Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Basics of Using Coupons Series: Tips to Organize Your Coupon Collection

Okay, we have collected and clipped our coupon inserts. Now we are going to learn about where we are going to put them and organizing them so they are easily accessible for our shopping trips. First off, there isn't a right method to organizing coupons, though one should choose a method that is suitable for their individual tastes and needs. However, I am going to give you a few popular ideas and tips for great coupon organization.

Why Organize Coupons?

Many of you have probably watched an episode of two of Extreme Couponing and have seen the overflowing binders of manufacturers coupons along side money savvy shoppers while they are doing a major or minor purchase. You may have read about how our coupons need to be organized a certain way and wonder if it's all that important. Honestly, if you want to maximize your coupon savings, it is definitely important to keep them organized. This is because it's easier to flip through the pages of a binder or to go through a section of your coupon holder to find the right ones to match the sale on specific products. Without organization, we are more likely to run into the possibility of expired coupon savings. Our goal is to maximize our savings as often as possible!

Methods of Organizing Your Coupons

Many of us who are new to couponing think there is a correct and incorrect method to organizing their coupons. The truth is the best way to organize your coupon haul is what is easiest for your lifestyle. There are several methods that work well in the world of couponing.  Some of these can include; putting your coupons in a shoebox or using a three-ring binder with baseball card holders. As for myself, I use a three-ring binder to hold my coupons and take the ones that I plan on using for my shopping trip ( I write out my list and stick to it). Here are some other methods to organize your coupon haul:

Three-Ring Binders: This is probably one of the most popular methods to organize coupons. You can organize by category, grocery store aisle, product and expiration date or anyway you see fit. Most people use the binders that zip up and have several pages worth of baseball card holders to place coupons in. Make sure that when you are using the binder, to put in plastic sheet protectors to hold coupon policies for the stores you shop at in your area and to hold the sheets that separate your categories.

Shoebox or Recipe Box: These are great, if you are looking for a method that is very portable. Separating your coupons is a breeze, by creating dividers for each department of your favorite grocery store, by product or alphabetically ( if you feel up to that). However, if you choose to alphabetized your coupons, it may get a little hairy while going through the checkout line.

The Couponizer: Though I have never used this method, I have heard really good things about this product. Basically, the set-up is laid out for you, which makes things extremely easy for the beginner to write their lists and organize their coupons that is very portable. It comes with everything a beginner needs from scissors to dividers at a decent price. However, some like to use a binder to organize their coupons.

Dayrunner Coupon Organizer: Similar to the Couponizer, the Dayrunner is a compact, spiral bound notebook that comes with pockets in several categories to organize your coupons with. You can take all of your coupons, place them in the organizer, slide it in your purse and go! A few flips of the pages and you can grab what is needed for maximum savings! You can find these at your local office supply store for around $8, which makes them economical.

Accordion Folders: This method is for those who want to organize whole inserts by week, instead of clipping their coupons right away. You would drop them in your folder, put them in a filing cabinet and voila finished for the week. When a weekly sale comes up, you can research your match-ups, pull the inserts out and clip what is needed. Remember, organizing your folders by date is essential to make sure that coupons are used before they expire.

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