Until you master this step, you will feel disorganized, unsettled, and unsure of what you have, and you will probably feel like you aren’t succeeding at couponing. Getting coupons is easy, but organizing and maintaining organization can be daunting. Even if you order your coupons cut and sorted, you will still need a method to keep them in that condition. You will have to spend some time working on organization every week. You decide how much time you want to spend. More time organizing at home means less time searching at the store and more savings.
I have a four part system:
First, I have the pile of unsorted, unorganized inserts I just obtained. Generally, I am not able to sort and file the day I obtain my inserts. So, I have a small sanity pile that I allow myself to sort at a reasonable pace.
Secondly, I have a filing system by Type (Smart Source, Red Plum, P&G, GM, Local, etc.) and Date Issued. I like to keep these collated so that all the front pages of the SmartSource blank date are together, and all the second pages, and so on. This allows me to clip in bulk easily and quickly.
Thirdly, I have a small stack of coupons that I found in cereal boxes, microwave meals, mailings, catalinas, or envelopes I received from trading online. This small stack gets put away every few days so as not to pile up to an unmanageable state.
Finally, I have my coupon binder. It’s filled with baseball card protector pages. I’ve found this size most helpful as most coupons will fit in without being folded. Inside my binder I keep my coupons organized by the departments at Wal-Mart (since their store has the most inventory). I only cut coupons for items I know I am going to buy (i.e. favorite toilet paper, diapers, *HOT* deals I can’t pass up that week, etc.). I leave the rest of the coupons in their inserts filed away in a drawer. I will go back as necessary and cut the coupons I need in bulk from those inserts.
I’ve also discovered recently that when I am clipping coupons, it’s most efficient for me to cut with a paper cutter and file that coupon into my binder immediately. Doing so makes it easy to stop at a moment’s notice to help the children or take a break.