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Quick and Easy Coupon Organization

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Beginner’s Guide to Coupons | Couponing Tips | Couponing for Beginner | Extreme Couponing | Couponing Secrets | Couponing Hacks | Couponing For Dummies | Coupon Basics

Whenever people find out that I use coupons–either from reading this blog, or just seeing me in action at the grocery store, there is one comment I hear more than anything else:

I would LOVE to use coupons, but I just don’t have time for all that clipping and sorting.”

But today I’m going to let you in on a little secret.  Okay, well, maybe it’s not a secret, per se. In fact, I’ve talked about it multiple times before.  Whether you are just getting started or have been using coupons for years, there is a very simple method of coupon organization that can literally save you hours of time every week.  But rather than write about it once again, I decided I would show you what I’m talking about.

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I know you’ll be very excited to hear that I made a little video.

Don’t worry, it is pretty short.

Beginner’s Guide to Coupons | Couponing Tips | Couponing for Beginner | Extreme Couponing | Couponing Secrets | Couponing Hacks | Couponing For Dummies | Coupon BasicsThis file method of coupon organization is so fast & easy to keep organized that I still can’t believe not everyone uses it.  (You can find this portable file box similar to the one I use HERE.)

That said,  please don’t misunderstand me and think that this is the ONLY way to organize your coupons.  It’s not.  Everyone’s brain works a little differently, and everyone needs to find the system that works best for them.

Beginner’s Guide to Coupons | Couponing Tips | Couponing for Beginner | Extreme Couponing | Couponing Secrets | Couponing Hacks | Couponing For Dummies | Coupon BasicsThere are a lot of couponers who use a binder system.   I have nothing against binders, and there are lots of great options available.  (Like this Keep Calm and Coupon On one–so cute!)  Even so, I don’t normally use a coupon binder because I find it to be a lot more time-consuming than the filing system.  That said,  I would be remiss not to acknowledge that experienced couponers who use the binder system probably end up getting some better deals, especially on unadvertised specials and clearance items.

But I still prefer the filing system, and here is why:

  • I like to save money, but I also don’t have unlimited time.  The filing method of organization allows me to still see significant savings but takes a very minimal amount of time and effort to keep organized.
  • I get enough great deals on almost everything that missing out on a few unadvertised specials or clearance items won’t make a huge difference to my bottom line.
  • I don’t have extra time to spend looking for unadvertised or clearance items anyway.  When I go to the store, I like to get in, grab what’s on my list (and only what’s on my list) and get out.  I bring only the coupons I need for that specific trip.

For printing coupons, I strongly recommend investing in a black & white laser printer (if you currently are using an ink jet printer.)  It will pay for itself within just a few months.  I use an older version of the Brother HL-L2300D Black & White Printer, which I purchased for less than $100 and have been very happy with it so far.

If you are just starting out, you should be prepared for your organization system to change along the way in order to suit your own needs. In fact, you might even find that it is possible to cut your grocery bill in half without using coupons at all!  That’s okay.  Ultimately you just need to find what works for you & your family.

 

Beginner’s Guide to Coupons | Couponing Tips | Couponing for Beginner | Extreme Couponing | Couponing Secrets | Couponing Hacks | Couponing For Dummies | Coupon Basics

34 Comments

  1. January 13 at 03:01AM

    Wonderful tutorial! And I think it is great to let everyone know that their method will most likely change…I’m in the process right now of changing to a system like this! Thanks for the tips!

  2. January 13 at 07:17PM

    I do the file thing too, though I keep mine in a filing cabinet, not a box. Here’s a tip about throwing out the old inserts: instead of reading through each one to see if anything is still good, I do a search of the coupon database. For instance, if I were throwing away the insert from October 3rd, I’d search on 10-03-10. If there’s a coupon I want, I can more easily flip through and find it, but if there isn’t, then I can just throw them away without a second look.

    — Laura from Frugal Follies

    • Gloria
      November 15 at 12:17PM

      What do you mean by coupon database? Is it a database that you have to create yourself or is it an online database type thing? Please explain. Thank you!

      • Anonymous
        February 13 at 02:05AM

        You can google coupon database, people maintain them it’s a search engine to find valid coupons for what you want to buy.

  3. Tristan
    March 31 at 10:28PM

    I stumbled across your videos on YouTube and found your instructions great! I had started couponing, but got burned out because of trying to hit every deal (like you said) and also being too busy with school. I never had a good way to organize my coupons, but your system makes A LOT of sense to me. As a SAHM, I don’t have a lot of time to cut out each coupon with the hopes that I can use it later. Thanks for showing an easy way to organize all those inserts 🙂

  4. Melissa
    May 5 at 02:09AM

    My question is, how do you label your weeks for the inserts? Do you label them by the date of the week? Because you would have to change them once a week. Or is it more like “week 1, week 2…” etc.?

    • Ruth
      May 5 at 02:22AM

      Definitely label them by date! I use a label maker so that I can peel off the old label when it comes time to re-use a folder. You will be lost if you don’t put a date on them because you won’t have any way of looking them up.

      • Melissa
        May 6 at 05:43AM

        Alright, thank you.

      • Betty819
        April 28 at 09:44AM

        Ruth,
        I found some eraseable labels at my office supply place that you can just write on and you probably wouldn’t have to use the label maker.

  5. Riley
    May 10 at 02:58AM

    Live the videos…where did you buy the brother HL-2140 and the toner cartidge?

  6. Riley
    May 10 at 02:59AM

    Love the videos…where did you buy the brother HL-2140 laser priner and the toner cartidge?

  7. May 29 at 02:38PM

    Hi there! I am LOVING your website!!!! I have JUST begun to research extreme couponing and my biggest hurdle is how to organize. I am OCD when it comes to organization! Because I haven’t really started yet, I’m a bit lost, so forgive me my ignorance.
    So here’s what I gathered from your video, and please correct me if I’m wrong.
    Today is Sunday, May 29th. So if I do the filing system, my first folder would be 5/29. I will put the inserts from today’s paper(s) in this folder. Then I WON’T do anything with them. Next week, I’ll put the paper inserts in the folder labeled 6/5, and so on. After doing this for 8 weeks (and not using any of the coupons I’ve been filing?) I come back to 5/29 and see if any haven’t expired already and use them. I guess my confusion is when to go through the folder of inserts. Should I go through the week’s before when I’m putting in the new week’s inserts? I guess that’s personal preference?
    I’m sorry for the novel! I just want to get it down right off the bat!
    Again, WONDERFUL blog!!! Keep it up!
    Winter

    • Ruth
      May 29 at 03:13PM

      Well, first of all, don’t buy any papers this week because there are no coupon inserts on holiday weekends. But next week you can go ahead and start your first week. You WILL use the coupons–some possibly even right away–as you need them, but only after making your shopping list (which you can do over at http://www.savingwellspendingless.com, my sister coupon matchup site.) The coupon matchups will tell you what date the coupon came out so you will know where to find it. For more detailed information, check out weeks 1 & 2 of the LWSL Beginner’s Guide to Coupons (find it above under Coupons 101).

      • May 29 at 07:06PM

        Thanks for taking the time to reply! And thank you for your additional help! Can’t wait to get started!

  8. Destiny
    June 21 at 10:40PM

    hi i have been watching the show of extreme couponing and been wanting to do it. Just the thought of it over whelmed me. So today i did alot of searching online and writing down ideas and how tos. I have come across yours and its the only one thats doing step by step… like down to the T! 🙂 I thank you for that! I was just trying to better understand your way of the filing and such. I tried to listen to your video but I am hearing impaired and its very hard for me to understand what you are saying. It isn’t coming in clear for me. Would you, when you have time, write the steps for me so I know what i am doing? 🙂 So while I am waiting, i will continue to read and do the steps. thanks so much and looking forword to saving money for our new family and not have to struggle from paycheck to paycheck. 🙂

  9. Robert
    January 17 at 09:42AM

    THANK YOU SO MUCH! Your time and effort is so helpfull in this very sometimes confusing process. I to am just getting started and you have made this system so easy to understand. Keep up the great work and I look foward to seeing more ideas and postings on your site.

  10. Linda
    February 3 at 10:42AM

    Ruth, I have searched the internet for help on this also and am so glad I found your site today. My husband and I are seniors on pension and social security. Additionally I have a son who is starting over after a divorce and job loss. I want to coupon to help us both out. I’m not concerned with huge bunkers of grocery items as shown on TV but things like paper goods, hygiene items and essentials that store well would really help us. I’m going out today to get the organizational items you refer to and get started. Thanks for helping this “old lady” learn to live well and spend less.

  11. tracy bieber
    April 14 at 03:03PM

    I’m a single, low income mom in buffalo NY .I logged on to your couponing for beginners and was really excited to get started but couldn’t view the video. I cannot see the strategy , and you don’t explain it without the video . What to do? Don’t know why I can’t open the video? Also, in buffalo NY and we only get crappy coupons that require you to buy 3 or more of something for a mere 25¢ off. Also, most stores have eliminated the double coupon system. Seriously, NY is a rip off food state. A normal trip to the store ratio is one bag of groceries=$100. Can you suggest a few tips for my overpriced grocery store state? Unfortunately, moving is not an option. Thank you . Also, I’m interested in giving back to food banks etc. How do I start this process?

  12. sarah bear
    June 11 at 06:40PM

    hi ruth! i’m 19 and a college sophomore looking into couponing to help keep me on my budget, i love your website it’s incredibly easy to follow for someone who’s never even made a weekly meal plan. i’m moving into an apartment soon so my parents wont be footing the grocery bill. if you have any tips for college savings i’d appreciate the extra advice!(:

    • Ruth Soukup
      June 12 at 07:13AM

      That is a great idea for a blog post Sarah! I will see what I can do! 🙂

  13. jen
    July 31 at 02:51PM

    WHERE CAN I FIND YOUR PRINTABLE SHOPPING LIST? I’M DOING THE COUPON STARTER GUIDE AND I SAW THAT YOU SAID TO USE IT BUT I CANT SEE TO FIND IT.
    THANKS JEN

  14. Rocio
    January 19 at 05:12PM

    I am just starting on doing this coupon saving and I was wondering on how do you categorize your coupon book such as example by items for each room in the house or by how?

  15. Jana
    February 21 at 07:57PM

    I have been watching extreme coupon shows on tv, researching coupon websites for the past 3weeks; and am eager to start learning the process but do not know where to start. I have purchased 30 different binders(1 for each different product). And have purchased several different local newspapers, but they do not have that many coupons in them. And those coupons I will never use. I have researched many different website, with no such luck on finding the coupons i need. I am wanting to try and save money on my personal groceries and also try to start a stock pile. Can anyone direct me in the right direction?

  16. July 31 at 03:37PM

    Hey I know this is off topic but I was wondering if you knew of
    any widgets I could add to my blog that automatically tweet my
    newest twitter updates. I’ve been looking for a plug-in like
    this for quite some time and was hoping maybe you would have
    some experience with something like this. Please let
    me know if you run into anything. I truly enjoy reading your blog and
    I look forward to your nnew updates.

  17. Miranda
    April 13 at 11:09AM

    I’m new to couponing.. Just starting to collect my coupons. When printing from sites like coupons.com, do you print all the coupons available or just the ones you think you might use?! Also how often do the coupons on those sites change?! Didn’t know how often you print them.

  18. Karen
    January 26 at 09:30AM

    It says the video is not available in my country, but I live in the United States.

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