Ask Your Frugal Friends: How do You Keep Your Coupons Organized??

I received the following question from frugal friend Krista…

“Hello!  I was wondering if you have any ideas for how to organize coupons?  I have lots of them now, and don’t know if a recipe box will hold them all.  Thanks!”


pictured above: my basket coupon organizer 😉
{as always ~ thanks in advance for all of the great tips you share!}



So… what works for you??

How do YOU keep your coupons organized?

There are several different ways to stay organized ~ leave a comment & let us know what works for you!

See Also:
More Ask Your Frugal Friends Q & A’s

{Got a question you’d like to ask your Frugal Friends? Send me an email at: [email protected] ~ or ask away on Facebook!}

Comments

  1. Chanda says

    We use a binder with clear baseball card holders. They have about 9-12 slots on each page. We also have dividers that divide the coupons into categories. For example, baby products, beverages, canned goods…

    • Pattie says

      I have a friend who does hers this way. She sorts them by Manufacturer i.e. Glade, Clorox, Pillsbury. I have considered it but am looking for better ideas also. Right now I just keep my coupon inserts in a box and use a black marker to write the date on the front. I am getting tired of flipping through them though. Need a new way.

    • says

      I went and bought the baseball card inserts and was alittle disapointed. A majority of them had to be cut down in order to fit in the sleeve. And it was very time consuming trying to get them to fit. I was wondering if I bought the wrong things…

  2. says

    I use Krazy Coupon lady’s index and category sheets. they are a hugs help. In the back I also have my divers where I keepo all of my individual store coupons. I have the large sheet protectors where I keep my weekly ads, coupon policies and large coupons (like Bed, Bath and Beyond). It takes HOURS a week to keep up with it but I save a ton so it’s worth it to me!

    • Melody says

      This is what I use too, and it is such a wonderful resource. Like you said, it does take hours a week to keep up with it, but it is truly the best system I have ever come across!

  3. Tina says

    OMG!!!! I so need help with this one I am new to couponing and tried the binder thing and I liked it except didnt like it when it got to be too big.. I wan to be more serious about couponing and it is too much of cutting coupons… so im at the insert filing and im not really feeling it either cause i like to have my coupons with me at all times.. HELP any suggestions?

  4. Tracy Marte says

    Hi Krista, To keep my coupons organized I use a three ring binder and clear pocket sports card holders. I organize them by aisle for the grocery store. So as I go up and down each aisle I can just flip right to the section for that aisle to see what coupons I have. Then in the back of this binder after the grocery coupons I have sections for my local restaurant coupons and store coupons. The clear pocket sheets let me see in a quick glance what I have coupons for and when they expire. Hope this helps and happy couponing!!

    tracy

    • Mary says

      Thanks a bunch, Tracy. I will be starting a binder this week. I like the way you organize them by isle in favorite grocery store. May I ask what you do with all the books you acquire with coupons, do you cut all of them out or only the ones you need and do you keep the rest? Thanks for responding. Mary

      • Tracy Marte says

        Hi Mary,
        I cut them out of the books and organize them according to aisle like all the rest. As for the coupons I do not use I still file them by aisle. I then watch for sales since our local grocery chain is always running great sales. If that particular item is on a great sale that will make it super cheap with the coupon I purchase the item and donate it. If I have not found a sale and the coupon is due to expire within a few days I will leave it on the grocery store shelf with the item it is for. That way someone else can use it. I call it being a “coupon fairy” lol.

    • says

      This is how I have mine organized also. I use a zippered binder that has 4 pockets in the front where I keep all of my inserts…1 pocket for each type. I have a zipper pencil pouch holding my pens, scissors and a calculator and as I am shopping, I place the coupons I will use in there so they are all together when I get to the register.

  5. robin jordan says

    I use envelopes for each kind of products like cold food, food, tolitries, paper products, candy. Then I have a envelope for each store. I move my coupons over to store envelopes with each new sale week

    • Stephanie says

      I do something like this… I really like it.
      I check the ad’s each week for deals, then i match coupons up to the deals and put the in the envelope that is labled with that store. I also make a grocery list on the envelope, so everything is right there together!

    • jo says

      I use envelopes too based on product category. I then move what I am using at a store to a small coupon organizer with my list and leave the extras in my car. If I come across an unadvertised deal all I have to do is run outside real quick.

  6. Jenny says

    I recently had the same issue: a lot of coupons and no idea where to put them. I decided to go to our storage in the basement and look for some ideas, where I found a leather bound cd book. So far it is working well; I can put coupons in each of the CD slots and arrange each sleeve according to row or store section. It usually helps to put the smaller coupons from the Sunday paper at the top and the internet coupons at the bottom since they are larger.

  7. Amy says

    I am a fan of Jodi Furman’s (www.livefabuless.com) method of ‘unclipping’.

    She keeps entire inserts together in a binder and writes the date on the front of each insert. Then she uses matchup sites list what insert a coupon appears in and only clips as needed. Saves a ton of time.

    If you need to look for a specific coupon, you can always use sites like http://www.coupontom.com

  8. Sandra says

    I have a purse-sized organizer – I think it was for filing personal checks, originally. It has tab slots that you can insert your own labels into, so you can create the categories that work best for you. I keep it next to me, when I go through the ads, and pull any coupons that I know I am going to use. I put those into an envelope. Then, because the organizer is so small and portable, I take it with me too, for those things I forgot to add to the list, or unadvertised sales that I find when I get there.

    • Jessi says

      I use a similar organizer approach. I use those small plastic expand-a-file organizer and create my own categories to sort using the tab inserts included. I also use this organizer to file away my year’s recipts. It makes it great to find a recipt if a return is needed and definitely at tax time for those deductions. Then I simply place it in the box with all my paperwork for that tax year. I expect that once I can shred those tax papers I can also reuse the organizer.

  9. kiersten says

    I’m a binder girl. I bought sheets of business card inserts for the pages. I have mine divided up by depts – cold foods, frozen foods, canned stuff, etc. It has pockets in the front and back and that’s where I keep my collection of Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons, etc. I also have a zipper pocket in there where I keep a calculator and pens.

    I have been thinking about having a separate filing box where I keep each of the inserts by date (minus the coupons I cut) so that when someone posts some great deal and says go back to your Red Plum insert from Feb 1, I can cash in on the deal!

  10. Mary says

    I use the sports card and binder method also. I organize them according to categories. Breakfast, dairy, meat, ethnic, snacks, desserts, etc. I probably have about 26 categories total between food and non-food items.
    I can’t just keep the inserts because there aren’t any blog for the grocery stores in our area so I need to find the coupons on my own. Plus it helps when I encounter an unpublished deal at a store and I know exactly where to find a coupon. I usually can find a coupon I need in about 10 seconds.

  11. Rachel Clay says

    I keep my inserts whole and organized in my binder using clear sheet protectors. I date each one and use a coupon database (like the one on this site or southernsavers to find coupons I need) I use baseball card inserts for cut coupons and I file them according to category. The downside of this method is that you cannot just go into a store and use the coupons without planning ahead of time what you are going to purchase. The upside is that you don’t have to waste time clipping, filing, and purging expired coupons. I’d rather save time and plan ahead.

  12. Sonya says

    Hi! I use a zippered 3-ring binder (zippered to keep my kids from accidentally knocking it over and having coupons fly everywhere!) with 4×6 photo sheet inserts. I use mini address labels on the top left of each photo pocket and I sort in this way: (these are my 3 broad categories)
    1) grocery items
    2) personal care items (including vitamins and medicine)
    3) household items (cleaning supplies, batteries, toilet paper)

    My binder came with 3 plastic subject dividers with little plastic pockets attached. That’s where I keep my “to be filed” coupons. So after the first divider I sort my grocery coupons. I start with dry ingredients and I try to organize it in the pattern that I actually shop (coffee, cereal, misc. breakfast items, pantry items, refrigerated sides, meats, dairy, frozen sides, etc). My second divider is for personal care items and I sort similarly (facial care, body care, hair care, dental care, etc).

    Just try and find a system that works well with how you already think or categorize the item in your own mind, and one that can be adjusted easily. :)

    Oh, and I file the store coupons in with my other stuff (if I receive a catalina for soy milk I file it under dairy), that way I don’t have to go through more stacks than necessary…and in the end it’s what works for me. But I do keep my pharmacy bucks (ECBs, RRs, +Ups) in my wallet, like cash. HTH!

    One more thing (haha), since I shop with my two kids in tow I prepare my list ahead of time and paper clip my coupons to each list. If I think about it, I’ll bring my binder with me and leave it in the car, but it’s usually not prudent for me to bring it in the store with me because my youngest still rides in the shopping cart. (It gets to be too much for me to handle safely – holding hands, purse, AND binder. Sheesh!)

  13. karen says

    i use a mini accordion that i bought at the dollar store, with separate categories. I sit down every tues/wed when the weekly adds come out an and circle stuff i need make a list then i go through my coupons (dont do this much anymore i’ve become pretty familiar with what i have) i pull them out every coupons i think i will need put it in the front of binder and make a note on my list so that i remember to use my coupons

    • says

      I use this with my coupons. My thing is I forget to pick them up before I get out the door or if I see what I need then I just get it so I wont have to come back another time. And I never get anything for free or near free like you see on tv.

    • Ashley M says

      My couponizer just came in yesterday. I’m new to this coupon thing. Used it today for the first time and it was well worth the money! Saved almost 14 dollars on a trip to Target. So excited to start saving!

  14. Debbie Davis says

    I like your method using the box and index cards. I tried the binder and found it too time consuming. As always thank you for all you do.

  15. says

    I’ve been couponing for a little over a year, have a $400 budget for all groceries and household items and am a SAHM with one son. I don’t have time to hit every store every week nor do I take the time to find many of my own deals. I count on a number of blogs that I follow via google reader to find the deals for me and do the matchups. I find that works well for me but there are some items we buy that rarely go on good sale or are perishable so those are the deals I just hit one store for and those are the only coupons I generally carry around with me at all times.

    Here’s what works for me:

    1) I have a small organizer that fits comfortably in my purse which contains all the coupons for the products I know we’ll likely buy organized into sheets of business card holder pages (3 to a page, that’s how small my organizer is) in alphabetical order by manufacturer. This stays in my purse at all times . . . my purse isn’t huge but it also isn’t tiny, that’s just not reasonable anymore now that I have a kiddo.

    2) I have a small coupon file with maybe 10 compartments where I move my planned shopping trip coupons into at the start of each week. I sit down with my store ads and cut out all the weekly coupons I might use and tuck them in the appropriate store-labeled slot of my coupon folder. Then when I get a chance to plan out a store trip using the blogs online, I clip and move the appropriate coupons to the correct store slot as well.

    3) I have a file box where I store all my Red Plum and Smart Source inserts by week. I only clip out what I know I’ll likely use so everything else just gets filed within their inserts. I keep 3 months at a time in that box. At the back of the box is one hanging folder for Wednesday ads and another for Sunday ads.

    For things like Bed Bath and Beyond coupons, I just throw those in a basket. Being on such a tight budget means I don’t ever just pop into BB&B anymore, ever trip is planned and budgeted for. As a result, I know I can just dig out the necessary store coupons from the basket.

    I hope this helps, it has worked great for me. I went through several versions of this before I settled on this system but now I know where everything is and it’s quick, easy, and compact.

  16. Robyn says

    I have a excel spreadsheet that I keep track of my coupons. I have a different spreadsheet for each category (personal, home, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and extras) I enter coupon name, worth, expiration date and date used. I then have the same categories labeled in my wallet sized tote that I bought at wal mart for 3.88. It looks like a wallet but, it is plastic and has several dividers. I have my coupons in ABC order so, it is very easy to find what I need especially, in those unexpected times I find deals at the store.

  17. Lindsay says

    I am currently using a filing system, where I file the inserts by date, and then clip when I am ready to use. This works well for weekly sales, however I can’t catch the deals that people post about that they have found when they go in a store and catch something on clearance.

  18. Shari C says

    Pick the version that works for you, ie envelopes, folders, baseball card holder, etc…then either write out or type out in either ABC or by isle what coupons you have, their exp date & their worth (spreadsheet would be ideal for this) and have a print out in the front of your coupons, so as you shop you can put a check next to the coupons you are going to use. Then just before you check out, go thru and collect the coupons you are using and you will have them all there. This way you don’t have to continue flipping thru what you have to see if you have what you need :)
    Happy Couponing! :)

  19. says

    I am new to organized couponing. I use a binder with baseball card holders, organized ABC by manufacturer (except for a few items, they just go in by product name vs. manufacturer). Since I shop at the commissary also, I have a separate section for commissary only coupons and also for bogo or free item coupons. When I went to the commissary this time, I had a heck of a time flipping through to check for coupons to use with unadvertised specials, so I like the idea of the spreadsheet also. Flipping is really only frustrating when you don’t have the coupon in the end and you have to pass on the product. :-)
    It took me a few tries to get my coupons together and figure out a system that worked for me and one where I could go right to my coupons quickly, but it did take time to get together. Now that it is together, it’s super quick to just clip and file and if I don’t feel like filing after clipping, I have a small accordion organizer where I just stash them all until I get around to filing.

    I also keep my expired coupons to send to overseas commissaries. This is still a work in progress, but they get filed into my accordion file also.

    • says

      I forgot to mention that for each letter I have two (sometimes more) sheets. The front sheet is for food items, the back sheet is for non-food items like cleaning supplies or health and beauty items.

  20. Rose says

    can some of you leave pics? i’m new too these and not familiar with some of the things mentioned, i’d love to see your collections!

  21. Pat says

    There’s no way I’m hauling a huge binder to the stores. I file them in a plastic shoebox size box, that pulls out of a plastic holder. (The Container Store, search for “Clear Shoe Drawers”, of course, I bought mine at a thrift store for cheap) I use 4 x 6 index dividers and cut the bottom off about 1 inch so they fit. Then I label the categories. I have one box for grocery, one for nonfoods. The 2 boxes stack one on top of the other and they fit in my antique desk. When I make up my shopping lists for the week, I have a small quilted purse that I use for all my lists for that week. I put each store’s lists/coupons in a business sized envelope inside the little purse. I had to shop around (thrift store of course) to find the perfect sized purse so the envelopes fit inside just perfect.
    This works best for me.

  22. Amanda says

    I use a 4 x 6 picture album. It has about 200 pages with 2 slots per page. Find that I have plenty of room and it is super easy to get my coupons out. I then divided my album into sections with tabs based on locations at the stores. Example, I have a produce, dairy, meats, etc… It takes me no time at all to flip over and find my coupons.

  23. Debbie says

    I have been couponing for 6 months now. I started out with the notebook and baseball card holders but it got so huge (I am a bit obsessive I admit and printed and cut everything just in case) My notebook exploded and fell apart. I still print a lot of coupons and cutting all the Sunday paper coupons takes way too long and I work fulltime. I now keep the SS and RP, etc coupons sorted by date in hanging folders in a box. I read several blogs and can pull the ads for match-ups. I also have a plastic box with dividers and a handle on top (about the size of a shoe box) that all my printed coupons are sorted in. I also put coupons I cut from the Sunday ads that I know I will use in there. I do match-ups for the Stores I will be shopping at a couple times a week then pull the coupons along with a list (I usually prepare an excel spreadsheet so I can keep to a budget). We usually hit several stores on Sunday so I have several envelopes with the list and coupons ready to go for each. I sometimes miss out on unadvertised specials but it saves time from cutting all the ads and carrying the huge binder. Last weekend I did start carrying my shoebox of coupons again just in case instead of just my envelopes.

    The blogs are so helpful. You all are lifesavers. I have 10 people in my house now (my young adult children brought home their friends to live with us as well YIKES — lol). Thank goodness for coupons!!!

  24. Deana says

    I use my old Franklin Covey Planner Binder with the tabs that zip up inside. It works great. It has a place that was suppoosed to hold business cards that I use to keep my store cards. I have a built in calculator and a pen holder.

  25. Amy S. says

    I am a Binder girl .. I use the baseball card holders and also a few photo holders for the bigger coupons. I file by alphabetical order by manufacturer.

    I get multiple inserts, but only clip the ones I know I will use. I then file the inserts by date in an accordion folder. Only been couponing for a few weeks and have saved so much! : )

  26. Valeesha says

    I use the 3 ring zip binder method. I use the baseball card plastic pocketed pages to hold the coupons. I have it separated into catagories.. health, cleaning,dairy, etc. I also have pocket tabbed pages in the back for individual store coupons like for Kroger or Target or the register rewards from CVS or Walgreens. I started out with envelopes then I had too many coupons jammed into them and it became counterprodyuctive for me. This way i have room and i can clearly see all the coupons in the store. I just zip open my binder when I arrive and begin shopping. I will try to make a list ahead of time and match up coupons. It’s a great way to stay organized and as long as I keep up with the weekly coupons I can easily find what I need. I also have a pouch for scissors, pens and a calculator. If I find a good coupon I know I wont use I clip it anyway and leave it on the shelf.

  27. Tracy Meighan says

    Since my recycling place where you could take your newspapers and find lots of the Sunday coupons CLOSED! Oh no! I don’t have too many coupons anymore. I have the binder and the baseball card holders and I just have it in a tote type bag to carry in over my shoulder. Now, however, I am using some of the photo holder books from the 99 cents store. They have lots of pockets and I have labels on the plastic with what coupons are in the pocket. I have a rubber band around it so they coupons don’t go flying. It firs right in my purse. This is a great option if you only have a limited amount of coupons. My mommy came up with this idea and it’s been working great for me. Hope this helps!

  28. Naomi says

    I have a simple system that really works for me, and it doesn’t take too long. since I know what I am willing to buy and not buy, I just go through every week and take a few minutes to clip all the coupons I want out of the ads. I am willing to spend a bit of time clipping things I may not buy, just bc if I get them on a good enough sale (ie stacked w/ store coupons and a sale which would make them free or almost free). Then I can just throw away what I know I will not purchase (items we never buy, don’t like/need/etc.). So I don’t keep all the inserts, bc it’s too much of a mess for me.

    Then for the coupons I’ve clipped: I keep a small expandable file. I label each section: food, household items, misc, baby, etc. In each section, I keep a set of alphabetized envelopes, ie my ‘food’ pocket contains the envelopes I have labeled: breads/crackers, cereal/breakfast, dairy, drinks/liquids, frozen, meats, sauces/toppings/spreads, snacks, and vegetables. Inside of each envelope, I keep similar items in groups. I go through each envelope monthly and discard expired coupons, but I do make sure the coupon I want to use for a particular trip is not expired before I go to use it. I figure since I’m adding to my envelopes anyway, it’s not too much trouble to go through once/mo. and throw out what I can’t use. Then I don’t have to keep them organized by dates (takes too much time w/ this system, not worth it).

    I also have a pocket labeled: ‘today’, literally for that day’s shopping trip. When I have sorted my coupons for a particular shopping trip, I transfer them into envelopes for the store/s I will be going to that day, hence the label ‘today'(for example: CVS, Target, Meijer, Walgreens). This way, I can grab those envelopes and go, knowing I will have everything I need for that trip. I do also bring along my coupon file to most trips, in case I find any unadvertised sales on items for which I have coupons. It only takes a minute to go through and pluck them from their proper place when I need them.

  29. Kay says

    Ive always used a clear plastic shoe box with a locking lid (Target has cute ones) to file my coupons by category. I use large index cards for dividers and stick a tab on each (color coded)so I can flip through easily. The longer shape of the box fits PERFECTLY in the buggy seat, so I can always take it into any store, lets me store a lot of coupons and divide them in more specific ways (peanut butter n jelly, milk and juice, breads, etc.) You have to cut them out, but it saves a lot of time in the store and all u have to do is flip n check for one. People are always stopping and saying “Wow, I really need to do that!” Hope this helps someone. AND if u have older kids, recruit them to cut out, my daughter loves doing this.

  30. Maryann says

    I just started using a 3 ring binder with the 8 1/2 x 11 incert.

    The 1st one is empty.. I keep my weekly flyers in there as well as the coupons for the items on sale that week.

    I have the rest broken down into: “food items”, household in one, health and beauty, Pets (for the shelter if they work out to be free!), Out to eat, and then other shopping.

    I can also keep loose paper in for my list, recipes ect…

  31. Suzanne says

    Don’t forget that Fry’s/Kroeger will accept other competitor coupons now, so no need to run around to various stores for the sale price! Weirdly enough, I organize my coupons by the set up of my store in just an envelope and go through the store in that order. Guess that’s how it works when you’ve frequented the same place for 11+ years, right?! My daughter-in-law is sending me an organizer to use, so will use that too!

  32. Lorilynn627 says

    Love the idea of isle by isle that is awesome.
    Most stores will give you a map of the store if you stop at the courtesy counter. That would make it easier to figure out where to put what.

  33. RheaJean says

    I was lost at first and couldnt think of a way to keep up with all my coups! Now, I have a photo box I found on sale some where! I used manilla folders that I cut to fit with the tabs up and labled them to my liking (canned goods, frozen food, pets, out to eat, chips, etc) and I clip everything and put them where they belong. I have a misc. section for those coups that just dont seem to belong in any one category! I purchase 4 papers and have 1 delivered. I cut out the 4 groups and save one in a binder with the date so I can go back and search for something specific if I need to. The manilla folders I cut left the folded part intact to make “mini folders” I use those to write my list on, and attach my coups to with paper clips. I take my photo box with me to the store also because it is small enough to fit in the basket! I make notse on my “mini folders” and always write my before coups and after coups total so I know exactly how much I saved! This system seems to be working for me so far, but you really have to try to find what works best for you and just go with it! Best of luck!!!

  34. Christine says

    I love hearing how everyone’s system works for them. It seriously varies on how much time you have and how much time you want to invest. Me personally I use a coupon bag that i bought online. I absolutely love it and will never go back to the binder. (i don’t like the attention the binder gave me) I bought it from a shop on etsy called sewdesirable and here’s a link to her shop if any are interested http://www.etsy.com/shop/SewDesirable

  35. Rose clark says

    I save all the envelopes from all my junk mail , I like to do quick orders from all the stores I pass. Each envelope says what store and what I’m buying with the matching coupons inside. It’s quick and easy. The inserts file by dat like everyone else.

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