Organizing Your Coupons Without Clipping

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Thanks to Amanda at Simple Saving Savvy for this guest post,

I hope last week’s discussion of the three-ring binder as a method of coupon organization whetted your appetite for new and more efficient ways to keep track of the mountains of coupons that seem to be avalanche-ing down upon us as of late.

This week, I promised I would discuss my second choice in coupon organization which I use simultaneously along with my binder.

It’s this little dandy right here:

My portable hanging file. These come in all sizes and I have opted for the smaller version. This system consists of the holder, hanging files and manila folders.

When I retrieve the weekly coupon inserts from my Sunday paper(s), I write the date of the insert with a sharpie on the front for quick reference. The publish date is printed in 1 point type on the spine but I prefer not to give myself a migraine from squinting my eyes together in an effort to read it, thus the sharpie.

I then place like inserts inside a manila folder.

And label it with the insert code (SS, RP, PG, etc) and date. I then file the manilafolders within the hanging folders, in order by date with the most recent publish date toward the front.

As you may have noticed by now, most money-saving blog owners, myself included, post various deals with specific coupon match-ups and a reference as to where to find that coupon.

They usually look something like this:

Chinet Plates 10-15 ct. 2/$3
Use $1.00/1 SS 5/3 exp 6/30/09
Final Cost: $0.50

Translated for any newbies, this means that Chinet Plates are on sale for 2 for $3.00 but if you use the coupon found in the SmartSource insert published on May 3, you will only pay $0.50 each after coupon.

So if you were using the hanging file method, you would simply locate the file marked “SS 5/3”, find the coupon, clip it and VOILA!

So say you are viewing an entire deals list for Walgreens. You would copy and paste the list to a word doc. or whatever you use, delete the deals you’re not interested in, and print the list. Then, you would simply go to your hanging file, look for the manilafolders coded and dated for the match-ups included on your shopping list, pull them, clip the coupons and attach them to your list.

And just like that, you’re ready to go shopping.

Because of the Coupons for Christ ministry and all my wonderful friends who share coupons with me, I am OVERLOADED with coupons much of the time. This is why I use both the binder and the hanging file. I keep a couple of copies of inserts clipped and filed in my binder and the overflow of fully intact inserts in my hanging file.

Because this system is designed for dated inserts, you will need a supplemental method for “non-insert” coupons and printable coupons.

Another thing to note with this method is you will still need to “clean up”.

When my hanging file is filled to the gills, I know it’s time to weed out. I simply go to the oldest dated file folders, throw away the expireds, clip the non-expireds and file them in my binder.

The main reason I like this method is because of the time it saves on clipping and sorting coupons. If you only get one paper a week and seldom vary from that, then it doesn’t take you long to clip and sort. But if you buy multiple papers every week, you know from experience how overwhelming it can be to keep your coupon stockpile organized and user-friendly. This system can help relieve that burden.

I hope this gives you something more to mull over. Let me know if you have any questions or need something explained in more detail.

Again, what works for me, may not be your cup o’ tea. Find what works for YOU!

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