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Dear Darlene… How do you organize all your printable coupons?

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Dear Darlene,

Can I ask how you organize all those printables? I don’t know what to do with mine, just starting out… (click here to see the stack of coupons Nancy is referring to)

Signed, Nancy


Dear Nancy,

I think filing coupons is the hardest part about couponing. I have tried every method and I don’t think there is any one right way. I ended up with a combination of methods (see photos and my system below), but it does NOT include binders. I quickly discovered that I hated binders.

Here are some of my suggestions:

DO NOT spend lots of money on coupon supplies before you even start couponing. If you spend $30 on a binder in an attempt to save money, your priorities might not be in order.

DO NOT get discouraged if you hate your system. Just try something new!

DO NOT start out big. Get a feel for couponing by following quick scenarios that your bloggers set up for you… like this mini scenario that I posted.

DO NOT feel like you have to print every coupon out there. As you get a feel for it, you will start to know which coupons you should print.

DO NOT give up.  Just don’t!

Here is what I do with my printable coupons:

I use two shoeboxes, one stacked on top of the other. In the top box, I have coupons sorted by store and by category. When I clip a coupon that I know for sure I will use at Walmart and only Walmart, it goes in the Walmart envelope. If I have a coupon that is for something that I buy often and at any store (cereal, dairy, Pillsbury, etc.), I file that by category.

In the bottom box, I have coupons that are filed by expiration date. I love the expiration date system because it is sooooo easy to purge expired coupons. However, if you use the expiration date system, you need to type up a spreadsheet and include every coupon in those envelopes and keep the list updated or you will not know what coupons are in those evelopes.

As for inserts, I do not clip those coupons until I need them.

Here is what I carry into the store. Pretty, huh? It’s two stacked shoeboxes in a plastic bag.  Total cost: $0.00

This is the top shoebox with my store specific and category specific coupons. And that paper folded and tucked in the back is my spreadsheet for the coupons in the bottom box. On the right is my handy dandy calculator and pad of paper. There are also scissors in the box in case I need to stab someone cut coupons that I find on the coupon table.

And this is the bottom box with the coupons sorted by expiration date. I still need to add my end of the month coupons to these envelopes.

As for binders, been there, done that.  I hate them. It’s too much work to put the coupons in the sleeves and way too much work to purge expired coupons. And I could not stand flipping through the pages while trying to balance the binder on the cart. My bag of boxes fits perfectly in the child seat and stays put. It works for me… for now.

If you have a Dear Darlene question, click here to send me an email. If you have an urgent question, it’s better to post on my facebook page and if I’m not around, someone else will most likely help you.


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