Welcome Money Savers!
Many of you use coupons to save money and you know that I love using my coupons, especially at CVS where I can get things for free.
Every coupon user has a different method of organizing coupons and I have gotten a few emails asking how I organize my coupons.
Now this method might not work for you but here is what I have done to simplify my coupons.
I have the paper delivered to me so I just get ready on Sunday mornings before I go to church. I have an idea of the kinds of coupons I would like to use so I just ignore the others.
I do not need coupons for the following items for example:
I ignore those coupons and do not even waste time cutting them. I move on to the coupons that I use on a regular basis like:
These are the coupons that I know I use all the time so I cut them. I will also cut some coupons for things that I like but do not purchase every week like the coupons for laughing cow cheese.
I have two small photo albums that I got from WalMart for $1 each. Those are the best way I have found to store my coupons because they are small, portable and easy to flip through.
They fit into my purse so I can carry the entire book with me when shopping in case I see something that I forgot to add to the list.
The Red album contains personal care items while the Pink album contains food and household items.
The pink album also has a few dedicated pages at the front of it for certain items:
WalMart Shopping list and coupons (updated as I go)
CVS extra bucks (organized by expiry date)
CVS Shopping 1
CVS Shopping 2
CVS coupons (printed from the magic red machine in the store)
I decided to keep an entire album for personal care items since there are so many of them and I get so many coupons. This includes things like:
I used to only have the pink album for all coupons but it got crowded after a while and I thought it was better to have two so that they looked neater.
I labeled each page with the type of coupon (see categories above) and when I cut the coupons I place them all in the page that they fit into. I have a lot more categories than were listed above so that all my pages contain only one kind of coupon.
I sit on the floor with the coupon inserts and clear some room around me on the floor so that I can spread out the coupons as I cut them.
Some couponers (people who cut coupons) get multiple issues of the paper so that they can have double or triple coupons. I only get one issue of the paper because I don’t really want to deal with all of that.
If there is an extreme case of something that I really want that is FREE at CVS then I might get a second set of coupons IF I have checked the sales fliers in advance.
I go through each page and when I see something that I am interested in then I will cut the coupon.
I skip the coupons for things like baby food or denture cream since I have no use for those items. I place all the coupons in a stack on the floor as I cut them according to the category they belong to.
File By Type
I used to file the coupons by date under each page but quickly gave up on that. This is because sometimes I might need to use a coupon that expires three months from now on a sale that is coming up next week.
I simply place all the coupons in the assigned page and then when the ad previews come out I go through the pages of the items that I am interested in.
I have two main sites that I check for previews of CVS ads so that I will know what is on sale and what has ECBs. For some reason I do not check the WalMart sales even though I do most of my shopping there.
Make Shopping List
WalMart: I keep a running list of things that I need on a writing pad (that I got for FREE by going to a job fair) so that I know in advance what I need to buy. If I remember that I have a coupon for that item then I move it from its category page to the WalMart shopping page in the pink album. Otherwise I will just do this on the morning when I decide to go shopping.
CVS: I make my CVS list on the computer since I have a spreadsheet that tracks the best use of my ECBs. I print the lists off and they have the date at the top so that I know which ad they refer to.
I preview the ads and list all the items that are totally free after ECBs on the next upcoming sale. If I have coupons for those items I put them in one of the CVS shopping pages and move on to the items that are not totally free but still give ECBs back. I pull the coupons for those items as well and put them on the CVS shopping page.
I then repeat the process for the second next upcoming sale so that I always have two sale dates prepped with coupons. I may add more coupons to the pages as I get more coupons each Sunday from the paper or when I get coupons from the magazines I subscribe to.
Shop and Save
I am now ready to go shopping on Sunday because the WalMart page and the CVS page both have a shopping list (with stars next to the coupon’able’ items on the Wally list) and a batch of coupons.
I have started something new this year where I will track all the money I saved by using coupons just to see how much I have saved.
At the end of every month I go through each page and removed the expired coupons. Some coupons expire during the middle of the month but most expire at the end of the month.
If I find any coupons that are expired I simply toss them in the trash at the end of the month to make way for the new batch that is sure to come at the beginning of the month.
So that is my way of organizing my coupons and it works for me. How do you organize your coupons?
Everyone can save money in small and seemingly insignificant areas if you know how and where to do it.
These are all great ideas
Great tips! I’ll be coming back to learn more about saving money!
I’ve got one of those little accordion folders, but it’s only got about 10 slots. I picked up another at a dollar store so I can maybe get more specific for products I get a lot of coupons for – like right now I have “toiletries”, which includes deodorant, shower gel, razors, etc. which are things that have a lot of brands and a lot of coupons. I’m just not sure how much time I want to devote to “coupon admin”.
MoneyMateKate’s last blog post..Rite Aid Couponics
Well you don’t have to devote a LOT of time to it….but investing the time up front makes it easier in the end.
It took time to set up each page for different items but now on a Sunday I take about 20 minutes in all from cutting out the coupons to placing them in the slots.
I have also gotten my students to cut them for me in the past when they needed a job to do to get bonus points and I had nothing else to give them. 🙂
I have become a devoted reader of your blog! I am very excited to be starting my coupon-ing/CVS-ing soon.
I was wondering if you would be so kind as to list all of your categories in each of your coupon books? I am hoping that will help me with organizing mine.
Have a good one!
– Briar Rose
This is a great idea. I love the idea of separate photo albums for personal items, etc. I am certainly going to try this!
Another item I learned this last year helps me with my coupon “spending”. Every 12 weeks or so, the same items rotate to go on sale. Most of the time coupons are brought out to correspond with the timing. The point is to save as much $$ as possible, so I try not to use a coupon unless the item is on sale as well. I keep a small stockpile of items on hand so that I don’t run out before it goes on sale again. So I save by 1) buying it only on sale and 2) saving more by using the coupon when it’s on sale.
I found this tactic at the site called “The Grocery Game”. There is also another site called “A Full Cup”. Hope this helps!
This is great idea!! Right now I have all my coupons in a large binder, but I’m thinking that smaller photo albums will be easier to take into the store.
Janet’s last blog post..TwitterFeed
very good info about saving money..dropped ec too!
I love coupons too. You can even use them online to play games and get extra credits. My main tip is to use them when I already need the product – not just because it is a good deal.
I love how I come to your site empty and leave full of information. I’d definitely do the album thingy where you organize your coupons into an album that fits your purse. Thanks for sharing this.