My Coupon Organizer…

Are coupons really worth the trouble?  Let me tell you… YES!!

Using coupons matched with store sales has literally helped me cut about $500/month out of our monthly grocery budget. However, the key to using coupons for me is to keep them organized!

There are so many different ways you can organize your coupons… accordion files, coupon binders, etc. ~ but here’s what has worked best for me.

I used some old file folders and cut them up into strips. I then dedicated each piece of file folder to one category, and stapled it to the inside back corner of an envelope.

The categories I used include:

  • Air Fresheners & Candles
  • Baby
  • Bags
  • Baking
  • Batteries
  • Beverages
  • Bread
  • Candy & Gum
  • Canned Foods
  • Cereal – General Mills
  • Cereal – Kashi
  • Cereal – Kelloggs
  • Cleaners
  • Condiments
  • Crackers
  • Dairy
  • Frozen
  • Health Food
  • Hygiene – Dental
  • Hygiene – Other
  • Jelly / Peanut Butter
  • Makeup
  • Meat
  • Medicine / Rx
  • Mexican
  • Office Supplies
  • Paper Products {T.P., etc.}
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Salad Dressing
  • Seasonings
  • Sauce
  • Snacks
  • Toys
  • Vitamins

Additional categories I made for specific stores {that I keep in the front of the basket} include:

  • Albertsons
  • Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Craft Stores
  • CVS
  • Fry’s {Kroger}
  • K-Mart
  • Photo Deals
  • Safeway
  • Target
  • Walgreens
  • Wal-Mart

Other categories I made for Restaurants and Entertainment {that I keep in the back of the basket} include:

  • Activities / Entertainment
  • Restaurants – Fast Food
  • Restaurants – Mexican
  • Restaurants – Pizza
  • Restaurants – Subs/Sandwiches/Bagels
  • Restaurants – Other

The basket could fit nicely in the top part of a shopping cart, although I usually take just the coupons I need with me in a separate envelope.
A huge thank you goes out to Crystal for recommending this method!!

Then… find More Tips to Organize Your Coupons + check out Couponology 101!

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Comments

  1. Brenda says

    I love this idea. I have tried several methods and this is certainly cute. I might need a lid on mine as I am sure to drop it at some point. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Terra says

    Great Idea! I use three check folders…One for household stuff (mostly purchased at drug stores) and 2 for foodies – then I have big binder on kitchen desk with store and restaurant coupons in it! But I like the basket, envelopes – might have to make a change this weekend.

  3. Jen says

    Love this idea–it’s so cute! Have you ever had a problem with the basket tipping over in the car or somewhere?

  4. searcher says

    I tried the binder method with a photo album and that was great, for a while.

    I am now using a file box the same way! It is about the size of a shoe box but has dividers and a neet little adjustable thing to hold up the items. I don’t know what it’s called! But I can adjust it to the amount of coupons in the box. I have the coupons in envelopes. It is not perfect yet and I may change methods again until I find something I like using.

  5. Amy @ Finer Things says

    I’ve got a file box and dividers, but I didn’t think about the envelopes! That would make it so much easier to pull them out. Great idea. Organized coupons = money saved = a Finer Thing!

  6. Deal Fanatic says

    I have to ask though, how do you bring them into the store? I’ve found the binder book works great for going inside the store…how about you??

  7. Heidi @ Frugal Girls! says

    I typically take only the coupons I need into a store, however the basket does fit nicely into the top part of the shopping cart (assuming there’s no baby sitting there). :)

  8. Heather@justdoingmybest says

    Very cute! I use the binder method, but this one seems like it would be quicker to organize.

  9. Denise says

    What a fantastic idea! I have coupons all over the place. This is a great idea to keep them all in one place! Thanks for sharing. Oh and I am visiting from Blissfully Domestic! :)

  10. Kirsty says

    This is great! It may help me actually use the coupons before I discover them expired a year later. And wow, that is an impressive (and inspiring) savings on your grocery bill. Thank you!

  11. Terry says

    What a great idea! I used to do coupons many years ago but then I’d forget them at home and it seemed like so much work. I’ll have to start up again – thanks for the great tip!

  12. Amy says

    Very cute! I have gone through several coupon organizing systems– the one that’s working for me right now is using a large square-ish zippered cosmetic bag with dividers inside. I had a big box, but with two kids, I couldn’t handle the number of times the box got dropped or when they “helped”. Right now, the zippered bag works for me… but someday I hope to move into something cute like your basket!

    My WFMW tip this week is about choosing useful freebies instead of clutter.

  13. tracyH says

    CUTE basket. I would be afraid of dumping it out in my car. That’s why I use the old standby…plastic shoe box with lid. Yours is much cuter~!

  14. Suzanne says

    This is great! Love the cute little basket. I’ve been using the same little coupon box for about 10 years I think it may be time for a change.

    • says

      reading more about your idea for using 4×6 photo books, that u picked up at dollar general, on your post…requires an invite on a blogger website. So therefore no one can view it unless they have your permission!!

      • Carolyn says

        Dawn, I too use the photo books for couponing….don’t know if this will help or not. I label them….one for each store I shop in. On Sunday or first part of the week I clip the item I am interested in….pull coupons from my files and add them to the page with that clipped item. I also follow some blogs to get “deals” and print and clip that particular item I am interested in…and add it to that page. When I go to the store my book has one “deal” per page with coupons and ad picture/price and printed deal. It is a quick way to shop. I have done my work at home and I find this much easier. If one book isn’t enough to hold all of your deals you could use a second one per store. I also take my containers with my cliped/filed coupons with me in case I find something on clearance or an unadvertised sale.

  15. Amber says

    It looks great. I too organize in envelopes. I use the long ones so I don’t have to fold coupons. I bring my huge coupon organizer to the store with me. Can’t miss that baby in the front seat of the cart…lol. I’ll have to post about it one day. It’s cute and super organized. Now…to tackle the to be cut coupons on next Tuesday. That pile is huge…lol.

  16. Call Me Su says

    Where do you ladies usually collect your coupons? I know the Sunday paper is a great resource but I would really like to build up my collection!!! Thanks for you suggetions!

  17. Natalie says

    Very cute! After some envelope trial and error, I now use an old metal lunch box that my dad used to take to the mill when I was little. (so yeah, it's a little nostalgic too) But it's also the perfect size for the cart basket, and has a lid. Or I take two envelopes… one w/ the coupons I "need" and one w/ the coupons that are about to expire. : )

    • Sandra S. Lierle says

      I have the old round top black lunch pail my grandfather used and I just love it. I am not a serious couponer yet but the idea of using it may just maqke me one. This is a great idea. I think I will use the envelope idea and also add one to put the coupons in that I know I am going to use in that store that day. I just love this sight. Making Laundry Soap right now! Just fixing to pour it into the bucket! Thanks!

  18. Cheri-Beri says

    That's awesome. Our coupon organization for restaurants, home goods stores, etc, is AWFUL!! I'm think I'm going to go out tonight and get a basket and get to organizing. My husband is going to be thrilled :-) Seriously, I'm not being sarcastic. I can't wait to surprise him!!

  19. The Prudent Homemaker says

    Since you said you've cut out $500 a month by using coupons, I have a couple of questions for you.

    What was your budget before using coupons?

    What is your budget now?

    I'm guessing from your categories that your meals include a lot of meals out.

  20. Heidi @ Frugal Girls! says

    We were spending close to $800 on groceries per month {including all toiletries, cleaning supplies, etc.}

    Thanks to matching coupons with in-store sales and making much more food from scratch, we've been able to cut that down to around $300/month! :)

    We eat out about once per week {a weekend treat}, so I save all of those restaurant coupons we get in the mail, too!

  21. LaVonne says

    Thanks for sharing. That is a great organization tool. I use file accordion myself and organize them alphabetically. I linked this post to my own WFMW post. :)

  22. kathleenvilleneuve says

    That is SUCH a good idea – thank you for sharing it! I've been just using a large envelope and I can't keep up with what I have! Ok – so what size is that basket – I've looked and the ones I've found are either too wide or way too deep – and where did you get yours? Thanks so much! LOVE your site!

  23. Heidi @ Frugal Girls! says

    Hi Kathleen!

    I purchased the basket at Walgreens {it came in a 3-pack… small, medium, and large – this was the medium-sized basket}.

    It's about 8" wide and 12" long, and works wonderfully!

    Have fun making your own coupon organizer!

  24. Anonymous says

    I do something similiar, except instead of a basket I use a cosmetic type tote bag.

    The one I have is canvas, has 2 handles and a snap closure with a small patch pocket on the front which I use to hold the coupons I pull out to use while shopping.

    It's more handy to carry than a basket and if I accidently drop it, the snap closure keeps all the coupons from falling out.

    I always take all my coupons in the store with me just in case there's an unadvertised special or an item I use on clearance.

    Vickie, [email protected]

  25. Puanani503 says

    I love this idea!The basket is cute too.I'm going to try it with a mini crate that I got for a $1 at Wal-Mart. Thanks so much for sharing:)

  26. Leane says

    I use a binder with the baseball card holder pages. I can see all the coupons and don't have to pull out a pile and flip through them. This helps me feel more organized and in control while shopping, so I don't get overwhelmed.

    I, too, have cut at least $500 a month by using a coupon system. Can you believe I have friends who tell me they 'don't have time for coupons'?!?!?!? Who doesn't have time for $500 extra a month??!!!!

  27. Anonymous says

    Cute idea…but not incredibly practical since I usually am shopping with 2 or 3 kids. One of those small expandable file folders has worked pretty well for us so far.

  28. Angie says

    Love your basket, labeling, and envelope ideas! What do you store the "coupons to be cut" in? You know, newspapers, printed, etc.

    I once utlized a modern-looking black metal hanging file-folder holder (holds about 12 hanging files) w/plastic tabs for labeling. The envelopes inside were labeled as well. It stayed on top of the desk/kitchen counter. Since I've moved, I've looked for a different system. Thanks again.

  29. Renee says

    I just did my coupons like your's and I take the whole basket with me to the store. I love it, because it is pretty and I can find my coupons easy.

  30. Anonymous says

    I also agree that your basket is nice looking! How do you keep track of the coupons that you are holding on to for later? And expiration dates?

  31. Sharon Rosen says

    I love this, and the fact that it's cute is even better! I moved away from coupon cutting a few years ago but I'm back and determined and starting from scratch – so this is super handy.

    Thanks for featuring this article on your sidebar too!! I may never have found it otherwise :)

  32. thriftychicky says

    I love this idea! I have been using a file method, but sometimes I find a deal at the store and there is no way for me to go through me files. This looks like a great idea.

  33. Carrie says

    I love this idea but dropped it once. After using asmall accordian file, I recently found a 10" X 13" accordian file with a spiral lid. I can flip the lid back and it stands up on the table (floor) when I need to file the coupons. It is made by Pendaflex and has 13 pockets that are closed on the bottom. I believe it was only about $10. It works great for me. I especially like filing the coupons with all categories proped open.

  34. libmama75 says

    I like to keep my coupons organized in the same order as the store aisles (I bought an actual accordion-style plastic coupon organizer at CVS or some such, for a couple of bucks) — that way, if I run into a deal at the store, I know exactly where to look in my file.

  35. Debra Kellenberger says

    I also use the basket system for my coupons, and it works great. I just wanted to let the readers know that a great source for coupons is the All You magazine that is published by Walmart, it usually has $60 to sometimes $90 in coupons in it monthly. But you can only get it at Walmart but definitly worth the $2.50 and this site has a .50 off coupon for it.

    • Liezl Guerrero says

      Subscribed to all you magazine through my son’s school fundraiser. I love it. Its great with the coupons and ideas. Also, the savings tips they give for the whole family.

  36. Latish says

    Oh wow, what a great system! This is the first time I’ve seen this method. I’ll be using this for sure. Thanks!!!

  37. kimberly says

    I just started using coupons the last few weeks after talking with a co-worker. I love the idea of the basket. Every Sunday i sit and budget my bill and NOW i clip my coupons. I am working on a better system and I think this may help…Thanks

  38. J Frook says

    THANKS SOOOOOOO MUCH FOR SAVING ME TIME! My husband is in construction so his job is not guaranteed….I have been a part-time working, stay-at-home-Mom for 25 years….recently I’ve been working 40 hrs for a very busy 7 stressful accounting office but still want to cook melas and save for my family….you have simplified my life so that I can continue to clip coupons and save time. I really appreciate it!

  39. Lee Carter says

    Walmart takes printable coupons? The walmart here is S.C. always examines the ones i cut out of the sunday paper, so i never imagined they’d take a printable!

  40. tara bussey says

    Hi I love your ideas. I am just wondering how you find specific coupons for ex: when it says reach 2/7 ss how do you go thru your coupons to find it? do you file like you have explained and look in the category? I have had problems even finding many coupons w/o clipping . It seems that certain areas do not always get all the coupons listed. Like for instance, I did not get any of the nivea ar lyso; in the 2/7 inserts. Any other or additional info will be greatly appreciated. thanks for all you do. God Bless

  41. Mirandia B says

    I have to say I did try the binder and I have tried the small file folder in the purse and they both got to be too much for me. I think this idea is one that I will for sure try!

  42. Mzktchr says

    I have been using a zippered 3 ring binder with clear page protectors sleeves. I have general categories labeled on the clear sleeves and inside the sleeves I have business sized envelopes with more specific categories labeled on them. Then I paper clip coupons together inside the envelopes by month of expiration so that (at least in theory) I can find the soonest to expire ones first. The binder has interior pockets so I can keep store fliers,scissors,large coupons and things like the monthly walgreens coupon book in the side and the coupons I’m going to use at check out as I pull them. This all sounds good but my binder’s zipper died and I’m kind of trying to rethink my methods here. I love the basket idea but I agree mine would get dumped. I need closure! lol

    I have to add I love your site and the fb updates and alerts to deals! Keep up the good work!

  43. Katrina says

    I keep an alphabetized list on my computer and I alphabetize my coupons in my coupon holder. If I see a product on sale, I simply look on the list to make sure I have it and then pull it out of my file. I buy my Sunday papers at Deals – only a buck! I buy anywhere from 6-10 depending on which coupons are in it.

  44. Dee Dee says

    Oh thank you so much!!I say this as I sit here in the middle of a mountain of coupons surrounding me!!So I piled all of my coupons sitting on the floor and decided to take a break to check my facebook and clicked on your site as I’m a big fan..Organize Coupons popped out at my and I’ll tell you you have just saved my day as I tried the binder method and others with no luck!Thank you,Thank you!

  45. Carolyn says

    I take used file folders….create a small version of that file folder shape on one half of the file. (so I get two files from one folder)….I alphabetize
    my coupons by MFG food and non food….(ex: a-c, d-g, h-l, etc.) and Internet food and non-food, etc. I bought plastic containers from Target in the laundry area that have snap handles on each side…made my folders to fit. I dropped the previous box I used and knew I wanted to be sure not to do that again and found this locked container. (Aprox 10 1/2 inchs X 6 1/2 inches)

    When I am searching for a coupon in that file, it opens up easily so that I can sort through them very quickly.

    I clip coupons that I want/use and use one container for MFG coupons and one for Internet coupons.

  46. Carolyn says

    My best tool in couponing is to use a soft sided photo album (about $1.00-$2.00 each). I have one for each store I shop at.(Label the front so it is easy to pick up the right one) I go through the new ad, clip anything I will be purchasing…and pull my coupons from the above files (I talked about in my previous post) insert clipped ad and coupon into the pockets of the album….and I am ready to go into the store, pull the item off of the shelf, then I place that coupon in the front of my book so I don’t forget to use it. I do take my coupon stash (containers) with me in a nice bag that they fit into perfectly…so that I can take advantage of things I may find on sale. I find I can do most of the work of shopping while sitting in the comfort of my own home…and not standing in the isle of a store.

    Thanks for all the help you give us in this web site and for other readers comments.

  47. says

    I love this idea , i just set it up and i will try it out… i am new to couponing just started a few months ago and i am just trying to find what works best for me.. i love your site and you are full of good ideas.. thank you :)

  48. Pat says

    I use 2 plastic shoe boxes that fit in plastic sleeves. I(I don’t know if they make these anymore, the box pulls out of the sleeve and they stack) I use the index dividers, they are 4×6, and I cut them to fit the box. That way you can read each subject as they are like the index dividers in a notebook, graduated in location. Hope that makes sense!

  49. me says

    you can also use shortcuts.com and kroger.com for digital coupons on a kroger plus card or store card kinda like cellfire.com

  50. Kristen says

    Target has some great accordian files in their $1 section – ranging from teeny, medium, and large. I purchased several of the medium-sized ones and divided up my categories.

  51. Kate says

    Thank you so much for this article! I just set about and made all the envelopes, only I used some of my post-its and turned them so the sticky would be on the bottom and made my labels of those. I also added retail clothes, retail shoes, & retail air freshners and candles and instead of making a sauces & salad dressing I just put those under condiments. But, I do love this and now i can take my overstuffed coupon organizer out of my purse! That sucker was getting heavy lol :P

  52. says

    The basket is a cute idea! I am just to clumsy to carry it around. I can just see myself in the middle of a grocery isle, in a puddle of coupons!

    What works best for me is clipping what I know I will use. I then save the whole insert and write the date on the front. I keep the inserts in a folder until needed. By browsing different blogsites you will know when to go back and clip a certain coupon for a particular sale.

    I clip what I know I will use and for items frequently on sale. I keep these in an expandable check folder. This is what I take to the store. Each week before grocery day, I go thru them for expiring coupons and the ones that I match to my grocery list. I clip these to my list. It saves time by not having to clip all the coupons.

    Diane, kouponkrazed.com

  53. Gayle Cartwright says

    Thank you so much, I think this helps so much and hope yo keep posting more info on how to and where to get coupons. I watched Extreme Couponing on A&E I think was the Channel and that was really great..We can save a lot learning to do this.. Thanks so much

  54. jessica says

    What size basket are you using?? This is the perfect idea for organizing b/c I’ve tried the notebooks, basecard holders, etc and I just don’t like those systems. So I am going to copy this idea for sure! Thanks you!

  55. Crystal Letourneau says

    I use two of the coupon indexes that are clear that joannes carries.They are made by Darice. with a 40% off coupon they ring in around 3.00 they unfold well. and i often put them side by side in the top of my cart.there is plenty of room in each so what i do is label each pocket with things such as dairy, frozen personal care, hair care etc. but within these pocket i take a small standard envelope. I use the instant seal type and first peel the lip and adhere it to the inside back of enveope then i cut the left side of envelope up the side so long coupons fit in as well. I then put as many of these in the slot as needed say personal care . I might have ” body washes, soaps, razors,etc.i then write upon the top of each one what is held in it. i then tape a small picture of the item to the top. usually a 1″ x 1 ” works well i cover it with tape and secue it well for abuse.and i try to arrange like you would a notebook with dividers spaced apart so you can see each one. what a quick way to find each coupon for both putting away and getting. i was bringing in just the coupons i had for the store. but i always run into free items that are on clearance . i can’t resist.thanks for all your wonderful tips for a scanned view of this just email me * maineclipper @ gmail.com. Crystal

  56. Heather Morgan says

    Was wondering do you put your coupons in a different envelope to take them into the store or do you just take out the envelopes you are going to be using? Just wondering cause if you had a lot to get, that may mean like 10 if not more envelopes. Trying to figure out a method for me as I do have a baby that sits in the cart and can’t store my basket there.

    • Heidi says

      Hi Heather ~ yes… when I am ready to head to the store, I pull out the specific coupons I’ll need for that shopping trip and place them in a separate envelope. ;) {you may also want to leave your entire coupon organizer in the car, just in case you happen to stumble across another great deal while you’re shopping}

      ~ Heidi

  57. Sarah says

    This is great! I made my file last night using your idea. I didn’t have to spend anything to made this as I had all the supplies already! :) THANKS

    I still mark the front of Red Plum, Smart Source, and P&G, with the date I got them out of the Sunday paper and only clip as I need them.

  58. Marianne says

    I use a large size index card holder and organize my coupons alphabetically by brand. Makes it easy for me to take to the store. I LOVE this idea and it looks so cute, but I would for sure drop it! hahaha I love the idea of a separate tab for store coupons. I’m definitely going to add tabs to my organizer.

  59. Marie says

    I have just started using coupons…However, when you set up something like this folder system do you cut out each coupon from the paper? or only ones you think you might need? I am having trouble figuring this out…You never know what might be on sale, right?

  60. cyndi dickason says

    Do you clip all of your coupons to take with you, or do you just clip items you normally use & keep the rest n a file? I am struggling w/different methods right now as I have a 1yr old & another on the way. I tried the binder method, but it got so heavy, and takes alot of time to stay up on clipping. Any suggestions?

  61. Jeri says

    I lost my coupon holder, along with all of ALL of my coupons and didn’t know what to do. I guess I was depressed. :(
    I am going to do this. I LOVE IT!

  62. Chandra says

    What I’ve Learned as I Have Started to Coupon:
    *Remember to “stack” coupons if possible. If you have a manufacturer’s coupon and Target coupon for $1.50 off Quilted Northern toilet paper each, go ahead and “stack” if you can. Sometimes you can’t and sometimes you can,it’s always worth a try!
    *Price Adjustments: Target does this for any item that goes on sale within 14 days from original purchase. Just have your receipt and mark the item and bring it to Guest Service.
    Hope this Helps!!!

  63. Chandra says

    Forgot to mention sorry:
    PRICE MATCH PRICE MATCH PRICE MATCH!!!!
    Just bring the ad in of that current week and most stores will price match for the exact same item. I do know that Target(I shop at Target for almost everything!)and Walmart don’t price match BOGO items. And you also have to the full ad, not just the page with the item you are purchasing. Hope this helps as we all approach the busy time of holiday baking/shopping.

  64. Michelle says

    I have always clipped coupons (picked up from my mom). But I am now getting organized much more effectively for even more savings. A young friend asked me, “Is it worth it for just a few bucks?” I responded that even if I save $5.00/week…thats $20/month…in MY pocket!!! He and his wife are now clipping coupons too. Thank You for the great ideas and for beeing a great site with LOTS of ideas!!!!

  65. Karen says

    I am very new to the couponing thing. But I love it! It overwhelms me very much. Any simple ideals for catagorizing them? Right now, I have envelopes. Should I do each and every individual store that I visit? Do I catagorize by expiration date? UGH! I love this site and have already recommended it to several friends.

  66. Cindy says

    I use the binder but it just but it seems like I can’t get organized enough when I’m in the store. Maybe this would be good for me.

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