Step 2: How to Organize your Coupons

First off, you have to decide whether you're going to clip every coupon as you receive it, or whether you're going to store your inserts, magazines, etc in their entirety and just clip the coordinating coupons as you find deals.

How do I decide which method is best for me?
That's easy! Are you the kind of person that goes to the store for 3 things, and walks out with a cart full? If your an impulse shopper, then you'll want to use Method #1. This way, you'll have all of your coupons with you at all times. If you see something that isn't on your list, you can quickly see if you have a coupon for it. If you are the kind of person that makes a shopping list and sticks to it, then Method #2 will work for you.

If you're going to clip every coupon as you receive it (Method #1), read on. If you're planning to store your inserts and magazines (Method #2), you can skip down to Method #2.

Method #1:
I used a method that many couponers believe to be the simplest way to organize and find coupons. The binder method. You may not think you have nearly enough coupons to fill a binder, but once you start clipping 95% or more of the coupons you get your hands on, you'll be thankful that you chose the binder method. I really started couponing just 8 days ago, and my binder already has over 60 pages full of coupons.

What You Need:
  • 2-3 inch Binder (if you have small children, I recommend getting one that zips closed)
  • 7-8 Packs of Tab Dividers
  • 50-100 Pages of Clear Baseball Card Holders
  1. First you want to separate your coupons into categories. You can make up your own, or you can use what I use. This is the printable Table of Contents and Dividers from The Krazy Coupon Lady, aka Joanie Demer (the first couponer to premiere on TLC's Extreme Couponing show). 
  2. Once you've separated all of your coupons, you want to fill out your dividers. (I have the category written on the front of the divider and on the tab.) 
  3. Now it's time to add some baseball card holders to your binder. (Since I have 36 categories and only 65 baseball card holders, I have some categories with two holders and others with only one. It depends on how often you get coupons for certain categories.) 
  4. Now you can start putting your coupons into their spots. (I put them by expiration date, so the closest date is in the front and the farthest dates are towards the back. This is very time consuming when your putting your binder together for the first time, but it will be much easier to upkeep. You may have to trim coupons or fold them to fit them in their place holders.)  
  5. I also keep one card holder in the very front of my binder with all of my full size membership cards in it. This way, if I ever look on my keys and my key chain is missing (or I have the wrong set of keys), then I still have my membership card with me.
Once you're all done, you will be SO proud of your binder, you'll know it was worth it. It will be SO easy to find coupons in a hurry!  

Method #2:
If you are the type of person you plans every shopping trip down to the penny and never strays, then this is the method for you. You'll be planning every single transaction prior to going to the store and only bringing along the coupons that you plan to use.

What You Need:
  • 2-3 inch Binder (if you have small children, I recommend getting one that zips closed)
  • 150-200 Clear Page Protectors
  1. First you will need to gather all of your newspaper inserts, and magazine pages with coupons, tear them into single pages, and sort them by date. (I've heard that it's easier if you put the newest ones in the back.)
  2. You'll want to write the date the newspaper came out on each single page somewhere, and the month each magazine came out on those pages too.. (This will help when your looking through price matches and you need to find the 7/3 P&G insert quickly.)
  3. Next you'll want to get your binder out and put all of your page protectors inside your binder.
  4. After that, your going to want to start putting your inserts in the page protectors. (If you have an insert that has an advertisement on the back with no coupons, you can put another one behind it, back-to-back, to save space.)
Once you've got all of your inserts in your binder, your ready to go. It will be very simple to find coupons for price matches this way.

Great job! Now you've got all your coupons sorted and your ready to find those low, low prices. In the next step we'll talk about all of the great resources that are available online for clipping, price matching, and talking to other great couponers.


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