Grocery Coupon Organizer Methods - The $5,000 Money Saving Mama Challenge

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Grocery Coupon Organizer Methods - Find Your Solution

piggy bank with coupon organization
Grocery coupon organizer holders and coupon organizing are important parts of a Coupon Queen's hobby. Learn how to organize coupons by developing a coupon organization system that is personalized and works for you.

The problem with teaching someone how to organize coupons is that there are many different coupon organizing systems, and adaptations of these systems.

Each individual person will want to organize in a different way.

The key here is not the way in which you keep track of your coupons, but just the fact that you do keep track of your coupons!

Let's go though some important methods of organization, and then we'll talk about different coupon holders.

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Grocery Coupon Organizer - Methods

The following grocery coupon organizer methods should get you sorted. These methods will help you find your coupons in any holder you choose. Once you've decided how to sort your coupons, head over to the Coupon Categories list to figure out what categories you want to use.


Many Coupon Queens prefer to sort their coupons alphabetically. This means that they will take the name of the product, for example, Kraft Singles, and file it under "K" for Kraft. A Totino's Pizza Rolls will go under "T" for Totino's, and so forth. This method is great if you are a brand name shopper who remembers all the different brand names, but can be confusing if you are not.

Walking the Store

Another coupon organization method is to set up your system to coincide with how your store is laid out. If, for example, you start in the produce department, your produce coupons would come first in your file.

Go to frozen foods next? Place this category next in your file. Make your way through canned goods, baking items, and then cereal? You got it! This method works well for those who mainly shop at one store, but if you shop multiple stores, they will all be laid out a little (and sometimes a lot!) differently.

Categories or Departments
Most people use the following coupon organizing system. Set up your files to reflect different categories or departments in your store. Again, check out the Coupon Categories list for specifics. This is probably the easiest and best way to get started in how to organize coupons.

Expiration Date

Though I have personally not tried this coupon organization method, many couponers report that they file their coupons by expiration date. After clipping their coupons, they file them with the soonest expiration in the front, and the furthest expiration in the back.

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  • How to Organize Coupons by Store

    Regardless of which method you use to sort, it's important that when you decide to take advantage of a sale or special at a particular store, you get organized before entering the store. There is nothing worse than trying to figure out the best deals in the aisles! I have a separate area in my grocery coupon organizer for each particular store that I regularly shop at.

    I place store coupons in this area, as well as coupons that I've pulled from my main coupon organizing system to correspond with a sale. Before leaving for the store, I've printed out a "cheat sheet" with notes on what items are on sale as well as what coupons go with them. (Hint, I get this list from my inexpensive subscription to Check it out!) This way, when I enter the store, I'm ready to go! Now, occasionally, I'll get to the store and see some fantastic items on clearance and will look through my coupon binder for the coupons I'm sure I have, but looking up a couple items doesn't take too long. Looking up dozens of sale items in the store is a pain in the neck.

    Send Expired Coupons to Military Families

    send expired coupons to military families No matter which type of grocery coupon organizer you choose, it's very important that at the end of each month you take 10 minutes to go through your coupon organization system and purge expired coupons.

    The last thing you want to do is to find a great sale and realize your coupons are expired. Purging also makes it easier to find coupons that aren't expired.

    Don't throw away your expired coupons, however. Military families can use them at their commissaries for up to six months after they have expired. You can donate your coupons to organizations that distribute them to military families here: Overseas Couponing Program

    Grocery Coupon Organizers

    Here it is, the information you have been looking for! Where, on earth, do you store all those coupons? From the simple coupon clutch to the state-of-the-art coupon binder, here are your organizers!

    Coupon Clutch

    Nearly everyone who has ever clipped a coupon has at one time or anther owned (or wished they'd owned) a simple coupon clutch. Designed to hold a couple hundred coupons, these purse-sized contraptions are a must for the beginning (and sometimes expert) couponer.

    Coupon clutches are so important, that I've written a whole page on them. Check it out here at Clutch Method of Couponing.

    homemade coupon binder
    Coupon Binder

    Every coupon user has their preferred grocery coupon organizer, and mine is the coupon binder. And yes, with exception to the "file whole inserts" method, I have tried them all.

    Picture a very large three-ring binder, filled with plastic sleeves holding thousands of coupons. That's a coupon binder.

    Visit the Binder Method of Couponing page for complete instructions (including step-by-step video) on how to construct your own.

    File Box Method

    Another extremely popular grocery coupon organizer is the file box method. This is a small suitcase like box that sits in the baby seat of the shopping cart. Able to hold thousands of coupons, this box is portable, and very well organized.

    Visit the File Method to Couponing for information on how to construct or purchase this coupon organizing system for yourself.

    File Whole Inserts

    I've known a few couponers who absolutely swear by the following coupon organization method, but it would not be my top choice to teach someone how to organize coupons. But then, admittedly, I've not personally used this system.

    Some couponers purchase an actual filing cabinet, or filing tote from an office supply store, complete with dividers, and will file their inserts, uncut, in chronological order. Then, when they have a sale and need a coupon, they pull the inserts, clip the coupons, and refile the inserts.

    The big advantage to this coupon organization method is that they do not have to clip (and store) hundreds of coupons that they will never use. The big disadvantage is that they do not enter stores with all their coupons on them. What happens when you find that deal on the clearance shelves that would make an unexpected item free with the coupons you have at home? Disappointing.

    Also, this grocery coupon organizer would still need a way to bring the coupons to the store. Most likely, a coupon clutch is used as well.

    Envelope Method

    Just getting started in your couponing hobby and need a free, quick, and easy how to organize coupons method? Try the envelope method. Recycle several old mailing envelopes (the kind those ugly bills come in) and write a department or coupon category on each one. Create an additional envelope (or envelopes, depending on how many stores you shop) for store coupons, or coupons you intend to use at a particular sale.

    Tote these along with you on your next shopping trip. The major disadvantage to this method? Losing the envelopes! There's nothing worse that going to the store with 9 envelopes, when you expected to have 10. (Ask me how I know this.)

    I usually use envelopes for my store sales and coupons. I store these in a pocket in my couponing binder.

    Separate Systems

    I've mentioned many different ways to choose your perfect grocery coupon organizer, but I want to stress that you can combine more than one method. For example, I use the envelope method for each particular store, combined with the coupon binder for the bulk of my coupons.

    I also use a coupon clutch for restaurants and entertainment offers that I like to keep in the glove compartment box of our truck. I can't tell you how many times emergency coupons to ChuckECheese's have come in handy!

    Sneak Peak at Next Week

    Like this section on coupon organizational tips? Next week we'll talk about how to save money on groceries without using coupons. We'll go over cost effective meal preparation, grocery shopping tips, and more.

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    How Much Will These Couponing Organization Tips Save You?

    I'd love to hear how you are coming with your frugal and free challenge.

    How do you organize your couponing hobby?

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    Related Pages

  • Online Couponing Classes
  • Print a Grocery Shopping List
  • Organize by Categories
  • Grocery Coupon Organizing Methods
  • File Method to Couponing
  • Binder Method of Couponing
  • Clutch Method of Couponing

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