3 Options for Coupon Organization – Expandable Folder, Binder, and Full-Insert Filing System!
There are so many ways to go about organizing your coupons. I’m going to give you three different options for coupon organization in this post, but know that what works for one person may not work for another. And, you may change your mind or strategy as I did over time. 🙂
When I was younger and my mom used coupons, she carried them in a small expandable folder like this one:
Of course, I’m certain it wasn’t as cute as this, but this is a great option if you want to carry coupons with you, but not a lot. You simply cut coupons and organize them by category – dairy, meat, breads, cereal, etc. Then, stick this in your purse and head off to the store.
- The advantage to this system is that it’s small and compact so you can take it with you easily.
- The disadvantage is that you can’t get a lot of coupons in it and you will be sorting through coupons to find the one(s) you want to use.
If you prefer this method, there are a variety of styles. Go here to see the options available on Amazon.
When I started couponing, I dove right into using a 3-ring binder:
That is actually my second binder because my first one got so beat up, it came apart. 😉 My binder went with me everywhere. I carried the Thirty-One Cindy Tote. It fit perfectly in there, and I always had my coupons with me.
- The advantage to this system is that you can easily see your coupons (separated by category) and you have them with you when you are shopping. So, if you spot a clearance item or a deep discount and you have your coupon, you don’t have to make a note to come back to the store if it’s still there – you have your coupons with you. The binder also sits really nicely on a shopping cart.
- The disadvantage to this system is that I spent a lot of time cutting each coupon that I might use and filing it away in the correct category. This also means that you have to go through and clear out expired coupons regularly. I also found that some coupons were too big and had to be folded or put somewhere else. These usually got dropped in a protective sleeve in my binder that I had to dig through later.
If you like this method, you can get 25 – 9-pocket sleeves to hold coupons on Amazon. The size of binder you will need depends on the amount of coupons you want to have in it. You can get this Wilson Jones 362 Basic Round Ring View Binder, 2 Inch, White on Amazon.
Now, I use the full-insert hanging file folder system:
I love this method, and never thought I would. I get 3 papers each week (one local and 2 national) and file the inserts by month as you see above – the date it was in the paper is printed on the binding of each insert. Depending on the number of papers you get, you may want to break this down even further by week. I’m actually thinking I may divide my months down more – January Red Plum, January Smart Source, January Extra (This is where the P&G, General Mills or any additional insert would go.). Then, when I get ready to go shopping, I pull the insert(s) and clip the coupon(s).
- The advantage to this system is the time saver! It’s so quick because I don’t clip any coupons until I am ready to use them.
- The disadvantage is that sometimes I’ll see something on a big price drop or clearance when I am out shopping, and I don’t have my coupons with me. The other thing I see is that I’m not sure when the coupons expire, but I’m working on a system for that and will keep you posted. 🙂
I bought my hanging file system at IKEA years ago, but you can find it online at Amazon, office supply stores, or mass merchandisers like Walmart and Target. There is such a huge variety available. You will need something at least 12 inches deep – depending on the number of papers you get each week.
Coupon organization is important because it can overwhelm you if you don’t have a system. Find a method you like, try it, and then decide if it’s for you. If you don’t like it or it isn’t working, try something else.
So, how do you organize your coupons? What do you like best or least about your system?
Wendy DiCarlo saysMay 22, 2014 at 9:48 am
I keep my coupons in an expandable style – then when I make my list each week the coupons for each store with their list goes in a separate one. I like having one for each store and I keep the main one with me just in case I see something that wasn’t advertised at a great price!
Cheryl Brown saysMay 22, 2014 at 10:32 am
I use a 2″ 3 ring binder. It is very time consuming but seems to work best for me. The only thing that I really hate is that the shopping carts does not hold the binder very well without falling. I am working on something I can make to help with that.
Thank you for all the help and advice you give.
Pauline Eby saysJanuary 19, 2021 at 12:17 am
I use the smallerror envelope style holders. Obviously I havemore than 1.they are getting better, but ultimately you should keep your coupon binder in the car. Know what you are going to buy. Put the coupons for that trip in a wallet type, andgo. Remember which ones are expiring, and keep with you just in case. I actually color code my couponso to know what is expiring, so I can pull those, and hopefully use before theyear are out
Shelley saysJanuary 28, 2015 at 8:35 pm
I have a box with alphabetical inserts. With help from my husband, we cut & file in alphabetical order the coupons. We may cut many that we don’t use, but the coupon fairy leaves those on the products. A lot of times, stores will have unadvertised sales & I can easily find the coupon if needed. I take my box with me every time I go grocery shopping. It may take us 1-2 hours to cut & file, but it’s worth every minute. I really don’t think that is much time. We get 3 papers each week, but with the friends & family that save inserts for me, we get approx 40 inserts each week.
Mary saysJanuary 29, 2015 at 7:37 am
I have a three inch zippered binder, upgraded from a 1 1/2 binder. I have a small 5 section file folder at the front, great for putting ads in. It also has a zippered pocket for pens, scissors, calculator, etc. At the front I have my store’s coupon policies and anything else that’s helpful to check out while I am at the store. Then I have 34 sections in my book. The tabs are alphabetical because its easier that way. I have 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, & 9 pocket pages, all can be purchased at Amazon and I could live without the 2 pocket pages lol. This way I dont have to fold my coupons. I also cut white slips of construction paper for each pocket. This way I can put 2 coupons per pocket (one front and one back) and easily read the entire coupon.
Things I dont really like about it is clipping/filing coupons and pulling expired ones. However I have tried the other methods and like this one the best.
Pauline Eby saysJanuary 19, 2021 at 12:20 am
I color code my coupons. That way at the beginning of that month I can pull those, and hopefully use before theyear expire. I keep them in the front so that Ican keep my eyes out for theitems on sale
Mary Stracener saysMay 6, 2015 at 1:48 am
I did the binder but didn’t like it to time consuming and I never seemed to have enough coupons for it. I went back to an old method I had used. I use 2 cheap 4×6 photo albums. One for food and one for non food. I labeled the front of the pages with sticky page markers so I could change categories if needed. I keep all of my supplies, ads, and inserts in a bag that I take to the store with me. Our coupons come with Dollar General ad in it so I just wrap it around all my inserts so I know the date its from. If I don’t cut out the coupons right away I still have the inserts handy.
Christina T saysJune 7, 2015 at 2:07 pm
I use a binder, but I organize by insert instead of by product. And within each insert the coupons are in order by date. I’m sure some may think this is crazy, but it works for me and that’s what matters.