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October 28, 2008

Organization is Key

Lately I have been getting a lot of questions about how I organize my coupon stash. Up until recently the answer was little envelopes. I had a set of little white 4x5 envelopes stuffed with coupons and labeled. I had a separate larger envelope for my printed coupons because they were to big for my little ones. When asked if I thought it was a good system I said "No way"!

Honestly, there may have been a point where I thought my little envelopes were going to be all I needed. That thought is LONG gone. My coupon collection has grown and I'm expecting about 100 more that I bought on eBay this week. Also, my little envies were ripped and torn and I lost coupons all the time.

Last weekend I made a very big transition over to the Accordion File method. I chose this method simply because I did not want to have to go out and buy a binder for the Binder Method. I had this accordion file already and wasn't using it. I think I bought it for around $4 a few months ago. When I start becoming a little better at this and start to save a little more I might move over to a binder method. The whole point of cutting coupons is to save money and if I'm just spending it somewhere else what's the point?

To go along with the file folder I purchased a small spiral notebook, small colored Post It's, a few RSVP pens which are my favorite pens ever and a package of 25 clear page protectors. I tried to find baseball card protectors but couldn't find them so I settled on these for now. I can use them to store whole sheets of un-clipped coupons when I move over to the binder method. I had the envies leftover from my old method.

The total cost of everything including the file folder was about $10 but it's seriously priceless.

Inside the binder has 13 tabbed sections. They are broken down as follows:

1. VIP Coupons: I store my Post It's, notebook, pens , scissors and all my very important coupons here. Before I hit the store I plan my trip and pull out any coupons I plan on using and store them in this pocket so I can quickly reference them during my trip. If I see something on sale that wasn't in the ad and I have a coupon for it, I pull it out and stick it here too. Then when I check out I just hand the cashier my pile.

2. Walgreen's Section: My Easy Saver Books go here along with the current ad and any Register Rewards. I keep my receipts for Walgreen's at home because if I lost this folder I cannot claim my rebate items.
3. Walmart: Same thing as Walgreen's. I keep the current ad if I plan to shop here that week and any coupons that may match up with sales.
4. Target: I keep an envie with Target only coupons I find in ads along with their weekly ad. I shop here just as much as Walgreen's so this is a very important section. Anything Target related such as $5/$25 coupons and such go here along with recent receipts.
5. Grocery: Anything grocery store related goes here same as with the others. I keep my Schnuck's $5/$25 here and recent ads for all the stores I visit.

6 Through 12 is broken down as follows:

Each section is filled with envies and page protectors that have been labeled with sticky notes and arranged in alphabetical order. Such as the section labeled ABCD is broken down like this:

Baking, Bread, Cereal, Candy etc....

Some sections are even broken down further into product brands:

Air Wick, Campbells, Dove, Dial, Glade, Oust etc...

Also, the Yellow sticky notes are for Food Items and the Pink for None Food Items.

Now Section 13 holds envies filled with other random coupons such as Super Cuts, Dave & Busters, Chuck E Cheese's, Restaurant Coupons like McDonald's etc...

The Notebook is very important as it lists my final shopping list and scenarios for each store, each week. I stick a sticky note on each page and note what store and for what week. Each page has a list and each list is broken down to include what coupons I will match up and how many, sale price, final price etc...Kind of like this:

Walgreen's November 2-8:
Celestial Seasonings Tea: Sale Price $3/2
Buy 2
* Use ESQ $1/2
* Use (2) Man. Q $1/1
Final Price: FREE

This helps so that I am doing very minimal math inside the store. Getting in and out is best.

There is no wrong or right way when creating a coupon organizer. My best advice is arrange it based upon how YOU think. Whether it be alphabetically, by expiration date, only by brand name, by product ie: Health or Beauty etc...

Having a way to store and organize your coupons is key because if your like me it can get very confusing when you do get into a store and begin your process. You can forget items, misplace coupons and just lose it altogether. Having a system makes things much easier and a lot quicker.

Here are a few other Bloggers with amazing Coupon Organizers so be sure to check them out!

Rachel at Out of the Overflow
Money Saving Mom
Thrifty and Chic Mom
Nichole at A Call to Higher Places
Deni at Far More Than Diamonds
Laura from Laura Williams' Musings


Mary said...

Holy cow, Brea. The OCD person in me wants to marry you;) I mean that in a good way! I need to be more organized in some aspects of my life, that's for sure.

twinkle730 said...

My gawd, you are a organized genius! I just ordered a coupon organizer but haven't received it yet. I want to cancel it & try your method! Love the black damask & yellow organizer...super cute! Organized & chic at the same time!