December 8, 2012

Not So Extreme Couponing: Organizing Your Coupons

If you’ve been reading since day one, have you done your homework from the last two posts? Do you have any questions? I’d be happy to help!

Ok, so now that you’ve started clipping coupons it’s time to organize them!

There are two ways to organize your coupons…with a shoe box or a binder. I prefer the shoe box so that’s what I’m going to show you today.

Not So Extreme Couponing: Organizing Your Coupons

I like using a shoe box because there is a lid that keeps my coupons secure. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dropped my box and would just die if my coupons went flying across the parking lot. The shoe box system is also good for holding the supplies you need to go in your box.


Other than a shoe box (which you can get at the dollar store for a buck), you will also need a few other items. Most of these can also be found at the dollar store. First, you will need envelopes and file tabs. The legal size envelopes work the best because you will end up with several different sizes of coupons. You will also need some sort of file tabs to label your envelopes. Next you will need scissors because, well, you’ll have to cut out those coupons somehow. They are also necessary for when you are at the store and you need to clip coupons out of the flyers that you pick up at the door as you walk into the store. Another must have is a pen or maybe even a handful of pens to make your shopping list and then for crossing items off your shopping list. Last but not least you will need a calculator. You will use this A LOT! I often use my calculator to calculate cost per unit…it’s the best way to know if you’re getting a good deal. I normally just use the calculator on my iPhone but it’s nice to have a backup in my box.

Now let’s move on to actually filing your coupons.


Getting categories together for my coupon box was difficult for me at first so I’m going to list my categories to give you a start on yours. There is not concrete way to categorize your coupons. Some file their coupons by item type and some file theirs by the aisles at the grocery store they visit most often. I categorize mine by type. I also have envelopes for the stores (labeled with different colored tabs than my coupons.

Here is a list of my coupon categories. Please don’t laugh at my categories. This is just how my brain works. Not sure I should have admitted that to the world…

Stores: (I have envelopes for stores that issue their own coupons. Also, be sure to keep a copy of each store’s coupon policy in their envelope.)

  • Target
  • CVS
  • Walgreens
  • Homeland (local store)

Coupons: (The first is a general category and any subs off of those are where I’ve divided my coupons out further because my envelopes would get too full. I still need to break down some of my categories)

  • Baby
  • Baking (sugar, oil, flour, etc.)
    • Baking Mixes (box mixes like cakes, muffins, etc.)
    • Baking Spices & Marinades
  • Beverages
    • Beverages – Juice(bottled)/Kool-Aid/Mixes
    • Beverages – Soda/Bottled Water
    • Beverages – Coffee & Tea
  • Boxed/Packaged Meals
  • Breads/Crackers/Cookies
  • Breakfast Cereal & Granola Bars (really need to break this down by brand)
  • Candy
  • Canned Goods
  • Cleaning
    • Cleaning – Air Fresheners
    • Cleaning – Bathroom
    • Cleaning – Dishes/Kitchen
    • Cleaning – Floors
    • Cleaning – Furniture
    • Cleaning – Multi-Purpose
  • Condiments (dressings & sauces)
  • Cosmetics
  • Dairy
    • Dairy – Biscuits/Butter
    • Dairy – Cheeses
    • Dairy – Desserts/Dips/Yogurt
    • Dairy – Milk/Juice/Eggs
  • Deli (lunchmeats, bacon, etc.)
  • Deodorant
  • Eye Care
  • Feminine
  • Frozen
    • Frozen – Breads
    • Frozen – Breakfast
    • Frozen – Desserts
    • Frozen – Meals
    • Frozen – Veggies
  • Fruit/Fruit Snacks
  • Hair Care
  • Household
  • Laundry
  • Meats
  • Medicine Cabinet
  • Oral Care
  • Paper/Plastic (paper towels, toilet paper, plastic bags & containers, etc.)
  • Pets
  • Produce
  • Skin
    • Skin – Lotion
    • Skin – Shaving
    • Skin – Soap
  • Snacks/Chips
  • Toys
  • Restaurants
  • Miscellaneous Retail Coupons

Whew! That’s a long list but it makes my list making and shopping so much easier!

Some tips about your coupon box

Take your coupon box with you every time you leave the house. You never know when you’re going to make a quick run into a store. Seriously ladies, how many times do you just run in to Target? Did you know you can stack their coupons with manufacturer coupons? We’ll discuss that in the coming weeks.

DO NOT be ashamed to carry your box into the store. At first this was hard for me. Do you have any idea how hard it is to hide a shoe box as you’re walking into a store?! Now I carry it with pride and if anyone gives me a strange look I just think to myself, “You go ahead and stare. I bet I save way more money than you. Sucker!”

Guard your coupon box with your life! Your coupons will become very precious to you. Last year, while under a tornado warning, my niece told my sister to make sure she took her coupon box down to the storm shelter. Ha! We even have the littles trained to save money!

Need to get caught up?

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1 comment:

  1. Love the shoe box idea and I wonder why I did not think of it sooner. I have struggled with the binder so many times. I almost stopped couponing because the binder was just not functional for me. When my brother and his wife built their house, they used this method to keep everything organized. Thank you for sharing.


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