Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday: Coupon Organizer

It's Wednesday again - time for another "Works for Me!" tip, inspired by the blog carnival/series at We are THAT Family. This week's special organizing-themed Works for Me Wednesday carnival/tips can be found here.

If you're a coupon user, you probably have an organizational system in place. Here's how we work our systems:

Mel: I use a 12-pocket coupon organizer found at Wal-Mart. It was easy to label the pockets according to the categories that work for me, and it's easy to change them if I need to. I sort the coupons within each category by expiration date, so cleaning out expired coupons is a snap. It is small enough to fit in my purse and large enough to store all my necessities. Total cost was around $5. Total convenience has been priceless!

A.: I also use one of these small organizers. As mentioned in last week's WFMW coupon clipping post, this is where you'll find my "definitely will use" coupons that I harvest in my initial go-through of the inserts - sorted by relevant-to-me store sections like "produce", "rice/pasta", "baking", "soups", "cereals/oatmeal/granola bars", etc. If I have multiple copies of an insert, I may only initially clip one or two copies of a given coupon that catch my eye, and come back to the other inserts later if I need additional copies.

I file the "harvested" inserts away in a portable file folder box - similar to this one. Inside it I have hanging files - each labeled with the date of a past set of inserts (08/02, 08/16, 08/23, 08/30, etc.). My "gone through" inserts are filed away by date, so that if I discover a great matchup later, I can easily find the relevant insert(s) and clip exactly what I need.

As you can see from this week's Giant run, having my smaller coupon envelope prepopulated with some "will use" and higher-value coupons enabled me to pick up some freebies and cheapies on the fly. Now that I know how cheaply I can get some of these items, I will go back through my filed inserts to find more copies of the same coupons that netted these deals in case I can squeeze another run in before the sale prices switch over on Friday.

What coupon organization systems or tools work for you? We'd love to hear your comments.
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Ebates and Swagbucks are both easy ways to earn rewards while doing what you normally do - web-searching through Google and shopping for bargains online!

2 comments:

Carissa Houston said...

I started alphabetizing my coupons within each category; it has saved me loads of time -- no more rifling through stacks looking for the right coupons.

frugalfriends said...

Thanks for sharing what works for you!
I have smaller fabric envelopes/pouches w/ dividers from my grandmother that I put my "plan-to-use-on-this-shopping-trip" coupons in and I have a big honkin' binder with a lot of my other coupons like the one pictured on this blog: http://daveandrachel.blogspot.com/2007/02/coupon-lady-strikes-again.html
I also keep a hanging file of all my extra coupon inserts intact, and try to remember to write the date on the cover with a sharpie pen, so I can reference it later when other frugal bloggers post great coupon match-ups/deal scenarios.
Laura