Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Organizing Hundreds of Coupons

Keeping your coupons organized is a must for any avid couponer.  There is nothing worse than getting to the grocery store and having to sort through hundreds of coupons to find the ten or twelve (or fifty) that are applicable to your order.  (Well, dropping them all over the floor at the grocery store is worse I suppose).

Many couponers have found the secret to staying organized is not a one-size-fits-all system.  It all depends on how you shop and how you can stay organized.  It also is based on how many deals you want to take advantage of.  If you try and hit every deal, you are sure to become exhausted, but what if you wanted to stock up and donate?  Should you keep every coupon, every insert that comes your way?  I can't answer that - only you can choose the system that works for you.

I stay organized by using a 13 pocket organizer.  11 pockets are dedicated for storing coupons between trips to the store.  I have them grouped alphabetically (though within each pocket the coupons are not alphabetical).  A/B, C/D, E/F, G/H, I/J, K/L, M/N, O/P, Q/R, S/T, U/V/W/X/Y/Z.  Going through one pocket at a time is much easier and I can look based on the brand I want to compare.  I started out with a category heading (produce, meat, canned goods, frozen, etc) and found that I really just wanted to see if XYZ brand was going to give me a better deal with a coupon.  The back pocket of my file holds the coupons I plan to use on my shopping trip.  Getting them organized prior to the trip saves me lots of time in the store.  The front pocket holds any coupons for retail stores or restaurants.

I also keep a running spreadsheet with all of my coupons listed.  I have the following column heads "Item" "Quantity" "Deal" "Expiration" and "Source".  The item column contains the products, the quantity column contains the number of actual coupons I have available, the deal column lists the coupon value ($1/2, BOGO, FREE, $.25), the expiration column lists the expiration date, and the source column lists if it is a paper coupon that I have in hand, or a coupon loaded onto my Kroger Plus Card.  I sort the spreadsheet alphabetically and then by expiration.  That way, I know which coupons to use up first when there are multiple coupons for the same item.  I print this out and take it to the store with me for a quick reference guide.

Some may say this is a little excessive, but it's what keeps me organized.  How do you organize your coupons?  What methods have you tried and found to be unsuccessful?

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