Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Coupon Organization, frugalsuz-style

So by popular request, here is how I organize my coupons. There are tons of methods out there, this is just what works for me. I think everyone has to experiment a little to find the best way for them.

Step One - separate all the individual pages of the coupon inserts and put them in separate piles. If two pages are connected, unless there's a coupon going over the middle of the page, I'll rip them apart into two separate pages. Any page without a coupon gets thrown away.
Step Two - reassemble the insert into one mega-insert. So all the cover pages go together (unless there are no coupons on the cover page, in that case I just save one copy and throw out the rest), all page 2's go together, all page 3's go together and so on. Make sure the pages are all facing the same way. Then label the front of the mega-insert with the date. Voila, easy as pie!
The beauty of organizing this way is that when I want to cut multiple copies of the same coupon, all I have to do is browse through my mega-insert until I find the coupons I want (aha, there you are Bounty!) and then cut as many copies as I need, all at once. No more paging through each copy of the insert to cut out 4 copies of one coupon. Some folks staple all of the same pages together. I did this for a while, but found it made the inserts too bulky for my likin'.
As I'm creating my mega-inserts, I sometimes see a coupon I know I'll use right away, so I'll clip that one right then and there. But usually, I just assemble and then file the inserts away in my desk drawer. I have a file for each month and they all get stored by date. The first section is where I store my All You magazines and odds and ends coupon booklets and the other sections are the newspaper inserts. When I'm looking for a particular coupon, I'll check the Coupon Database on Hot Coupon World. It will tell me which week's insert it was in and then I just pull out that one from my files.
The downside to this system is that my coupons are at home, not with me in the stores. So sometimes if I see a great deal, I have to make a note of it, clip my coupons when I get home and go back later. But more often that not, I have a pretty good idea of what I'm going to buy before I step into the store and I have my coupons clipped and ready to go.
I do carry some coupons with me and I store them in this smaller organizer that I keep in my purse. Its starting to fall apart on me, but it gets the job done. Most of the coupons in here are ones I clipped knowing I'd use sooner or later or ones that I clipped in anticipation of a sale and didn't use. I also store my CVS CRT coupons here (front pocket). The categories are: Frozen Food, Refrig. Food, Baking, Snacks, Pantry, Makeup/Facial Care, Hair Care, Lotion/Shaving/Deodorant, Soap, Drugs/Medicine, Paper Products, Kitchen Stuff (ie. Rubbermaid containers, foil), Household, Candles/Air Fresheners, Cleaners and Pet Stuff.
I go through my organizer and my file drawers every so often and purge the expired coupons.
I use envelopes to organize myself for my shopping trips. These are a bit messy, but that's how they typically look so I figured I'd "keep it real" as Pioneer Woman would say. I use envelopes that I get in the mail from bills and write on the back. I'll usually write down what I'm planning on buying and tuck the appropriate coupons/EB's/RR's/store cards inside. This really helps me keep track of what I'm buying at all the different stores I shop at. I'll sometimes use a different envelope for each scenario/transaction if things are getting complicated.
So that's it. As I said, this is just what works for me, but I hope it was helpful! :)


Lindsay said...

Very nice!!! :) I have been thinking of moving to the mega insert for awhile now. I tend to get a lot of inserts though... How long would you say this takes you to put them together?

frugalsuz said...

Thanks Lindsay! I get six papers each week and it probably takes me about 5-10 minutes to assemble each mega-insert. It depends on how many coupons are in the paper each week.

spaghetti0625 said...

YAY! I can now organize my Q box :)

Precious said...

Interesting concept! Thanks for posting! You do well so the system must work for you. :-)

Amiyrah said...

Wow, we do it exactly the same way! When you talked about it on Sunday, I figured there was something a bit different and I would be able to see once you posted the pics, but it's the same thing! Whoo Hoo! I do it like the pros do! :oD

frugalsuz said...

No problemo :)

From what I've seen on other blogs, it seems like a ton of people use this method. I can't even imagine carrying around every coupon I have in the stores with me. I'd need a shopping cart just for that! lol

Shelly said...

I do the mega-insert with the P&G inserts. The other ones are too different since I get two different papers (one w/ good Qs and one w/ lousy ones). I nedd to file the some way so I can carry them in the car. Right now the are in 2 manilla envelopes in a cloth bag.

Sarah said...

Wow, when I saw your envelopes I had to do a double-take. I organize like that too, and the handwriting is very similar! I thought at first you somehow got a hold of my CVS envie...lol. Nice system, thanks for sharing! Mine is almost the same, except I dont take the time to make super inserts, I just file. But it works!

frugalsuz said...

I sometimes get inserts from my mom and they don't always match up with the ones I've bought, so it can be a pain including those. Sometimes I'll just keep those ones separate rather than trying to match up the pages.

Didn't you know I have snagged your envelope? I'm very sneaky you know! LOL! That's funny