends so simple for you. When I list a coupon, then I reference the date and the insert name the coupon is in. For instance, If I post a deal where you need to use a $1/1 Crest Toothpaste from the 1/11 PG, then you flip to January 11, pull out the P&G Insert and clip that coupon. This system eliminates the need to cut every coupon and keeps everything in one central place.
You will notice in the side pocket of my binder several coupons. I get coupons from family members after they go through and clip the ones they want. Most times they are just sheets and are not in the inserts, so I don't know what date the insert actually is. I stick those either in the pocket of my binder or an expandable file folder. This is also a good place to put clipped coupons that you maybe didn't use this week, but know you will use them later.
I will go through about every 10-12 weeks and clear out the inserts that have expired.
When you do clip your coupons, a very simple way to keep them organized for shopping is a coupon organizer like this:
I also leave a section in the back for clipped coupons. These are coupons that I plan to use, but maybe the product is sold out or something of that sort. I will stick those back there so I have an actual place to keep them so they won't get shifted to the bottom of my purse :)
Next week, we will discuss how to organize your shopping trip! This, too, is an important part of couponing. Leave a comment with your system. What things do you do to organize and save time?