Here is how I clip and organize my coupons to get ready for a grocery shopping trip!
I (try to) sit down and cut my coupons weekly. I have found that about 30 minutes to an hour weekly gives me enough time to stay caught up with clipping my coupons. Then, filing them away takes me another 30 minutes or so. I do this usually at night after my kids are asleep.
There are many methods for storing your coupons, and different ones work for each person. I have one friend who cuts every coupon and files them in a baseball card storage binder. I have another friend who never cuts them at all but saves her whole inserts and files them by date in hanging folders. I have another friend who only clips very specific brands and keeps them in a cookie jar in her kitchen (then she passes her picked-through inserts to me, which I very gratefully accept). A neighbor of mine cuts out maybe two coupons and then passes her inserts to me, too (she only goes for the high fiber, low fat, or organic/whole foods coupons and I appreciate getting her leftover inserts too) – she keeps her coupons in her wallet. Really you should just find what works best for you! My method may or may not be the best method for you, and that’s ok.
Here’s what I do:
I always cut out my favorite things to buy, and I save them in a little file folder that’s always kept in my purse. The things you’ll usually find in my coupon folder are things like Curel body lotion, Aveeno baby lotion, Herbal Essences shampoo, Nice ‘n Easy haircolor, baby wipes and diapers, Angel Soft toilet paper, rice, tomato soup, macaroni and cheese, pizza, Secret deodorant, and other stuff that I always buy. I usually even know approximately how many of each coupon I have in there at any given time, LOL. Yes, it makes my purse heavier (because it’s packed) – but I always have them on hand.
I used to have it arranged by store aisles, and it had 12 sections, labeled as such:
- personal care (stuff like deodorant, shave gel, and Kotex, etc…)
- household & non-grocery (toilet paper, paper towels, cat litter, etc.)
- breakfast (cereal, Poptarts, cereal bars, nutrition bars and shakes, etc)
- bottled/canned (juice, canned vegetables, apple sauce, etc)
- packaged (Hamburger helper, pasta, rice, potato chips, etc)
- store-specific (my CVS ECB, rainchecks, catalinas, etc…)
I have my folder labeled alphabetically now. Under “B” goes anything Baby; under “A” goes “Angel Soft,” etc. I have found that this method works better for me now. Hey, you’ll find that certain things work for you over time, and certain things don’t!
One thing I’ve learned to do is to go ahead and cut and file my printable coupons as well. I cut them all at once (you can often stack several pages together and cut more than one sheet at a time). Then I use a dry erase marker to write the alphabet on my tiled kitchen table. I sort them faster and easier that way (or I have my 9 year-old do it for me). Then, I place the stacks into my file folder, where they can easily be found when I need them.
Then, after I’ve cut out my favorites, and filed away my printables, I save and store the whole inserts. I place the inserts into file folders labeled by week, and store them in a hanging file inside a tote bag. This totebag stays within easy access for when I need them. When I find out from a weekly matchup list that I can get a product for free or really cheap (and it’s not an item I have already clipped, perhaps not an item I would normally purchase but since it’s free/cheap I will) – then I can quickly and easily find the coupon, clip it, and take it with me to the store.