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See I told you, this would help!

Coupon Abbreviations
  • SC = Store Coupon
  • MC = Manufacturer Coupon
  • SS = Smart Source
  • RP = Red Plum
  • PG = Proctor and Gamble
Coupon Terms
  • WYB = When You Buy
  • B1G1 = Buy One Get One Free
  • .75/1 = 75 cents off one item
  • .75/3 = 75 cents off three items
  • EXP = Expiration Date

Going Nuts? I can help you understand coupon terms and abbreviations

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Whether you decide to go with the file folder or binder organization method, it is a lot cheaper to make your organizer yourself. The price will vary based on the materials you select, but it will easily be half the price of buying a pre-made organizer.

On the road to save money?  Here are some DIY coupon organizers that are really helpful!

The instructions are very simple, but you can get as crafty and decorative as you would like.

I’m linking you to items to give you an idea of what they look like, but you can probably find them cheaper in stores or waiting for sales. With some of the materials, it is a lot cheaper to buy in bulk and split with a friend.

File Organizer

For the file folder, you can buy one at most local stores. This is a large folder that can hold whole inserts.  There are typically two sizes, a 7 and 13 pocket size.  Go for the 13 pocket.  This will let you hold 12 weeks of inserts before needing to clean any out.  I use the last pocket to hold flyers and booklets I found in the store.

To go along with the file folder, you will need a canceled check file.

You will use the canceled check file for loose coupons. This will include in-store dispenser coupons, printable coupons, previously clipped coupons, and more.  As couponing has gotten common place many of these are now called coupon folders.  You’ll see these everywhere, I have even seen them in the $1 section at Target.

You want to organize it by large locations in the store. For labeling categories I use:

Baby, Canned/Boxed Goods, Cereals, Desserts/Baking, Snacks/Drinks, Other food, Toiletries, Drugs, Paper goods, Cleaning products, Refrigerated, and lastly Frozen foods.

Large Box Method

This is where you want to keep all the coupons with you.  The basic coupon folder won’t work because you’ll have way to many coupons in each category.  So now you want to go with something larger that has many more pockets.  Here is where we get crafty!

The best box I’ve had was really a bag lunchbox turned coupon bag.  It’s super easy.

Materials Needed:

Rectangular Lunchbox
Get three coupon files that will fit inside one bag.
(the products linked will work together though these will be cheaper bought locally)

Set It Up:

1. Cut the top closure flap off your coupon files so that they stay permanently open.
2. Label your dividers with different categories, the coupon file should come with labels in it.
3. Put all three files into the bag.
4. Fill with coupons!

Binder Method

Along with being the most complicated method, this is also the most expensive method to make.

Materials Needed:

Zipper 3 Ring Binder
Baseball Card Sleeves or Business Card Sleeves
Dividers

Set It Up:

1. Label Dividers
2. Inserts Dividers and Baseball or Business Card Sleeves
3. Separate Sleeves By Dividers
4. Clip Coupons
5. Insert Coupons Into Individual Slots

Check back tomorrow as we talk about things that keep us from saving the most.

    • Guest

      I use a combination method, with one of those plastic file boxes and enough hanging files for 12 weeks worth of inserts – an idea I think I first saw through a link on this site. Newest in front, oldest in back. Every week take out the oldest folder, clip any coupons that are still good, toss the insert, and put your newest insert in the folder and hang it in the front. I use post-it notes to write the date on the hanging folder. The clipped coupons, plus store flyers for the week and miscellaneous coupons from other sources go into the binder. Print out your shopping/coupon lists, pull your coupons, and head to the store. Easy!

    • I’ve used the file method for the past two years and it works pretty well for me. I also have a “big box method” idea: those photo boxes that you can get at Michael’s ($1.40 on sale the other week) come with 4-5 dividers. If you get a few together, you’d have a nice organizer. I’m thinking about trying that.

    • Lj

      I started with the binder method and 3+ years later, still use that method. I’m a tad bit OCD and love being able to see something on sale or clearance in the store and have my coupon to match it up with me. I just had my 2nd child in Nov and with a 3 year old, grocery shopping can be a little interesting if I have them both with me. I know it’s not the best way to coupon, but I’ve changed the way I shop just a bit. When I see I’m out of shampoo for instance, I just see what the store has on sale and what matches up with my coupons and get the best price possible. I do this A LOT with toilet paper and paper towels. Just wait till I need it and then match up with the best price I can. I can do my shopping like this because I’m using the binder method. I know it can cause me to spend a little bit more at times, but right now it fits my busy lifestyle and otherwise I may have to quit couponing just to keep my sanity.

    • MB

      I started out using the binder method, and found out that I was wasting too much time — between cutting out every coupon, filing them, and pulling out the expired ones. For those of you that have some knowledge of Excel, I feel this is the easiest way to keep track of my coupons. I date each coupon flyer, enter the product, date of flyer, name of flyer, expiration date, etc. I then file them by date in a file folder. All loose coupons go into a file box (alphabetically) to match the Excel page. Excel allows you to locate the coupons quickly, and all the information is on the page. I leave it in alphabetical order, and at the beginning of the month, I change my sort to the expiration field and I can delete all the expired coupons in a flash.

      • Maimaie

        I am in love with excel for organizing things! This method sounds magical (can you tell I really like to organize?!) I used to flip through the inserts looking for the coupons, but I get so few coupons in my sunday paper that I was often disappointed, then the raised the price of the sunday paper (from $1.50 to $3). I decided that it wasn’t worth my time to spend the $3, waste 20-30 minutes each week and find maybe one or two useful coupons (that didn’t save me the $3 initial investment). I considered buying inserts online, but once again the thought of wasting 30 minutes and finding few coupons stopped me.

        How long does it take you to enter the information on Sunday mornings?

        • Lynette

          I don’t use excel. I tried, but I am not a quick learner. I like the binder method. I recommend you order coupons from whole-coupon inserts.com. I have done this several times. It is worth the shipping and the clipping! I have traded coupons with folks on Southernsavers and I have benefited from having multiples coupons in order to stockpile.

    • staceyhamrick

      I like the binder method to organize, I was lucky and bought my binders (3) one for edible, one for paper/cleaning products, and one for health and beauty at Office Depot for .35 on clearance. Since I didn’t want to spend to save I bought paper folders for my dividers cut them in half and used a hole punch. I use regular printer paper and paper clips in each folder. I go through the ads and pull out the coupons I will use and place them according to store in a small divider I place in my purse, store coupons stay in the purse divider. It works for me. I found it takes me longer to flip through the inserts by date to find coupons. I tried and I always missed something, since coupons vary by region I found myself looking for a coupon that wasn’t there and it was disappointing I would even look again to make sure I didn’t miss it. I do spend about an hour and a half on Sunday cutting and filing but it saves me time the rest of the week, I can flip to my tab and see if I have it. Instead of flipping through inserts several times a week.

    • staceyhamrick

      I like the binder method to organize, I was lucky and bought my binders (3) one for edible, one for paper/cleaning products, and one for health and beauty at Office Depot for .35 on clearance. Since I didn’t want to spend to save I bought paper folders for my dividers cut them in half and used a hole punch. I use regular printer paper and paper clips in each folder. I go through the ads and pull out the coupons I will use and place them according to store in a small divider I place in my purse, store coupons stay in the purse divider. It works for me. I found it takes me longer to flip through the inserts by date to find coupons. I tried and I always missed something, since coupons vary by region I found myself looking for a coupon that wasn’t there and it was disappointing I would even look again to make sure I didn’t miss it. I do spend about an hour and a half on Sunday cutting and filing but it saves me time the rest of the week, I can flip to my tab and see if I have it. Instead of flipping through inserts several times a week.

    • Mark

      I found that cutting coupons and filing took too much of my time so I have plastic protectors that are used for comic books. I put each weeks coupon inserts into a plastic protector with a piece of paper in front with the date. I put a whole piece of paper after them and then the next week of inserts I put on the other side so I get 2 weeks of inserts per protector. When I find a deal needing coupons I just go to the insert referenced and cut it out then. I keep about 4 protectors going so every month or so I go through the oldest set of inserts and then cut out any coupons that haven’t expired, seldom are there more than 1 or 2, and then get rid of them. My Mom recently told me something about military over seas being able to use expired coupons from the inserts up to maybe like 6 months so I’m going to look into where/how to give those to them.

      • Jeffy Walker

        MIght try that!!

    • vstringham

      I like the binder method. I haven’t spent a lot of money. Used a binder I already had and didn’t buy dividers. I just cut cardstock and wrote divisions on there and taped them on the baseball card pages. So my only investment was the pages. I bought a pack of 10 for 3.47 each time I maxed out when I first started. I ended up with about 40 pages total. That has been plenty. It’s the right amount for me as I remove expired coupons I have room for new ones. I do have to spend time cutting and removing, but I enjoy it. I’m a wife, teacher, and mom of two teenagers, but making time for something I enjoy that saves money for my family is worth it. I like having the binder with me to get any unadvertised deals.

    • Kim

      I use the binder method. I bought the baseball card holders at the Dollar Tree! It is extremely time consuming, especially since I have found that coupon expiration dates have gotten shorter and shorter over the last few years. Because I am a very busy mom and teacher, I usually just keep my binder along with all the loose inserts in a reusable grocery bag. When I have the time to clip, I file them. I think that I will need to get a large file organizer to keep the inserts in, that would keep them from getting bunched up!

    • Chelsea Richards

      It could be extremely intense when you begin storing. I regularly get asked how I form my coupons. Well for me conglomeration is the most essential part to stockpiling achievement. In the event that you are unorganized then you are essentially not set to have the capacity to safeguard as much cash in light of the fact that you won’t have the ability to discover your coupons to take advantage of bargains. And at the point that you are presently using envelopes or a shoe box then you get what I’m trying to say. :D
      TheLegacyDrawer.com

    • camper2

      I started (5+ years ago) with the binder method and clipped all the coupons. Being home with babies a lot I actually enjoyed clipping in front of the tv at night etc. Now…I’m working at the kids school and that kind of time is GONE! Thankfully my binder (bought 75% off at Target btw) has a section of expanding files in the front. Now I just date the flyers and store them in that section. I print my shopping list from SS, pull and clip coupons before I leave for the store and still have everything with me if I happen to run across an unexpected sale. With the “Search By Item” button, I can use my smart phone to quickly check for any corresponding coupons to go with my happy find. I want to move to an expanding file and lose the binder… when I get around to it.

    • kim

      I use two plastic shoeboxes (one for food and one for non-food). I cut the flaps off of long, white envelopes and staple a colored index card with my categories labeled to the top of the envelope. I started with a binder but it was way too time consuming and aggravating to put all of those coupons into the tiny slots for baseball cards. I put the two shoeboxes in a reusable grocery bag. It is much easier to pull an envelope out of the box than to try to find the coupon in a big, bulky binder. I find that the boxes fit perfectly in the area designed for a child to sit in in the shopping cart. And my grand total was five dollars. All of these items can be found at the Dollar Tree except the grocery bag and it was .99 at Publix.