Saturday, November 2, 2013

How to organize your coupons, QUICKLY.

This is a picture of the 'before' mess. Maybe it doesn't look too bad, but that drawer is stuffed full of inserts that I didn't have time to deal with this summer because I was too busy being nauseated. It happens. BUT it only took about an hour to get everything organized and back on track.

I don't do it often enough, but I'm actually pretty great at organizing. Maybe it's my Type A side, maybe it's because, as I tell the Hubster often to tease him, I'm just spacialy gifted. Whatever it is, I feel comfortable telling you that this is the EASIEST, BEST, MOST EFFICIENT WAY to organize your coupon stash. I have tried many methods, this is by far the best.

First you need a GOOD binder. They are not all created equally. Get yourself one by Case-It. You will not regret it (and they aren't paying me, this is my honest opinion). Here's why:

  • They don't fall apart. They are covered in a tough as nails nylon material that takes a beating.
  • THEY ZIP CLOSED. So if you drop your binder, your coupon stash stays put.
  • They have a handle and a carrying strap. On shopping day, I leave my purse at home. All I need is my debit card and my binder. The End.
  • They have a built in file, pencil case, mesh pocket and two zipped pouches. More ways to be organized.

Case-it binders are sold at Target, Staples and online. Target has great prices on the basic model, which is really all you need. They do have 'coupon binders' on their website, but you don't need it because you won't be clipping and sorting.

The first page in my binder has my name and phone number on it, and lives in a sheet protector. Right after that are some cheat sheets a friend gave me listing common groceries and 3 and 6 month pricing so you know when you are looking at a stock up deal. If someone has an online source for this please let me know and I will post it.

Then I have a clear binder pocket where I stash the coupons I plan to use, and facing that, the shopping list.

Then it's pages with store coupons for places I shop, and one for restaurant coupons. They are usually fast food/chain restaurants, but they come in handy on a road trip or if you are having one of those days. Each page is in it's own sheet protector, and the coupons slip inside it. Good ones or about to expire one in front, all else in back.
I don't shop at BB&B really at all, BUT our local store honors even expired coupons. They come in handy at Christmas time!
Next is a red binder pocket. This is for coupons that I pulled, planning to use them, and then didn't use, and coupons found inside boxes.
Finally, one copy of each insert goes in it's own sheet protector, in order by date. I like to write the date and the number of copies I have right on the front.
I also print and keep an index of each insert just in front of each one. You can find them HERE. They vary locally, but it's great to have an outline and super helpful when you are at the store and just know you have a coupon for that but can't find it.
In the last pocket, I keep a copy of the coupon policy for each of the stores I shop at. This is important to have so you can reference it as you plan and to clear up any issues you might have a check out (I have never had to whip one out, but you never know.)
In the front I keep a small pair of scissors, a sharpie, a red pen, a black pen, and a highlighter.
Remember the drawer? The drawer is for keeping your duplicate inserts. I use large envelopes to keep them organized. Each envelope has the name of the insert, the date and the number of copies. I never keep more than 12, the max number of duplicate coupons my grocery store accepts.
If you are wondering where the date is, it is printed on the side of each insert. In teeny, tiny print.
Finally, I collate my inserts so that the copies of coupons are together. Staple the duplicates and shove them in the envelope. When you are planning your trip, you pull out only the coupons you need.
This is a great time to occupy your little person with something awesome, like play dough, cars, and generalized mayhem.
Once the sheets are collated, I toss any advertisement only pages, (Gravity so awful! Pregnant gravity is just the worst! Perhaps I should not have been so hasty...) and put any store coupons in my binder.
If you keep up with it, it takes less than 1/2 hour a week to keep your stash neat and organized.


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