Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Coupon Organization - Do You Want to Look Like a Crazy Coupon Lady Or Not?

I am going to start this post out by saying that I am not an extreme couponer and I don't need any psychiatric help.  I have seen those shows before, maybe you have too, where people go really overboard with the couponing and you wonder where their loved ones are and if they are getting some sort of help.  Don't lump me in that group please but do know that I love coupons and I use them whenever I can for things that I would normally buy.  I never clip coupons for things that I wouldn't normally purchase and I only purchase things when I need them.  If I can get a really good savings I might buy one or two but it is just my husband and myself in the house right now so we don't really need a lot.  When I say really good savings, I mean like 75% - 80% savings.

There are so many different ways to organize coupons that if you are just starting out it can be hard to decide which is the easiest and most economical way for you to do it.  Again, since I don't go crazy with the couponing but I use them whenever I shop, I like having them easily at hand and I don't like to look like I am carrying a treasure chest into the store.  Here is what I have done.

I picked up this little plastic coupon envelope from Family Dollar Store, and it was just $1.00,  about 10 years ago and it still not only looks great but also has held up in my disaster area of a purse very well over the years.  I like the plastic envelopes because they not only last a long time but if you like to add labels to your dividers on the inside, they go on and off very easily.

My envelope is 7" wide by 4 1/2" tall and is expandable.  It has this great elastic closure that allows you to hold 100s of coupons without anything falling out of place. It is wide enough to hold the longer coupons you find in the store circulars in the Sunday papers and for the ones that are too big, I just fold them in half so that they fit in nicely with the regular sized coupons.

There are 12 dividers and 13 sections for me to put coupons in.  I do not label the tabs on the inside of my envelope because of the way I file my coupons.

Since I don't necessarily grocery shop on a regular basis anymore I have found that organizing my coupons by date is best.  As I clip my coupons, I put them in a slot in my coupon envelope that covers a weeks worth of dates.  When that week is past I know I can just throw away the coupons that I have not used.

If you prefer to go gang-busters and really make couponing a career (good luck!) here are a few other ways to collect and store them:

Coupon Binder
The two main ways to organize in a binder are:

  1. Sheet Protectors - You can take your weekly coupon sections from the newspaper and stick the whole thing in a sheet protector right out of the newspaper to cut out later.  This is a quick and easy way to store them without a lot of messing around and then you only touch them when you need them.
  2. Baseball Card Protectors - If you like to cut out your coupons and then throw away the ones you don't want, you can do this when you get them and then stick them into the pockets of the plastic protector by product or by date.  Baseball card sheet protectors can be purchased at Walmart or Target for a fairly reasonable price and they are usually found near the front of the store near the check out stands (near the baseball cards!)
Plastic Box
If you choose a plastic container to store your coupons in you can also either save the whole sheet of coupons or clip them as you go.  Either way, you have a sturdy way to store your coupons that should keep you from having any accidents while traveling through the store.  You will look like a crazy coupon lady though when you walk into the store with your big plastic box.  If you don't care, go right on ahead and do it!

File Folders
Here again you can either leave the coupons together as a whole or you can clip them.  If you are using a clipping service along with your coupons, keeping them in order by date in these larger folders will help you scour your coupons quickly when your services coupon listings come out.  

Purse Size Accordian File
This is my preferred way to go as I can carry this with me all the time and I know that it is always in my purse.  If I need to stop by the store on the spur of the moment, I know my coupons are with me.  

Do you have any suggestions on great ways to organize coupons?  If so, please let me know in the comment section below.  I would love to hear your ideas!

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