Organizing coupons

It's easy to get discouraged while you stare down at a huge jumble of coupons, especially one that you have to dig through every single time you want to use just one coupon. (SHNS photo courtesy Kasey Trenum)  [Photo via Newscom]

Scripps Howard News Service

I've got coupons everywhere! There has to be a better way; how do you organize your coupons?

One of the biggest hurdles a new couponer has to overcome is organization. It's important to find a system that works for you. Otherwise, it's easy to get discouraged while you stare down at a huge jumble of coupons, especially, one that you have to dig through every single time you want to use just one.

There is a solution! All it takes is a little time on the front end, and you can easily manage the madness and put an end to chaos.

The binder method starts with a large three ring binder, dividers, and several sets of baseball card holders. Use the dividers to break up your binder into categories that make sense to you such as dairy, refrigerated, and laundry.

The first step is clipping your coupons. If you get multiple copies of the paper each week, then I would recommend stacking your inserts by page and stapling each stack of like coupons right over the picture. Then, you only have to cut one time, and all your like coupons will be held together and easier to file.

Next, file your coupons into the correct category. Many people like this method because it is easy to flip through and see what you have on hand at any time.

The file-box method is similar to the binder except you will use a small- to medium-sized box and tabbed dividers to sort your coupons. Each stapled stack of coupons is filed into the appropriate category so you know exactly where to look when you need it. This method is slightly quicker than the binder method. However, you will have to sort through all the coupons in a category each time you want to pull one out.

If you don't have time for a binder or file box, the whole-insert filing method is your friend. All you will need is some kind of file box, folders, and a marker. Each week pull the inserts out of your Sunday newspaper and place them in a file folder. Date the folder with that Sunday's date, and simply place in a file box by date. If you happen to get behind, don't fret. The spine of each insert is labeled with the date.

Keep in mind that there are tons of systems out there. There is no right or wrong way; it's all about finding the system that fits into your life and works for you!

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