Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Coupon Organization

Since there weren't any coupons in this weeks paper (due to the holiday, in case you're wondering), I thought I would take the time to share how I organize all my coupons.

I was spending too much time clipping & organizing coupons, so this is what I decided to do. If a coupon comes out that I want more than just a few of, I will buy them from either ebay, mycouponhunter.com, thecouponclippers, or thecouponmaster. For instance, I bought 20 Yo-Plus yogurt coupons for $1.00 off a 4-pack on ebay for $1.50 toal (including shipping!). This is a great deal for us as we buy tons of yogurt and we can freeze it.

This how I organize my coupons:
  • I get 3 copies of each weeks coupons (we get the paper delivered and my mom gets both Lincoln's & Omaha's paper and she gives me her coupons.)
  • Put the date on the front with a big black marker. The date is always in very small font on the outside spine of each insert.
  • I flip through them quickly and cut only the coupons I already know I will use (yogurt coupons mostly)
  • File the coupons by date in an expandable file folder. I have 2 so I can keep about 4 months worth of inserts which should be long enough until all coupons in that insert are expired.
  • When there is a sale, or I find out about a deal, or I see clearance items, I use an online coupon database to look up if there are any coupons and then I pull the correct insert and clip the coupon. I use this database: http://www.afullcup.com/coupons/
    • To use the database, type in a keyword (try yogurt) in the "description" field and click "submit".
    • Look through the list and when you find a coupon you are interested in, look in the "Coupon Type" column. If it came out in the newspaper, the source will say "Sunday Supplement" followed by a date and either "SS' or "RP" or "PG" or "GM" (If it says printable, you can click on the description and go print it!)
    • For instance it may say "Sunday Supplement 8-1-10 SS". This means it came out on Aug 1, 2010 in the SmartSource insert. The front of the insert will say "Smart Source" usually along the top.
    • There are 4 sponsored inserts:
      • SS = SmartSource (pretty much every week)
      • RP = RedPlum (pretty much every week)
      • GM = General Mills (not very often)
      • PG = Proctor&Gamble (once a month)
For the coupons I clip, I keep 2 letter size organizers, one is for food and the other is for everything else such as HBA, cleaning supplies, store coupons, etc. These two organizers are kept in my car most of the time and I can carry them into the store if I think I need them.

I have a small 3rd organizer that I keep in my purse that is organized by store. I found that as I was preparing for a shopping outing, I liked having my coupons organized by store so I wouldn't forget anything on each trip. I was carrying around envelopes of coupons for each store, so I custom made an organizer that I love - it has spots for Target, Walgreens, Walmart, CVS, misc stores and receipts. You could do the same thing with a small coupon organizer, often found in the dollar section of Target, or at Dollar Tree.

When your expandable file folders are full, it's time to start purging the oldest inserts. You can either flip through and check the expiration date on each coupon, or you can first check here:


Taylortown Preview lists all the coupons that came in each insert, and they have a master list of all current (unexpired) coupons, organzed by insert. Click on the link above and then scroll down to find the insert you're looking for. If the insert is not even listed. then all the coupons in it are expired, so toss the insert. If the insert is listed and there is only 1 or 2 coupons listed in it, flip through your insert, see if your region received that coupon (not all regions receive all coupons, the larger the city, the more likely it received the coupon). If you find the unexpired coupon, clip it and file it in your small letter size organizer, then toss the insert.

This all sounds like a lot of work, but really, it's much easier than clipping and filing all coupons each week. You will have to spend an hour or two every few months to purge the old inserts, but your weekly efforts will be low as you simply clip a couple coupons, write the date on the insert and file it away and you're done!

The Bargainista

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