Making A Coupon Organizer System: {How To Guide}

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ClippingOne of the most frugal, money-saving things you can do is to take advantage of the free coupons you have at your disposal. You’ll never redeem each and every one that comes your way, but by keeping them organized and at your fingertips for when you need them, you’ll surely notice the dollars being shaved off your grocery bill.

If you’re ready to be a Coupon Queen (or King) but aren’t sure how to setup a system, here is a How To Guide giving ideas for sorting them efficiently, how to make your own organizer and implement an efficient system plus you’ll find plenty of tips listed below. If you’re already full steam ahead with your own system, you might find a few new ideas to try.

Method #1 – Using Envelopes

To organize all the coupons you have on hand with envelopes, one idea is to make an envelope for each category (such as Meat, Beauty Products, Soaps & Detergents, Paper Products, etc.). Clip all the ones you plan on using and store them in the applicable envelopes so they can be found easily.

Quick & Easy

Use Envelopes For A Quick & Easy Stash System

Once you have them sorted within the envelopes, store them in a plastic tub, photo or shoe box, file folders, whatever works best for you. Another idea for envelope organizing is to label and sort the envelopes by month (expiry dates). You’ll find more sorting tips toward the bottom of this post (under How To Sort & File).

Method #2 – An Expanding File Or Wallet

You can choose a large expanding file (example in the picture below) or even a wallet sized one, they do hold a lot even though they’re smaller. The best wallet sized ones for long term use would be a plastic or fabric organizer since they hold up longer, the wallet size also makes it easy to bring all your coupons with you on your shopping trips.

Pockets In An Expanding File

Each Pocket In An Expanding File Can Be Used

You can buy an accordion file or make your own (see Design Your Own Accordion File). Use each pocket to store your clippings. If you have a wallet sized accordion file organizer, keep the front pocket free and you can toss in the coupons that you plan to use on your next shopping trip.

If you’re going to buy an accordion file (either a folder or wallet), look for one that has tabs on top of the pockets. This way you can mark each pocket (ie. the Month or Product Category) and you can see at a glance what each pocket holds.

If you’re going to make yourself an accordion system, make or buy tabs that you can attach to each pocket. The tabs really do help you find the right pocket quickly.

Method #3 – An Index File Box

Boxes are great for organizing clippings, you can use anything from a cardboard shoe box, a plastic tub (with lid), a recipe box, or try an index card box. You can go as large as you need or keep it small with recipe and index card boxes if you don’t have a large coupon collection (although these little boxes will hold plenty!).

Tabbed Dividers

It's Easy To Keep Things Sorted With Tabbed Dividers

Use dividers to separate your categories and then cut, clip and sort your coupons within each category. Either buy index dividers that will fit your box or make them out of cardboard from old cereal boxes. Make sure each index divider is tabbed so you can mark the sections.

Method #4 – A Binder

You can make yourself an organizer binder to sort and store your clippings, this is an especially nice system if you are a heavy-duty coupon user and have lots to keep organized.

A Simple Ring Binder

A Simple Ring Binder Is An Effective Tool

You can use a regular binder but for a complete coupon center, a zippered binder with inside pockets will give you lots of useful features. With the binder zipped up, you’ll have no worries about clippings or supplies falling loose and getting lost. You can setup the binder to hold everything you need for shopping plus there’s an added benefit: you can easily take it with you while shopping.

Some ideas to store in the zippered binder:

  • Small pair of scissors for clipping
  • Calculator
  • Pad of paper (for grocery list making)
  • Sorting mat (you can make your own)
  • Pens or pencils

Inside your binder of choice, fill it with plastic sheets for trading cards (like hockey or baseball card collecting). You can also find plastic sheets with four pockets per sheet (the ones you buy for photo albums), these pockets are a little larger than the trading card sheets. Use these plastic pockets to store your coupons and keep them organized.

Separate the plastic sheets with binder dividers. You can sort each section: By alphabetical, By expiry date, By product category, or whatever you like. Do some experimenting to see which method works best for your needs.

You can buy binders in any number of sizes, but you’ll want a size that will fit the plastic pocket sheets. These plastic sheets can be bought online, at your local card collecting shop and most department stores such as Walmart and Target.

How To Sort & File

Sort Clipping

Sort Clippings In A Method That Works Best For You

Whichever method you choose as your coupon organizer, you’ll need to have a battle plan on how to keep them organized within the storage system of choice. Here are a few suggestions:

  • By Expiry Date: You can clip together batches by month (based on expiry dates) or just store them all loose in the envelope/pocket/etc., with the about to expire coupons at the front and moving back (by date).
  • By Products: Within your Beauty & Health category, you can clip together all the shampoo rebates, all the deodorant ones, those for makeup, etc. Within each product category, sort the clippings by expiry date (with the soon to expire coupons on top).
  • Sort Alphabetically: Another way to organize within the system is by product name or product item (Ivory Soap, Smuckers Jam, or Peanut Butter, Laundry Detergent, etc.).

Choose whatever method works best for you, the goal is to setup a system that will help you to use your coupons before they expire as well as know where to find a particular one when looking for it.

Preparation Before Shopping

Get everything ready before you go shopping, here’s a suggestion:

  • The first step is to make your grocery list on a sheet of paper or on the back of an envelope, then go through your clippings and pull out any that are applicable to your needs. Mark a “C” beside each item on your list that you have a coupon for.
  • Store both the grocery list sheet and the clippings inside an envelope (or stick them inside the envelope that you wrote your list on).
  • Follow the grocery list while you’re shopping and you’ll quickly spot which items have a coupon.
Try Customizing Grocery List Templates On Your Computer

Try Customizing Grocery List Templates On Your Computer

Another good idea is to review your soon to expire coupons regularly. If there are any products that you normally use or is a great buy, yet have no immediate need for it–still consider purchasing it (and using the coupon) on your next trip. Do this if it’s a good deal and you know you’ll use it, it’s a great way to help with bulk cooking meal planning as well as bulking up on stock.

Free Patterns For Holders & Wallets
*Moved to this page for better organization

modabakeshop.com

modabakeshop.com

Patchwork Clutch: Tutorial includes a free pdf download for a tabbed card insert template.

Holder: Shows how to cover a plastic accordion wallet with fabric to pretty things up.

raegunwear.blogspot.com

raegunwear.blogspot.com

redheadscraftmorefun.blogspot.com

redheadscraftmorefun.blogspot.com

Fabric Envelope: Simple design and only uses a scrap piece of fabric.

Grocery List/Holder on Lanyard: Cute little case features a vinyl window pocket that displays your shopping list, a handy credit card pocket on the opposite side and a zippered inside pouch to hold clippings and more.

sew4home.com

sew4home.com

theobjectproject.typepad.com

theobjectproject.typepad.com

Clutch Project: Simple design with a nice fabric applique, has a button and hair elastic loop closure.

Wallet: Another simple fabric wallet design with strips of velcro for closure.

oldgeorgiahouse.com

oldgeorgiahouse.com

christcoffeeandknittingneedles.blogspot.com

christcoffeeandknittingneedles.blogspot.com

Accordian-Style Holder: Fold-over flap that snaps closed, made with double sided fusible fabric, cotton fabric and magnetic snaps.

Fabric Holder: Made with a sample square of upholstery fabric. Velcro strip closure.

junepfaffdaley.blogspot.com

junepfaffdaley.blogspot.com

By developing an effective system, you’ll find it much easier to save money on groceries and products since you’ll have all your clippings in one place, and you’ll know just where to look for that specific one you wish to use.

Watch Your Savings Add Up

Watch Your Savings Add Up

Keeping things sorted and organized will take some time to first setup and figure out what works best for your needs, but once you have determined the best system that works for you, maintaining it regularly won’t be such a chore. It will simply be a matter of purging those that have expired and filing away new ones.

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Published: March 3, 2008
Updated: May 22, 2012

What Readers Are Saying:
108 Comments to “Making A Coupon Organizer System: {How To Guide}”
  1. jgodsey says:

    I am impressed with the ideas, but I am confounded by the fact that most products where coupons are issued are overpriced to begin with and can be substituted by a lower priced or generic item. Aside from the odd coupon off of a service or a store coupon I never usually have more than 5 or 6.

    • Heather says:

      The best way to save with coupons is to “stock up” your coupons so you can “stock up” on products. Use the coupon when the item is on sale. At most grocery stores a coupon that has a value of $.50 or less will be doubled. If a box of cereal is on sale for $2.00 and you have a coupon for $.50 you get a dollar off so the cereal is $1.00 for the box. If you have several of the same coupons you can stock up on the cereal for use later.

    • Carla says:

      The best deals that I get are Target and Publix-only. Both take manuf. coupons and their own. My Publix takes a competitor coupon also. You get your best deals on items that are B1G1 (buy 1 get 1). I stock up on all I can and 9 times out of 10 I will have a coupon for every item. I love Publix!!

      • Heather says:

        Meijers will take both manuf & their own coupons, too. They are a Mid-western chain simular to a Super Wal-mart/Target.

        • Gabriels says:

          Great article. I must have browsed close to 500 posts on different blogs showing how to organize coupon binder, this by far is the best (without video). Tipnut author has worked very hard by providing great supporting graphics, which most other posts lack.

          Whether or not you able to stack coupons (unless even after using coupons they continue to overpriced compared to their generic substitutes) I would like to bring to the attention of the readers here that:

          1) According to the Coupon Council, PMA which gathers statistics about the coupon industry: Consumers report an average of 11.5% savings on their grocery bill with coupons. So each time you save 10% or more on your entire grocery bill you need to give yourself a pat on your back!
          2) For people like me who get easily overwhelmed by paper the fact still remains that the key to getting great savings is being organized. Whether you use paper method shown by the author or a free online app such as Eventbin, staying organized can help maximize savings.

        • NICOLE says:

          NOT ANY MORE HERE IN MICHIGAN MEIJERS NO LONGER PROVIDES STORE COUPONS MANUF. ONLY

    • kris says:

      Not true. I thought the same thing, with a coupon system I am now beating Wal-mart generic brand prices by 50%. I’m very happy about that.

  2. Jane says:

    The trick with coupons is to try to find a store that doubles the values. Then, often, major grocery chains will run sales on things that match up with coupons in the paper for the same week. Often, there are several items you can get for just pennies or even free.

    *Admin Edit (removed a snip)

    When I really work it, combining sales and coupons, I can save up to 40% or more on my bill.

    *Admin Note: Sorry Jane, I’m removing all links and mentios of commercial products and services for coupon collecting and organizing. Thanks for your helpful info :).

    • kati jectue says:

      I would like to know the stores that double coupon I’ve ask but they usually say no

      • nicole says:

        I shop with coupons at Albertsons, Kroger and Brookshires in my area in Dallas, TX. Both Albertsons and Kroger ALWAYS double and triple coupons and Brookshires does it once or twice a week. My goal is to get my family food budget to stretch as much as possible. A few weeks ago I saved $140 off my grocery trip to Albertsons by buying things w/coupons AND according to their weekly sale ad. When you work both together you can save a ton!

        • Jennifer says:

          My Albertsons does not double coupons anymore =( I have heard Ralphs does…but I haven’t had a chance to go check them out….

        • Angie says:

          we are just starting this trying to figure out how to get started any ideas would help us out we only have one income in our family and need to do this.

      • Amber says:

        I don’t know about the west, but the southeast the two that come to mind is kroger and bi-lo

      • NICOLE P says:

        I’m in Michigan and here Meijers and Krogers double up to $0.50 every day. i think kmart has certain double days not really sure

  3. Paula says:

    What an impressive set of articles and responses.

    I built my own organizer. I found that being able to see all coupons at once saved me a great deal of time in couponing. The drawback was that the baseball card holders I was using were difficult to get coupons in and out of.

    *Edit

    Admin note: Paula, sorry, I’m getting A LOT of spam on this post for different coupon organizers and coupon services to buy, I decided to delete or edit all mentions–hoping this will stop.

    • Tonya says:

      Instead of using baseball card inserts us photo album inserts. The 4X6 size works well. You can use both the front and back of each page and get 6 different coupons on each sheet. The pockets are large enough I don’t usually have to fold the coupons so I can see the expiration date how much off and excatly what it is with no problem

      • melanie says:

        I am currently using a 3 ring 4X6 photo book which was a very affordable choice, however, the sections are not sturdy enough and the pages easily tear close to the rings. I am looking for a different system.

        • Maggie says:

          I use the binder system but I use painter’s tape to attach my coupons to cardstock and slide each page into page protectors. The coupons come off easily and nothing rips. There are two main stores that I frequent so I use two pages (left and right) for each aisle. It makes it easy to just turn the page as I turn the corner.

  4. TipNut says:

    To try to discourage the daily onslaught of blog spam I get for this particular post, I’m going to ask that commentors refrain from mentioning or linking to websites and products that people buy for coupon organizing.

    I’ve made some edits above for this reason, but please know I appreciate everyones input :).

  5. Vera says:

    I find it saves a lot of money to clip coupons but you do have to have a good system set up for collecting and organizing them. The binder system can work great if you have a lot of coupons to organize but I find using a coupon wallet to be sufficient for my needs. As someone said above you have to look for instore coupon deals and sales to make coupon shopping pay off.

    • Neal Miller says:

      I collect a lot of coupon buy purchasing 16 or more papers a week. I use a filing cabinet, a portable hanging flile crate and two coupon wallets. I know your thinking were did this nut come from but hear me out. Most web sites that do coupon match ups list the insert coupons in this format “2/07 PD” which stands for Febuary 7th Proctor & gamble insert. I file each week in a hanging folder with file folders in the hanging folder, each containd either the RP, SS, PG or GM insert for that week. When I get ready to shop I clip my coupons then and put them in the coupon wallet, the second coupon wallet holds coupons that I may use if I find a deal (impulse buying). I have cut my shopping budget by nerly 70% and one major drug store pays me to shop besause of their rewards program. The system works very well and it is very easy to find the coupons I need. I find that if I don’t have coupons for things I did not plan to buy I save a ton of money, impulse and unneeded items will kill a budget quickly. I buy so many papers for the reason mentioned above. When I find a deal I can stock for 6 months to a year in one trip which enables me to wait for my price to come around again before I buy. My goal is to spend no more than a dollar for any one grocery item, sounds inpossible but you would be surprised how often it happens when you can wait for the sales. Meat & fresh vegetables do not fit in this plan but I save enough on every thing else I get those two items when needed at the going price.
      So you heard me out and still think I’m a nut, could be but it works for me. I am a coupon educator and run web site that does coupon matchups for several Grocery stors and a Drug store. the checkers know me as the coupon wizard.

      • Neal Miller says:

        excuse the typos, I failed to use a spell checker and spilled a soda on my key board last week.

      • Darci says:

        I asked around and have a local gas station that just throws away left over Sunday papers. So I have them save them for me and just yesterday I received about 10 papers. After I get the adds out I pass the paper onto my Grandma who volunteers at the local zoo. They use them for bedding in some of the cages.

      • Laura says:

        Do you buy the newspaper inserts or do you print them off the internet?

      • gayle says:

        Neal, there are companies that offer fresh product coupons=(generally organic but if the price is the same or cheaper than regular-I use the coupon)…usually they reset at the beginning of each month…I am fairly new but two that I use regularly is Earthbound and Organic Girl, Jewel-Osco (a grocery store somewhere in the states…not mine) emails out a special monthly fresh fruit or veggy coupon if you sign up with them, Safeway has a produce magazine in the produce section with recipes in it and it usually has fruit/veggy coupons in it, also) Just wanted to help if I could…:=)

    • judy says:

      I was married for 41 yrs and had to get a divorce cause of a “cheating husband” I have to watch my money carefully and would like 2 receive advice on how 2 organize coupons w/o having coupons scattered everywhere. ha ha If u dont mind helping me or maybe a few clues. My first time doing this and I am scatter brained. ha ha God Bless
      Judy

  6. Joni says:

    I use coupons on everything I can and most generally save a ton of money. I saw those expensive organizers on the web and made one for myself. Here is what you need

    1 3-ring binder
    10-20 baseball organizer sheets (card holders)
    1 Package of notebook dividers (you’ll want the blank one so you can fill in the tabs)

    Assemble your book according the aisles at your store. For instance. Mine are Freezer, condiments, cans, boxed dinners, ect. I make a table of contents in the beginning. Then after each divider I place a sheet or two of baseball card inserts sheets, and do this until I have all the desired aisles I want. Then I put my coupons in the sleeves, if I have 2 of the same coupon I put them together.

    Now when I go grocery shopping, I can flip the pages of my book and know exactly what I have on coupons, so I know exactly what to buy, it’s very handy. Plus I use a top bounded notebook to use on my grocery list, and that flips from page to page with me. Very convinient.

    • outtanms says:

      Thanks for the info Joni. That is exactly what i am looking for.

    • marilyn says:

      I would to know how to do couponing. Can you use 2 of the same coupons for one item? and how do you save on or get an item free?

      Thanks

      • Amber says:

        It took me awhile to understand how to get an item for free,so let me explain. 1) you can only use 2 coupons for the same item if one is a store coupon and the other is a manufacter’s coupon. 2) This works best if you shop in a store that doubles manufactuers coupons. 3) If an item is normally $2 and is on sale for B1G1, which automatically drops the price to $1. Then you use a coupon that is 50 cent off, which is doubled by the store to $1, then ta-da the item is free. I can understand why this is confusing at first because it took me awhile to understand myself. Happy shopping. I hope this helped.

      • A Name says:

        You can not use 2 coupons on the item but the store will sometimes double or triple depending on the value of the coupon and the deals the stores deals that day

    • Tina says:

      I agree. Absolutely, just the exact details I’m looking for too.

  7. TipNut says:

    Thanks for the info Joni, very helpful!

  8. Paula says:

    I built my own organizer much like instructed here. Now, more than ever, I need to coupon. Downloading printable coupons serves most of my needs. My point, though, is that couponing is a pain. Proper organization eliminates the pain. I like being able to see all of my coupons at a glance or it overwhelms me in the store. I also point out that there are commercial organizers available which allow you to see all of your coupons. You can buy them for the same cost as building one. Either route, you’ll pay for your costs in one shopping trip. And couponing can be fun.

  9. Organic says:

    I would like to join your mailing list becuase I read a few interesting things in here, but the font is so tiny. Can you increace the font size so that its more readable. I have to squint to see the words. I am young too.

    Sarah

    • Sylvia says:

      Quick Windows tip. To increase the font of “most” properly designed websites, simply hold down the “CTRL” key and press “+” until the font is a large as desired. To reverse, CTRL and press “-”

      :o)

  10. TipNut says:

    Sarah is the font small in the emails or on the website?

  11. Larese says:

    for the folks who don’t have a lot of time to devote to coupon-shopping and organizing, but still need to save $, try this…

    get a cardboard wallet-size accordion coupon organizer from your local dollar store. while you’re there, also get a plastic shoe box to keep it in. at home, stretch out the organizer front to back so that it takes up almost the entire shoe box. you can organize by category (the way that the organizer comes marked) or i like to use a marker and devote 2 letters a-z to each pocket (there are 13). then i file by product/manufacturer name. in the shoe box, in front of the accordion, i keep envelopes for each store, in case i get store-specific coupons. also one for “unusual” coupons, “almost expired”, “makeup”, and “on this week’s shopping list”.

    i mostly buy stuff only when it’s on sale or generic, and really stock up (we have a freezer that has more than paid back it’s price and the cost of electricity). (brand names i buy when i know it’s a good price compared to generic, or when all the available generics are nasty!) brand name good price = on sale + coupons! plus one local store will double coupons up to a dollar, so that helps too.

    every week i spend about 1/2 to one hour to cut all even remotely likely coupons, cull expired coupons, and match coupons to sales (checking to make sure it ends up with a price better than generic). then i make my list, divided by store, and paperclip my coupons per store and put them in my “this week’s list” envelope to take with me.

    don’t forget your local bread discount store! it’s like half the price compared to your grocer, and if it’s the last day before expiration, it’s even cheaper! i stock up and freeze 2 weeks worth of breadstuffs.

    also, check each store’s policy on accepting manufacturer coupons along with store coupons (if the store employee says no, but cannot produce it in writing, you may want to email the company and ask what the official policy is). Happy Couponing!

  12. Rose says:

    I clip every coupon. Every single one, even if I don’t use that item. Then I make a spreadsheet using Excel (OpenOffice has a free product that works like Excel, as well) and enter in all my coupons.

    I make a new sheet within the spreadsheet based on product type – I have a sheet for personal care products, cleaning products, freezer, boxed foods, pet products, etc. On each sheet I put the deal (such as [brand name] air freshener, 12oz spray). Two cells over I put the coupon amount ($1 off 2, or whatever), then I skip another two cells and put the expiration date.

    I organize them all by brand name, usually. So for instance, all the toothpaste coupons are grouped together, and then within that, I group by brand name.

    Then i sit and wait until the stores run that product on sale. I check my spreadsheet as I make my list – that way I don’t have to dig through coupons or flip through my book to see what I have. The spreadsheet takes just minutes to make but saves me so much time.

    I cut every single coupon because I can make money on them. A certain drugstore gives out “store credit” with many purchases, so if I have a coupon for $1 off toothpaste (reg. price $4), but when I buy that toothpaste I get $4 in store credit, now i have a free toothpaste and a dollar. If its a product I don’t use, i save it just in case, or donate it, or hand it off to a family member who does use it. That store advertises which products will get you the store credit, so you can plan accordingly – its not just a gamble.

  13. Anne M. says:

    I’d like to add that something to do with your expired coupons is to share them with a military family because overseas commissaries will let them use expired coupons.

    There is a lady who has a blog that organizes a coupons for troops program of sorts. She takes donations all the time and would make sure that those coupons were put to good use.

    Although a small gesture, it makes a big impact in supporting our troops where it counts – at home!

    • Darci says:

      I was wondering how to get them over seas. I would like to donate the coupons but no clue on how to get them there. Is there anywhere that I can mail them to?

      • candace says:

        You could try looking up the USO. If they don’t have a link for it, there should be other contact information. I was a military spouse stationed overseas a lot. Those coupons were a life saver!

  14. April says:

    I found the baseball card holders too small for my needs. So, I use photo sheets that hold 6 x 4 and 5 x 7 photos. Each plastic sheet holds 3 pockets and I store them in a 3 ring notebook. I also have in my notebook empty plastic sheets for each store. After the ads come out, I can go through my coupons and make my list and store them. But when I go shopping, I take my entire book with me to take advantage of any unadvertised specials that I may have a coupon for.

  15. Mika says:

    The best time to buy sheet protector, binder dividers or even binders is during Back-To-School (late July to mid-September). I bought at Wally World a package of 500 medium weight sheet protectors for $3. A three-inch binder from a certain office supply store beginning with the name Office for $1 and dividers for 25 cents. I ended up organizing not just my coupons but also my PTO stuff, customer information (I have a paper route with the kids) and recipes in different three-inch binders. In all I spent under $20 to organize my things. My only problem is that I have to wait for the next Back-To-School shopping day for about six more months!

  16. Trisha says:

    I have been clipping coupons for many years. I have a nylon coupon “wallet” that snaps over the grocery cart. I also keep a list on my computer with the product, any special information (such as sizes), amount of coupon and expiration date. All of our local grocery stores have their weekly ad available on the internet, so I review those, make a weekly menu according to my freezer and pantry stock, the store ad and my coupon list. We have several grocery stores that double coupons up through $.50. I can usually save somewhere between 30% to 60% off my grocery bill. Believe me, this was very helpful when I was feeding 4 teenagers! I also saved a lot of money by making my own mixes. Several good cookbooks out there for those recipes. Good luck all!

  17. BEN GREGO says:

    Sounds like a lot of people are going to a lot of fuss and bother for such a simple thing!!!!!!

    Here’s what I’ve been using for years:
    * Take a regular business size envelope
    * Cut 12 pieces of paper from a tablet
    * Put the name of each month on each one

    • starla says:

      I have way too many coupons to use envelopes!

    • Tina says:

      Hi Ben,
      Interesting. I like the simplicity of your storage idea. How do you file your coupons within each monthly labeled envelope? How do you take the coupons you plan to use at the grocery store (all envelopes rubber-banded together or ??) or do you just look through the envelopes while shopping in the aisles? How many coupons would you estimate you have in each envelope?
      Thanks for helping me understand your system.
      Tina

  18. Sarah says:

    I use a three ring binder with photo sleeve sheets or even baseball card sheets would work. There are four pockets per page. I have mine in ABC order by item or brand like meat, breakfast, baking, air freshners, etc and then label each pocket with a file folder label. It really cuts down on searching time in the store. When I go through my ads, I use little envelopes with the store name on the front so I know what coupons I’m using at which store. :-)

  19. Erin says:

    I love coupons. I use them all the time. The key is to use a store coupon AND a manufactured coupon for each item. So if a store has a limit of 3 per their in store coupon- I usually get 4 papers so I have just as many manuafactured coupons. Usually you can get the item for a 90% -ish savings. And only buying loss leaders at each store helps too. Only buy and stock up on the really cheap sales, they are called loss leaders because the stores usually lose money on those items to get you in the store and buy more. You may go to more stores. But I actually save time and money by doing this and not paying more than I need to for any single item. Except Milk and Eggs.

    • Salama says:

      I belong to a wholesale club which allows the use of manufacturer along with their store coupons. The items are in bulk but I’m wondering if it’ll be more advantageous to shop at local supermarkets and drug stores. There are drug stores in the area that offer store credit for purchasing certain items.
      I’m trying to avoid a lot of hassle because I gave up on “couponing” before because of it. Yet with my family’s current financial situation, I really need to go back to using coupons on a regular basis and would like to get the best savings.

  20. BEN GREGO says:

    My experience has been that the ONLY way to sort coupons in an organizer is BY DATE!!!!!!!
    What good would it do you to have coupons for, say, soups, under that category, when they could expire and then you’d lose the savings?

    I made a coupon organizer from a business envelope and 12 sheets of paper, with the month on each one!!! talk about cheap – I mean low-cost!!!

    • DeeDee says:

      Interesting… My grocery stores never look at the expiry dates on any coupons… Guess I am just lucky…

      • Kitty says:

        You must be lucky because I am a cashier at a local grocery store and our system doesn’t allow expired coupons. They just won’t scan.

        • Angela says:

          I work at a grocery/retail store. I cashiered for 5 years and our system doesnt catch expired coupons. It also wontn notice if you are using more than 1 coupon per item. Say you have a coupon for $1.00/2 for toothpaste, as long as you have 2 tubes it will scan as multiple coupons for those items its completely up to the cashier to catch those types of things.

  21. Marlyn says:

    ACCORDION. Sorry, I’m anal about spelling.

  22. Jane says:

    I agree with Ben’s idea to sort coupons by date. While some stores/individuals may not look at expiration dates, I’ve had people call me out on them from time to time so I don’t want to miss out and be denied for something I would use. I also think it’s a good nudge for me to remember to use the coupons, as I find that I usually forget about coupons until it’s too late (and not because of expiration dates but because I just forget or miss that I have a coupon for an item I just bought!).

  23. korting says:

    Some retail stores that welcome coupons give a counter exactly where it is possible to take your undesirable coupons for other consumers to make use of. At the exact same time you might be welcome to pick up numerous coupons other people have left to create your own purchases. You’ll find incredible coupon organizers that you possibly can use like a mini filing program. It is possible to categorize the coupons by the listed areas along with create some of one’s own categories. This will lessen the amount of time you spent going through them while you might be shopping.

  24. Carol says:

    Today I saved exactly $50.17 off my total at Publix by using BOGO deals and coupons. I don’t recommend trying to pass off expired coupons even if your store doesn’t look closely, because the store will not be reimbursed by the manufacturer (so it’s kind of like stealing since you know it’s expired). Stacking is when you can use a store coupon (from their flyer) along with a manufacturer or allowed competitor’s coupon. This method often results in items being free or near free. It takes a little time but I have $50 that I can spend elsewhere or save!

  25. Donna Williams says:

    I’ve enjoyed reading all the above.I’ve started on my binder , THANKS for a lot of the hints. I wish here in Jacksonville taht some on did double coupons

  26. Rachel says:

    The best method I’ve found for organizing coupons does use a free website (which I won’t mention by name or link, just in case it’s still considered spamming). This website will post the advertised (and often unadvertised) sale items for popular grocery stores each week, and then also tell you which of those sale items have coupons which were in the Sunday paper within the last 3 or so months (and the date they were released). This way you are maximizing your savings with using coupons on sale items.
    So instead of cutting coupons, I just keep the circular ads intact, and write that Sunday’s date on the front. When I need a particular coupon, I can search for it in the coupon organizer website, then go to the corresponding ad for the date given and cut it out. I’m not cutting unnecessarily, and I just keep a small accordion file for loose coupons.

    • Salama says:

      I tried a paid coupon service before and the weekly lists for the stores wouldn’t be available until Tuesday so usually by the time I made it to the store on my lunch break or after work the items were low or out of stock… :-( That’s when I gave up on using coupons because I couldn’t find the items in the store. Now I’m willing to give coupons another try but I want to know how early in the week is the list usually available? I’ve heard a couple people make mention of using an online service and would like to try it if it’s convenient and beneficial.

      • Tina says:

        At times when the store is out of advertised products, I’ll ask for a rain-check and then go back with the rain-check and my coupon the next week or whenever the item is on the shelf again.

  27. Jennifer Walston says:

    Hello Everyone,
    I really enjoyed reading your posting. I just started couponing i was just wondering does anyone a game plan for saving the most money.

  28. Lynn says:

    Another coupon organizer tip: use the second section of your coupon organizer for any coupon expiring in the next 4 weeks (the first section is reserved for the coupons you’ll be using on your next trip to the grocery store, of course!) :) It only takes a couple minutes and you’ll always know which to use first!

    I have the rest of my coupon organizer very simply sorted by item type (cold, non-perishable, non-food, and other (for restaurants and such)). I only cut out coupons that I know I will use, or those that are an awesome deal, so I only have a wallet-sized accordion organizer right now. As I collect more, I’m sure I’ll be upgrading to a larger accordion organizer though! :)

  29. Yvette says:

    I am fairly new to this coupon clipping, but need to with economic times. I am excited, however my local grocery stores do not double coupons. Additionally, only one area grocery store will do a double coupon day twice a week but limits this to only 5 coupons. Any ideas or additonal suggestions in maximized my power?

  30. Trish says:

    Hey, coupon fans! Don’t forget your local non profit agencies when you are out there working your money saving magic! I have been a couponer for years and take great joy in passing on my freebies to those who need a little extra help. Charity to food banks is wonderful , but don’t forget about the other small agencies with big missions in your area. They still need to keep there offices supplied with hand soap, toliet paper , paper towels, etc. Every dime they can save on basic supplies can be redirected to provide services to the community.

  31. Jeanette says:

    Ok I must be stupid as I can not find baseball card sleeves at all! I don’t do credit cards so I have to find them in a local store. I have checked Wal-mart and another mega mart with no luck. I even checked Hobby Lobby. Any ideas?
    Thanks :)

    • robin barnett says:

      I have a bunch of old photo albums, the ones that are soft covered, and then sealed in plastic, I can’t describe them right, they are soft and bendable almost, not the stiff ones. the three to a page plastic slide in ones, which I had stuffed in an old box because I do everything with a digital camera now, so I use one per store, and another by product manufacturer, I use paper clips to hold the ones I am using to the inside cover and then keep the others in an accordian file that fits in the baby seat if its a store like walmart. tha way I can stuff all the coupons for one product into one portion of the page, and since there are three per each side of the page I can even seperate them into sections like pet, paper, cleaning, foods, drinks, and all per store,

    • Tina says:

      Try your office supply stores: Office Depot, Office Max, Staples, etc.

    • Rana B. says:

      I did the same as you, looking for the baseball card holders locally. If you’re like me and don’t have the time to be checking every store in town, might I suggest going to Amazon.com. There are so many different package options according to your needs. I bought a 100 page packet of b-ball card holders and split the with my mom so we each have 50 a piece. If you don’t need that many you can get 25 or 10…whatever suits your needs.

    • danette says:

      toy stores carry base-ball card organizers

    • ShaRon says:

      WalMart does carry the baseball card sleeves but you will need to ask for them. They are usually in the check out lane. I saw lots of different brands offered online at amazon. Also, the office supply stores carry them.

    • Angela says:

      Walmart carries them, they are on the registers with the baseball cards, usually on the back side of the tobaco isle.

    • mary says:

      I found the baseball card holders up front behind the checkout where you buy tobacco products. And at Target they are around the checkout lines. Hope this helps.

  32. Julie says:

    Maybe this will help…I found baseball card inserts at my Wal-Mart at the checkout aisle where baseball and trading cards are kept as well as the AS SEEN ON TV products. The baseball card inserts were all the way on the bottom shelf. Definitely hard to spot.

  33. Brankica says:

    I am just learning the art of couponing,since I just moved from Europe to USA but want to say that this site is the nicest in design, so clean and easy to find stuff and that I have learned more from this page than many others I read before.

    I am trying to find those baseball card holders to buy and I think that will be my choice for organizing coupons. At the moment I am using a small accordion like binder.

    • Gary says:

      Another thing that works great and what I use is a photo album with photo holders. Just like the baseball card holder but bigger slots for the coupons.

  34. bonyta says:

    quick question, it sounds a little dumb, but whe you are at the checkout with ur coupons, should you put each coupon with the item or hand them to the cashier as she scans them?

    • Gary says:

      no you want to scan your store card or loyalty card first so it brings it down to the lowest price first. Then you can just hand over your coupons to get the rest of the saving on the already lowered price.

    • Angela says:

      Coupons at the end!! Its much easier, on yourself and the cashier.

  35. Minna says:

    I use a binder system with baseball card sleeves and love it. It has taken me awhile to get it set up just they way that I like it. Now that it is set up I find it really easy to use. One thing that I have done and have not seen anyone else write about is I cut card stock to fit in the sleeves and am able to put one coupon in the front of the sleeve then a divider and then facing the other direction I am able to put in another coupon so I get double the space. This has made it a little less expensive since I don’t need to by so many divides it also allows me to only need one binder because at this rate if I had only one side of coupons ten I would be well into my second binder.

    I do have a few questions for the people on here that have be en doing this longer. My first question is for people living in FL, aside from buying several papers and printing them from online sources how do you get your coupons? And then my last question (for now) is does anyone know where I can get a spreadsheet that I can use for my grocery list that I can put in what I am buying, what the coupon amount is what the original price was and what the new sales price will be less my coupon. I have been looking and so far have had no luck finding anything.

    • shaRon Conway says:

      Try googling “coupon spreadsheet” or “coupon spreadsheet template” and take your pick! You will find thousands of results.

    • Linda says:

      When looking for extra coupons, stores like Publix and Winn-Dixie will have the SmartSource Coupon Boxes throughout the store. You can usually get two at a time (then pause and get more if desired) Get on the stores email and mailing lists as well so that you get them in the mail also. Finally, trade with friends and neighbors.

  36. Elizabeth says:

    I have been wanting to start using coupons more efficiently. I will use coupons for laundry detergents, soaps, toothpaste etc… However, many of the coupons say limited to five coupons on one purchase.. How do people buy 600 dollars worth of groceries and only pay 5 dollars? I would love to know the secrets :) On average I will save 15 dollars which is great but I am ready for the huge savings.

    • shaRon Conway says:

      Honestly, I don’t believe you can shop like an extreme couponer any longer. The jig is up and the secret is out among the retailers. They are putting quantity limits on the coupons; do not double or triple; no stacking; increasing minimum size purchases, etc. Plus many retailers limit the number of coupons accepted at checkout per customer (not transaction) per day and they track it with your loyalty card. It is unusual to find a retailer that allows unlimited coupons, doubles coupons, and accepts unlimited printed coupons, too. In my area Balto/Wash area, Shoppers and WalMart accept unlimited coupons but WalMart does not double. They have the best prices, too. I do not shop at others unless they have great sales. If you put in the necessary time and only shop sales and find a retailer that accepts unlimited coupons, then you can get the big savings you see on television. But who wants 100 large bottles of diet soda! Soda has an expiration date, too. Shop Smart and Happy couponing!!!

  37. shaRon Conway says:

    I have been able to take advantage of nearly every product except the paper goods (toilet paper and paper towels). How can you compare prices with or without coupons on packages that include different numbers of rolls and/or sheets depending on the store and/or brand? Any tips???

    • Lu says:

      Paper products are confusing, so many rolls, so many sheets, double or triple rolls…. I judge the better buy by how many Sq. ft. (square feet)for the price. It’s always near the bottom somewhere. That way it doesn’t matter if it’s 4 rolls or 8 rolls, it’s only what rolls out total! You will be surprised the different in some.

  38. AA says:

    DOESE ANYONE KNOW A GREAT WAY TO SEPARATE COUPONS?

  39. Brenda says:

    Just a little tip for sorting coupons when cutting them out….
    I buy four papers for the enclosed coupons.
    I take all the booklets of coupons that are alike and line then up on a table. I put all like pages together and line them up and put paperclips on the coupons that I want. That way when I cut them out, all four like coupons are already clipped together. Then as I cut them, I sort them in piles according to what item they are for. Believe me, it saves a lot of time and really helps with organization.

  40. Michelle says:

    When I last utilized coupons like a crazy lady most of them never expired. My setup was a small accordian file until I graduated to a shoebox with index divider cards and always always envelopes by store, with list of exact deals, how many I planned to purchase and the cost (with and without coupons) written directly on the front of that envelope. Gone are the days of unlimited triple and no expiration dates but most shops still take their coupons in combination with manufacturers. It’s still a bit of work but just new back in it I saved 40% at my last big trip and have already outgrown my purse system (lol) getting back into it in an effort to dent a growing food budget and the binder idea is a go, I think it brilliant, wish I had thought of it years ago. Just a few things I found that made couponing easiest for me. Sort by your most often shopped store aisles, take the extra time to pull all expiring coupons at the end of each month for the month coming, you can do that when you add new too, and keep them in a seperate envelope to use if the price is right. Be SURE that the item advertized is a good deal, have fun and splurge on something you might not otherwise treat yourself to as reward for the $ you saved. Happy couponing =)

  41. Melody says:

    I dont have time to go all over to multiple stores but want to save every penny I can! So in addition to coupons-dont forget walmart price matches. I take all my ads and make a separate list of items I could price match. This way I get each stores great deals but only one stop. Ive found cashiers appreciate if I put my price matches at end and it goes much easier!

  42. Debe says:

    I’m in Tucson Az; my stores ( Frys & Safeway mostly) DO NOT stack coupons! Occasionally, they will increase a coupons value up to 1.00.Which is great! My Walmart will ad match, But not on all things nor from all stores. Bring the ad. $$ off an item, usually. % off NO. Mine wont except other store’s coupons. (S.E. side) But I hear from friends that others in town do,ASK customer service, Cashiers & their superv. aren’t Always up to date.If I’ve asked the C.S. & a cashiers still refuses, I thank them & go right back with receipt to CS. Sometimes I’m in the wrong.But not always.Never be rude to the clerk! They are only doing their job. EVERY $$ helps I LOVE Frys CS & the personal coupons, that They mail to me; But never enough of them, or they are in amounts needed to purchased of things that can go bad quicker. ?? ( FOOD BANK on some things) The binder idea sounds good, I’ve used the shoebox style, Great at times, until a little one grabs & then coupons everywhere! Oh what fun! Happy Saving! ;~)


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