Thursday, March 4, 2010

My Coupon Storage System

There are a lot of systems out there that people use to store their coupons.  Some people go with the tried-and-true coupon file.  Some have great big binders with sports cards storage pages to hold their coupons.  Others go with fancy coupon storage systems available for sale.

Me, I use the whole insert method of storing coupons.

I have about sixteen or so hanging files in a filing cabinet in my den.  The first one is for coupon booklets.  After that, they are labeled by date.  For instance, the oldest insert file I have right now is from December 6.  Each week, as I get inserts from my local paper or my free community paper inserts, I make a label for that date and file them away.

When I go to plan my shopping list, I check websites which list the best deals and have coupon matchups for them.  Then, I go to my file, pull out the correct insert, flip through it until I find the coupon, and cut it out.  Then the insert goes back into the file.

I collect the coupons for each store that I'll be visiting and paper clip them together.  Thus, I don't have to bring all my coupons to a store - it's much easier this way.  The only downside is that if I come across an unexpected sale, I can't check my stash to see if I have a matching coupon.

I keep about four months' worth of coupons.  At the end of the month, I'll get rid of the earliest month of coupons I have... but I do something a little different.  By four months, most of the coupons in the inserts have expired, but occasionally there will still be a few good ones.  How do I not throw the baby out with the bathwater?

This is what I do: I go to the Hot Coupon World database and search for the date of the insert that I'm about to throw out.  Since the HCW database by default only shows active coupons, I'll be able to see which coupons haven't passed their expiration date.  I then read the list and see if there are any coupons that I want to clip out.

So, for instance, I checked the database with the November dates and found there was a coupon for Fleischmann's yeast in the 11-08 Smartsource.  So, I went through all of the copies of that insert and cut out just that coupon, then happily put the rest in the recycling bin.

I do have a small coupon book to hold coupons I've cut out this way, or for printable coupons (like the flour coupon you can see on the right), or for coupons I've cut out but ended up not using.  It's a small photo album with 36 pockets.  I have labels on the pages for the type of coupon, but I don't get too detailed in classification since there aren't that many coupons in there to begin with.  I sort through this once a month and throw out the expired coupons. 

Check out Madame Deals for more ideas on saving money!

What coupon system do you use?

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Catherine March 4, 2010 at 3:54 PM  

This is similar to what I do, but I love the idea of using Hot Coupon World to check for unexpired coupons! I am still saving inserts from October. NO MORE! Thanks for the tips. :-)

Kanietha March 4, 2010 at 4:55 PM  

I use a 180 sleeve 4 X 6 photo album (4 sleeves on each page) I organize according to the grocery store I shop the most, and separate the sections with tabs for easy locating.

Renae @ Madame Deals March 4, 2010 at 6:50 PM  

Thanks for linking up! The HCW tip is great! I never thought of doing that to check expiration dates for inserts. Thank you!

Proverbs 31 Gal March 5, 2010 at 12:32 PM  

i love using a coupon binder...i actually use an orange one of these:

i just weekly go through my binder and take out expired coupons, plus i never have to dig and figure out where a coupon is. it's so simple!

Jina @ The Frugal Mind March 5, 2010 at 4:28 PM  

Stopping by from the Blog Hop! I love to see how others organize their coupons! I'm still trying out a few different ways to see what works best for me.

Shandi Sequoia,  July 10, 2011 at 12:57 AM  

Wow, what an interesting way to organize your coupons. Thanks for sharing and passing on your ideas:)

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