Learning To Coupon Series
Coupon Organization – How to Keep Up With Them All
If you are going to be using coupons, you’ll find out real quick that not being organized makes it less fun, and less rewarding. So I’m putting this little overview on coupon organization together to help. It’s not an exhaustive explanation, but this should get you started.
First off, understand that every couponer has their own preferences. What works for me may not work for you. This is not the end-all, be-all of coupon organization. This is just a quick explanation of what coupon organization methods I use, or have tried in the past. It’s a starting point for you develop the style that works best for you.
No matter which coupon organization method(s) you use, PUT YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION inside of your coupon organizer! If you ever leave it somewhere, it might get returned if there’s a way for someone to call you. Remember, coupons are just like cash! Whatever method you choose, I suggest you take a peek at the Couponing Supplies page on my blog. It contains some suggested materials you’ll find useful to stay organized with your coupons.
COUPON BINDER METHOD
Probably the most common coupon organization method. This is the method I’m currently using, as well.
- A LARGE 3-Ring Binder – The bigger the better here, if you plan on getting serious about couponing. You can outgrow a small one fast. Also, I STRONGLY urge you to get one that zips closed, snaps closed, or has a velcro strap. The very last thing you want to happen is for it to fall, get knocked over in the car, etc and not be closed up tightly. Dropping your binder and coupons going everywhere will make for a very bad day. Trust me. Coupon organization takes time, having to pick up stray coupons from the floor will break your heart. Here are a few ideas on some binders that can be used for coupon organization:
- Tabbed Dividers – Just like what the kids use in their binders at school. You should be able to either write on the tabs, or they should have paper inserts that can be written or printed on. They usually come in packs of 8 or 10. Depending on how you’ll be arranging your coupons, expect to get 2-3 packs. Here are a few ideas:
- Plastic Storage Sheets – For this, I suggest you use the sheets intended for baseball cards, they don’t rip easily. Occasionally, you’ll have coupons that will be to long, and will have to be folded, but just fold them so you can tell what the product is. Here are some of the sheets, I’m talking about:
COUPON BOX METHOD
- The Box – There are small recipe card sized boxes, and larger boxes designed especially for coupons. The size and scope really depends on how often you use coupons. MAKE SURE you have one that closes well, spilling coupons is not an option, remember? Feel free to start out small and work your way up, too. Here are a couple of ideas:
- Tabbed Dividers – If you’re building your own, you’ll need tabbed dividers. You can usually find these near the smaller boxes for recipes in most stores. They’ll be about the size of index cards. Here’s an idea of what I’m talking aobut:
HOW TO ARRANGE YOUR BINDER OR BOX
You have two main choices here; either alphabetical by product name/manufacturer or by category. By category is probably the most common method. If you decide to arrange yours by category, here are the most commonly used:
- Air fresheners/ Candles
- Baking Needs
- Dish washing
- Feminine Needs
- Food Miscellaneous
- Hair Care
- Household Miscellaneous
- Medicine/ First Aid
- Oral Hygiene
- Shaving/ Deodorants
- Skin Care/Make up
- Surface Cleaners
THINGS TO CONSIDER:
No matter which of those methods works best for you, there are some other things to consider.
- Will you cut all of the coupons out of your inserts, or only cut them when you need them? (I used to just cut them when I need them, but that was kind of a hassle for me. So I started cutting them all and putting them in my binder.)
- If you don’t cut them all, how will you store your inserts? I used to use a file storage box with hanging folders and keep mine by the date they came out. And I would carry one of each of my inserts with me.
- No matter which method you use, you’ll need to carry a printed copy of the store coupon policies with you. You could get full page size sheet protectors to go in the front of your binder to put each one in. I’ve linked the ones I use most often here: http://www.dealsearchingdad.com/coupon-policies/
- When you get ready to make out your shopping list (yes, a list is a good idea, helps make things quicker and easier in the store), use the coupon database on my blog to see if there is a coupon available for items you are interested in. It will tell you the name and release date of the insert it is in, the expiration date, or provide you with a link if it’s printable. You can find the database here: http://www.dealsearchingdad.com/coupon-database/
That’s a quick overview of coupon organization, but it should at least get you started. If you have any specific questions, feel free to send me a private message on my Facebook page, or fill out the contact form here on the blog.
This post is part of the Learning To Coupon series. If you haven’t, already, be sure to check the rest of the series out. The purpose of these posts will be to teach you about couponing, give you some of my personal insights and tips, but mostly to encourage you. Be sure to stay tuned, and never be afraid to ask me for advice or help.
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