Welcome to Southern Savers, where finding deals and steals is simple and rewarding!

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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Couponing can be very overwhelming and the number one reason for that is generally the way that you pick to organize your coupons.  So we are going to spend a few days going over a few options to organize things more efficiently and cut down on your time spent clipping and saving.

Watch below to learn about how to organize by not cutting coupons!  (This is what I do and spend maybe 30 minutes getting ready for a shopping trip).

This video is only part one and I know that many of you are die hard fanatics for more intense methods… don’t worry we are covering that in the next video coming Monday.

A few tips to make the file system work even better:

  • Print the weekly insert variation list for your area and put that list in each pocket with that weeks inserts.  Now you can quickly see if you really got that coupon.
  • If you need something that is not on sale, use the coupon database to find any coupons. (The database will even work on your  phone in a store!)
  • You only need to keep inserts for about 12 weeks. If there are any good coupons still in that inserts cut that one coupon rather than holding onto an insert for years.

Do you organize your coupons using the file system?
Have any more tips that have made it work even better for you??

    • Kami

      I use a different binder method than the baseball card holders. I love it because I can put it in the child seat of the cart, spine side down, and flip the pages back and forth instead of side to side. I have a tutorial on my (hardly ever updated) blog if you want to see how to make one like it. http://tinyurl.com/yd9o5p8

    • darkenmind1326

      AWESOME JENNY!!! Thank you …i needed a refresher to try to start the new year a different way:)

    • michelle

      Thanks, I am new to this and just bought a coupon organizer last night. I appreciate all of your help.

    • Mandasparkle

      Great video Jenny! This is exactly how I've been organizing my coupons for a while now. It's so much easier than clipping the ones you think you *might* use when you get the insert. It makes more sense to keep the insert whole and go back and clip what you need when you need it, BIG TIME SAVER! :)

    • Tracie

      Thanks!! You do a great job of explaining this! I am someone who does not get the newspaper so I pretty much only have the online coupons. Also you are often cautioning about waiting to print a coupon because it might disappear. So what do we do with our printed coupons? I am one of those that you describe … fumbling through my envelope of coupons while at the store. Also for my groceries I shop at WalMart so there is no grocery list for that. Anyway just wondering if you have some tips for people in my situation!! Thanks!!

      • There actually is a blog now that covers walmart and has a printable shopping list. iheartthemart(dot)com

        • Jacketfan24

          I work for Walmart and though I love this site, I hate the fact that so many of the readers (and some of the articles) are so anti Walmart. It is still a great place to shop, but you do have to pick your cashiers (there is a lot of turnover and some don't like their jobs, but some are way better than any cashier I've been to at Publix!) It's just like any other store. I checked out this blog and it is really good.

          • Part of the anti Walmart is the horrid lack of customer service/care/concern, along with the fact that you just can not get the same type of great deals at Walmart as you can at Publix. Publix WANTS our business. They are employee owned and they have to have happy customers in order to get better profits for themselves!
            I did come across that new blog and have told my coupon peeps about it, as there are a few that don’t have the same stores available that I do. It seems to be a good blog.

      • clara

        I like Wal-Mart too but I know it would probably be hard to keep up with a store whose grocery prices change daily it seems. I don't know if yours is like mine but I have literally walked in the store saw an item for $1.49 went in the next day and its $1.78 then ended up having to drop back by later that evening for something else and just went and checked the price and it was $1.86 and I was like what is going on!!!! I have only noticed this on Groceries but overall on other items they have great deals sometimes.

    • guest

      thanks my coupons are spilled all over the back of my car! This should be a blessing for me!

    • DBhour

      Thank you so much!

    • Sheldon

      Loved this thanks.

    • Jhdon

      My online printed coupons are a serious problem for me. I, too, would love to hear how you organzie those! It sounded like they do not go in the cancelled ck/coupon organizer…. so I'd love to hear what you do for those! My inserts are very lean, so I use alot of printables. Thanks for all you do!

      • This may not help you as far as time saving goes, but I go ahead and cut up the internet coupons and put them in a small coupon organizer, like the red one Jenny uses. Maybe it's just me, but I don't mind taking a couple extra minutes a week to cut them up. I'm like you, while I do use inserts, I'm probably using 80% internet coupons and 20% inserts.

      • Stephanie in Bham

        I too, only get 1 paper a week, so use alot of IPs. When I first started couponing, I printed every coupon that I saw that might use the product. Then I quickly learned that the item may not be on its sale cycle during the 30 day expiration period, so I wasted paper, ink and time. Now, I only print a coupon for an item that I know I will be purchasing before it expires. I file it in my handheld coupon accordian style folder that goes in the store with me in my purse. Hope this helps you

    • Billie Hester95

      I think this method would work well if you are a shopper with a list. But I would like to see more information on how to organize with the binder method as I am not a list shopper.

    • Yolli

      Thanks for your help in organizing my Qs. I am still fairly new to the process. Also, you mention that Q DB can be pulled up on my phone in the store. How is that done? Do I need to give the cashier the barcode off the Q? Please explain.

      • Paige

        I think she means that you can pull up the Southernsavers website and then use the coupon database to look up Q''s while you are there.

      • Mel

        I think she means if you have a smart phone and can access her blog, you can look up the database to find out if a certain coupon exists and where it can be found. Then you can hopefully locate it in your stash of coupons while you're still in the store and not have to run home and make another trip (like I've done in the past)! : )

        • Yolli

          Thx for your help.

    • KT

      Thank you! I was wanting to get organized as my coupons are getting somewhat out of control! I thought I was doing myself a favor cutting coupons from the inserts and then organizing by broad types (baby, food, toiletries, household) in my accordian folder – it was SUCH a pain to find the coupons I needed. I will definitely give this method a try! I am a very visual person so this video helped me a lot.

      • Jacketfan24

        I used to do it that way, too, but I got tired of spending all day Sunday on it. I went to the file for the inserts about 6 months ago and it is so much easier. I didn't know about the coupon database, though, and that will help. I sometimes have to buy shampoo, dog food, etc., at regular prices and never know where the coupons are (CVS ads haven't been that great lately, and my stockpile for certain items is almost gone…) so that will help! I keep a small card file for the extra coupons and that works well for me. An accordian file is enough since I only buy 2 papers a week; more than that seemed excessive.

        It seems like everyone has some great ideas on here!

    • kcreviews

      I need a better way to organize, for sure. Right now I use manila file folders on my desk, one each for food q's from inserts, printable food q's, and drugstore/nonfood q's. It's okay, but I do spend a lot of time cutting. I just don't want to carry some huge binder in the store with me and have to cut the q's while I'm pushing my cart down the isle.

      • Jessmender

        I make my printable list on Southern Savers and cut my q's before I go to the store. Then I paperclip my q's to my list and that's all that goes to the store with me.

        • kcreviews

          That sounds easy, but my newspaper is never on the variation list so I have to do all that work myself and figure out which q's I have and don't have.

          • Marlene

            it might be a bit more work up front but print the list from what's in most papers and then update it for your inserts.
            or copy and paste into word to make changes before printing.
            that way you have a list that matches your inserts.
            and if you want to pay it forward email your list to Jenny and that way you'll be helping others in your area.

          • gardengirl

            You could 'cut & paste' Jenny's list to your Excel spreadsheet and then modify it to match your q's…you wouldn't have to retype it all. Since your are not posting it on another website, I don't think Jenny would mind.

          • My paper was there for a while and then it wasn't covered any longer. I emailed Jenny and asked if she would like me to send in the variations. It helps me tremendously and then everyone who needs it can have the variations, too!

            Maybe if you work out a method to know your variations, you'd bless someone else by sending it to Jenny to include on the website.

            Merry Christmas! Catherine

            • kcreviews

              I have done that before, but sometimes I don't have the time. You have a good idea, though, and if I go with that one, I'll definitely send it to Jenny!

    • I use a hybrid of your system and the baseball card holder system. The little coupon pouch is just not enough for all of my loose coupons.

    • Therayclan

      Thank you so much for this! Through a lot of trial and error, I have everything down except the idea of the big accordian. However, I did not know about the coupon data base!

    • Jessmender

      Jenny – how many papers do you recommend buying? I usually only get 2-4 and while the accordian folder sounds like a great idea, it doesn't look thick enough to hold 12 weeks worth of inserts. Thanks!

    • Saviorbucks

      I have several copies of each insert and I cut 1 copy and file into baseball card sheets in a binder and put the rest of the uncut, dated, inserts in an accordion folder. I take about 15 minutes to cut and 20 minutes to sort. I carry the binder in during triples week and leave it in the car on normal shopping days. If a surprise sale is THAT good, then its worth it to go back out to the car to get the binder.

    • Ximecoupons

      Thank you so much!!! I'm so tired of cutting coupons. I know this is gonna work for me!!

    • This is actually a perfect way for me. I love how simple and how its not so time consuming. Sometimes my time is more precious to me than the money saved and this way shows me that for the most part I can save both by this simple system. Thank you.

    • Babsett

      Thanks you so much this is so much simpler then what I do now. Makes so much sense!

    • Maria Ray1969

      Can cashiers scan the bar code on my phone for a coupon or do they have to have a paper copy?

      • Jacketfan24

        I think they have to haVe a paper copy; the stores don't get their money back unless they have a coupon to send to the clearinghouse.

      • NolaGirl

        A few stores in a limited # of areas that accept smartphone codes. Check the store's Web site to find out if these coupons are accepted in your area.

    • Scrappyautie

      I've been using this method for the last 3 mons., and it has really made my life MUCH easier ; ) Yes, you will miss out on some clearance deals, but at the end of the day, my time is a bigger deal to me. Jenny, thank you for this post, you did a terrific job!

    • Jhflora654

      I feel like I have to cut my coupons out because I share ones that I probably won't use with a friend. I like the idea of not having to cut them though. I have several weeks worth of inserts just sitting here waiting for me to cut them though.

    • Patabeau

      Thank you so very much, I met a lady in Publix (Sarasota,Fl) and she told me about this site
      I don't know her name, but I really do want to thank her.
      This is the best, I have found, and you make it so easy. We all need to be able tosave a few dollars. What we do at my church ( Colonial Oaks) is have a food pantry (church members only) where members that can buy sale items,( two for one sale) the extra we ttake to church for the Food Pantry for the members that are having a tough time. It doesn't cost them anything and it helps so many families in this tough economic time.

      What I'm trying to say in my round about way is THANK YOU so very much for this program.

    • Sands143

      I LOVE the database! I use it ALL the time. I search it all the time!

    • Kelli

      I love this system! Have been organizing this way for about 1 year – I did upgrade to a small “file box” with a handle – because I get 2-4 papers a week & I outgrew the accordian file. It is so much easier than cutting!!!! I had not thought about writing the number of coupons on the shopping list…I am still the one “counting” the number of coupons I have for an item in the store. I'm excited to hear that idea! It will help a lot! Thanks for all you do, Jenny & for taking the time to make our lives so much easier!

    • Racinggirl_42

      Thank you so much for all your help! Without this website I would not get able to do coupons!!! Thanks again Jenny!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Lsgoos

      Just wondering if anyone keeps a spreadsheet of all coupons? This way you can search by name, sort by expiration date, coupon amt, etc. (You could even keep track of how much you save using coupons.) Think this would be awesome if someone had the time to download the Sunday coupon preview and put into Excel each week. Each person would have to tweek for regional differences and add any other coupons they gather.

      • Loriescoup

        Lsgoos—-this is a site that I stumbled across that is similar to what you are looking for that I find helpful to me when I’m trying to hunt a coupon.

        http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=pyGCemKT2mZf5E0–yAiNCQ

      • MaryB

        I have a database, to which i can sort by catagory (assigned numbers), abc, amt, date of expiration, and even have a column for the info on the coupons. I clipp my coupons and then do the baseball card holder, diff more time consuming but I hated not being able to see all of them. If I think I have one or just want to check I use the database, then I know that i have it and if it is still good. Control A, Data Tab, sort by Col A, then Sort by Expires.

    • Nanhancan

      Thanks, Jenny!
      WW is really working for ya. You look great!

    • Kkcash269

      This system really does work! Thanks for all your hard work :)

    • Stephaniecouncill

      i started doing this not realizing it would help organize me but really out of desperation to stop cllipping so much! i feel validated in my decision! thanks for going over what to do w/the old ones – i was just hoarding them in the back section – but now i can clean those out and not worry about it! thanks ss for all you do! :)

    • Lexx034

      I organize very similar to you! Not clipping is definitely a plus, but I had a few questions: How do you manage to not miss items that are in inserts, and aren't usually on sale, but your family uses? Also, what do you do with coupons you print off of the net? Do you file them in the small file? I always end up printing a ton off of the net and my small file gets very full!

    • Thanks this system work so well for me.

    • amy jones

      i do cut my coupons, while watching tv so i'm not creating extra time to do that. I clean out my coupon box once a month. i put them in a children's shoe box. when i need to get my list ready they are already cut and in the different categories it takes just a couple of minutes to get them out & print off some online. i guess everyone is different, as long as we are saving money and it's easy for us that is what counts.

    • Connieb03

      My question to Jenny is how do you organize the q's you print online?

      • Chiefsangeleyes

        I keep a small coupon organizer for this with VERY detailed tabs
        Freezer
        Dairy
        Refrig
        Deli
        Meats
        Produce
        Breakfast items
        Meal helpers
        Baking helpers
        Condiments
        Drinks
        etc

    • Katherine

      I keep my inserts in a plastic file cube with hanging files. I have separate files for printable, all you mags, and coupon booklets in addition to the weekly inserts.

    • Birdy

      This is one of those times where I just sat back and was like, “Duh, why have I never thought of that!!” I am the one who spends hours cutting up tons of coupons I will probably never use and I am going to go tomorrow and get one of those files lol… I will probably still take my small coupon file to the store with me just in case I find an unexpected deal… Thank you so much for the tips though!!!

    • Amberfluhr

      I like the idea behind this, but i do a lot of couponing at Farm Fresh.. So i have to match myself each week and would never be able to go through each insert or read the list of the last 12. Also, I clip because if we don't use the product, say a medication, i would never buy it, even if it were a money maker. Also, cutting helps me make a mental note of what coupons i have and i use more printables than i do paper coupons.

    • PaulaB

      What about printables? Where do they go?

      • Liz

        I have a separate file just for printables.

      • JessicaJ

        You just print the coupon at the time you are building your shopping list. After you hit the “Create List” button, and your shopping list pops up, you can still click all of those links and print the coupon you need right before you leave for the store!

        If you print a coupon that you don't end up using, just put it in your cancelled check file with your blinkies and catalinas.

    • Ajladd

      It makes sense. My problems are that I do a lot of shopping at Wal-Mart, and that is not a store on SS. Also, I trade coupons with a woman who works with my husband. I cut what I need, and send them on to her, then she sends me hers.

    • Coupacoupon

      Love the idea of an accordian with just 12 spots. That's been my problem- I had been filing in manilla folders in a file box and it was getting out of control with old ones piling up. Also, Way to go Jenny! You look great and it looks like your weight loss endeavors have really paid off.

    • Sdavisva

      Instead of an accordian file, I hole-punch the inserts and put them in a three ring binder (proabably about 12 weeks worth, give or take as sometimes I get more than my normal '2' copies of the paper). A friend recommended the binder as it prevent the insert from going haywire. Every once in awhile one is hard to cut out, but I've never had a problem with a barcode scanning even when there is a hole in it.

      I use a large zippered binder with baseball card holders for my IPs, coupons that I didn't use, blinkies, and also coupons that I cut when I see them b/c I know I will want them in the store and most likely use them. I carry the zippered binder in the store with me. It also has pouches for the various grocery stores and drug stores I frequent. All my ECB's and UP stay in here as well as rainchecks and the like. Kind of a hybrid system. This has really changed during the year to find what worked best for me while saving the most time (based on our needs).

      • You know, we use (and re-use) those protective sleeves at my church in our Royal Ranger program for our parent communication binders.

        If you love the binder method (I'm definitely an accordian girl…lol) perhaps you'd find it eaiser to get a box of those sleeves and just slip your insert into one of those and it'll still work great in your binder without punching the holes in the actual insert.

        Just a thought =)
        Catherine

    • Ruralliving

      Hi Jenny, Love the coupon database! I have tried to use my phone to bring up the database, but it never completely loads and won't let me type anything. I have also noticed that when I use the database on my home computer, I always get some sort of a script error. Once I ignore the script error, the database comes right up. I wonder if this is the same error that prevents my phone from loading completely. Is anyone else having this problem or is it just me? Many thanks for all your dedication! I have learned so much : )

    • ClaraL.

      I think this would be a great method for me to try! I am not sure if I am alone on this but sometimes having all my coupons in the store with me makes me spend more money because of all the “deals” that I just have to get that was not on my list but “oh this would be great to try and its only $1” when I only take the coupons in for things I intended to buy(didn't have time to go through my Q's) I don't spend as much. I think this will help me be more discipline. Its hard to pass up that $1 box of Townhouse crackers,Cereal,etc. or $0.85 pack of Pepperidge Farm cookies because “it's a great deal, it's normally $3.00+ for a pack!!” when I really didn't need it and it ends up adding $3, $5, or even $10 to my order! It may not seem like a lot (and I am still saving on my order) but over the course of the month it really adds up! So I am going to try this! Thanks Jenny for all your help.

      • Karen

        I agree. It does add up and you start have too big of stash. I cleaned out my pantry and was appalled at all the stuff that was outdated. I'm really trying to limit my stash so I don't look like I'm hording instead, lol. It's really hard to pass up a good deal, but really, we don't go through 6 boxes of crackers by the due date then they get stale and I've wasted our money. Yuck. Such a downer.

    • Karen

      How about cutting out the ones you KNOW you will use and then using this system for the rest? I think that would work for me. That way I have on hand the ones I really will use and need and still have on file the ones that would make great donations, gifts and moneymakers. And not taking up all my time with cutting ALL the coupons and filing. I'm gonna try it!

      • Loyal2disney

        That is exactly what I do! For example, we eat lots of the GG frozen veggies, so if I have a coupon for it, I will go ahead and cut it out and keep it with me. I keep a small pouch in my pocketbook with those coupons that I know I will use at some point. Although, I still have to take time every once in a while to go through them and organize them. I file all the rest of the inserts. It has worked for me so far, but I am thinking Jenny's method will be less time consuming than what I am currently doing.

    • Shelleyschu

      My hat is off to all of you Binder devotees…I am not that organized. I use the insert method. After departing corporate life, I have a huge laptop briefcase that has now become my coupon organizer. I have three 3-5 inch brown accordion files and file the SS, RP, and an Other accordian file with Store (Publix/Kroger) and Printables/Peelies, and rebates etc. I use the insert method. Because everything is portable, I can take the big stash upstairs or downstairs by the TV to work on it. I also go to McD's or Chick-fil-a so my daughter can play on the playspace while I cut out the coupons to go w/ the Jenny list I printed out. (Plus, I talk coupons with the moms.)

      I just take the “other” folder with me to the store with my list. I know what is in the printables so if I see a sale item, I'll get it out. But usually, if it is not on the list, I don't buy it or come back later with the coupon. Thanks Jenny for saving me tons of money. Been doing this since 2008.

    • Misty103074

      I just have a zip up spiral notebook, and I used sheet protectors and just slide the inserts in and label it with that weeks date. When I decide on the items I want to buy from publix I just go through and pull the cupons I need. I do not print a cupons til I know I will use it, that way I save on paper and ink and space with printed cupons I may not use. I keep an extra sheet protector for each store I shop at and when I'm done pulling the cupons I stick them there til I go to the store. It really works well for me and I use baseball card holders for the extra cupons I might cut but do not use for some reason so I can flip throught those easy. I do take my notebook in the store just in case I might find a deal not on my list…but I am great about sticking to my list. Happy Shopping!

      • egghead

        Great system, thanks for sharing. I'm cutting back on printing computer coupons unless it's something I know I will buy within the next 3 months. Example – Target had a $10 off sonicare coupon that I didn't print and RiteAid had a $5 coupon for a particular product that I also didn't print and saw them both back in October. Well this week both are so cheep that that with the coupon my out of pocket would be less than $10 for both, however they are both no longer available to view or print. Therefore, sometimes go for that good printable (and put it up) because they don't hang around long on the web sites at all.

    • Couponcrazy85

      so Jenny,when you use the ziploc bags for your grocery trip,do you have a seperate bag for each store or how do you do that? I love your system!

    • Silent E

      Nope, I'm totally a binder girl. I started out with this method, but grew increasingly frustrated when the coupons Jenny said were in S/S weren't, or I had the same product, but with a different amount, etc. I realize this is because of region differences, but frustration is frustration! So, now I cut out all the coupons I think I'm gonna use (no pet products, no baby products). I file in 3×5 picture inserts (I don't like how small you have to cut up to fit into baseball inserts). I use Jenny's shopping list each week as a guide (sometimes the flyer doesn't match up with mine here in B'ham). Also, the coupon database doesn't always match what I have. I love the site, and this is how I've adapted to make the site work with my area.

      • egghead

        where did you find the 3 x5 picture inserts? I found the “old school” photo magnetic sheets 8 x 10 at Michaels for about $3 for 40 inserts. The coupon sticks to the backing and then a plastic magnetic sheet covers the page. The material itself is as hard as cardboard so I'm thinking of changing only because I like how the baseball cards are so flexible and move so much faster.. ??? seems like it at least. Thanks for sharing.

    • Dana

      Can anyone tell me where you can find a “tearpad”? There are many coupons listed like this, and I have no idea where to find them. Thanks!

      • Moms-coupons

        These are typically in the stores hanging from the shelves by the products they are for, much like “blinkies”. I've also seen them on the checkout counters at gas stations…

    • Brandy

      One other thing I do with this system is take Jenny's regional coupon insert variations and print the list of coupons that goes with my newspaper. When I've clipped ever copy of a coupon from an insert I cross it off the list, so that if I am looking for it again later, I can see that I've already taken it and there's no need to flip through the insert. If I only took 1 copy of the coupon and there's one or more left, then I leave it uncrossed so that I'll know there are some left.

    • Mary_robb

      Thanks Jenny – I had been wondering how long to hang on to the inserts as my file is popping at the seams! Off to toss a few …… :)

    • Lisaleared

      thank you!!!

    • TheChapleigh

      I am so visual, & I need to “see” where all my coupons are, but the accordian folder for clipping Q's into various categories frustrated me b/c I was limited to only 13 categories, and when first starting, I didn't know what particular categories I would find most helpful to label. (Plus I”ve struggled with perfectionism & didn't want to “fail” by not determining, from the outset, what categories I would want… there's help for people like us, right????) Anyway, the accordian folder would also have been too small for the amount of Q's I was finding in newspapers, stores, online, rebate forms, etc… I had an old Franklin Covey system from those days of having worked, and decided I would merge the accordian system with the binder system, and it has worked AWESOME and I could not imagine going back. The binder/accordian is awesome because I am not insanely categorized, yet I could grow my groupings however I wanted If I'd determined a category needed more specialization. To do this, instead of baseball card holders, I got 4×6 sized plastic evelopes that close up at the top with little tabs, purchased at Staples (Avery brand). They are clear plastic & have 5 in each package. I punched holes into them to fit the Franklin Covey planner, and staggered them so that in my 5×7-ish size binder/planner they didn't all bunch up in the middle. This is better than the 8×10 binder because it's not as big, my Q's don't fall out if the kids knock it over in the store, & I also don't get completely OCD on the organization part (I keep it to larger categories, mainly 15 or so). I also have 4 or 5 plastic zipper pouches that are individualized for the store I shop at, so I can store the Catalina Q's, the store Q's, and also any great store Q's that will match up nicely with manu Q's. I also keep the “store policy” there in case it's needed for a questioning cashier ;) In the front of the binder is a pocket that keeps my shopping lists printed off the SS site handy for each store…. for example, I shop Rite Aid, Food Lion and Harris Teeter each week, sometimes Lowes Foods. When I scan Jenny's shopping lists for each store, I click & print & then fold this list in half lengthwise then half width-wise, and then get my Q's & tuck them into that folded list, and then tuck THAT list with the Qs into my inside pocket of the binder. So, when I have a few brief moments to just run into whatever store I”m nearby with a school pickup or run into town, I can quickly get out that shopping list with the Q's already organized — be it Rite Aid, HT, FL, etc… As Jenny says, I can be that “normal shopper” in the store with that list & Q's handy, all folded up neatly in my purse… BUT…. I ALWAYS bring in my binder because INEVITABLY I find that deal I can't leave the store without…. I've even run back out to the car to get that silly binder!!! So, my story is that I need the binder on hand at all times, and I need my Q's to always be in one spot, so I can easily access them at a moment's notice (like donating a coupon to a passer-by who has an item in their cart that you know you have a coupon for), but I've also already done the planning by Jenny's lists beforehand & have my Qs at the ready for each store. Also, I keep all rebates at the back pocket of the binder, so I can track those as well. And any expireds that I come accross while shopping or planning my trips, I also tuck into that back pocket for when I can, later at home, put them into that envelope to overseas military folks. But, my binder is a growing one, and I now need to use the elastic band to “expand it” to keep it shut, just as all of us who've had numerous kids have used the elastic looped around the button hole & button, to expand our pregnant bellies before succumbing to maternity clothes!!!! Thanks for ALL your comments everyone, they are so helpful — we are all different types of couponers!! And thanks, Jenny, because without your site, I could NOT coupon nearly as well as I do :) Your site is the BEST TOOL for couponing out there!!

      • shaz

        I would love to know if you can share some ideas, we seem to go to te samr stores. :)

    • Amy C.

      I use your file system & preach it to others, too. I like the minimal time commitment, and feel it's the best use of my time. Printable Q's are filed with blinkie & tearpad Q's, according to store section.

      Jenny, your website is such a blessing to our family. I can't thank you enough for running this.

    • Megan H.

      I tried this for several months and like others got really frustrated with the regional differences in the inserts. I also found it very time consuming to pull each insert, flip through, and cut my coupon for each item on my lists each week. Instead, I clip the coupons I think I'll use and toss the rest. I file them by category in an index card box along with all the IPs, blinkies and tearpads. It takes me a just a few seconds to find a coupon. And since I cut and organize during my weekly phone call to my mom, it doesn't take any extra time.

      To stay organized while shopping, I have an envelope for each store (junk mail is a great source of free envelopes). Each week, I put my coupons and list for each store in the matching envelope, stick it in my purse and I'm good to go. It's also a great way to keep track of all those store coupons, ECBs, and UPs.

    • Slprim

      Thanks for providing us with the exact insert and date so it makes it easier to use this system! I am new to it but don't have much time to spend on it, so it works for me so far! :)

    • peachy

      I also write the last coupon expiration date on the front. If there is an outlier with a later date I also note that on the front. For example –
      12/12/10 Expires 3/31/11 x Baking powder 6/30/11.
      I put the one with the 6/30/11 date just inside the front cover so I don't have to search for it when I am clearing out the file,

    • JulieB

      I'm a binder girl but I'm the only person on the planet who organizes alphabetically. It's so much faster to find what I need! I look for the match-ups and plan my trip. I also recycle used envelopes from the mail, write my purchase plan with the number of items to buy, then put the coupons inside. One envelope for each store. My binder is in my car just in case I find a surprise item. If it's worth it, I can go back in.

      • Steph

        EXACTLY what I do, JulieB! I love the alphabetized binder. I tried just keeping the inserts at first, but needed mayo, KNEW there was a mayo coupon SOMEWHERE in that huge pile of inserts, but was not interested in searching through every one to find that one 50 cent savings…now, I just flip to “condiments” and poof, there's my mayo coupon… I like the envelope idea. I use paperclips attached to each list for each store.

      • Melinda

        You are not the only person on the planet who organizes this way! I organize mine alphabetically as well-it is SO much easier for me. I organize them by manufacturer or store name if it's a store coupon. :)

    • regina

      love the accordian.style. can not imagin doing it any other way. way to go Jenny!!!!!

    • Laura Gator

      Thank you so much. This really helps!

    • DeeAnna

      Excited about the time I can save not cutting all the Q's!!! Never thought of this way. Thanks Jenny! Merry Christmas!

    • David Lachnicht

      I cannot get behind this method, because it leaves out opportunities to save on “gray area” items (thing you don't buy all the time but definitely would if they were dirt cheap). And we DO find these opportunities all the time.

    • Jenny you are awesome thank you for taking the time to do this. I tell everyone about your site… :)
      I use the commissary for everything.
      I put all my coupons flyers in a zoplock bag, write out the largest saving from the commmissary list online, cut coupons and go. It take abotu an hour to prepare BUT I only go to the store for big shopping once a month an then again when I need eggs or milk.. Im a single mom most ofthe time and that hour is worth having my weekends and night free to be with my kids.
      We spend so much less now because of this site. :)

    • Brandi

      I am looking forward to starting this method. I have been couponing for a while; but after having a baby and a full-time job I have had to put something on the backburner. Now I can see that I can spend time working, with my family and still have time to save my family money. Thank you Jenny for your very helpful tips and Merry Christmas!

    • mrsuncfan

      I was about to give up couponing because of how time consuming and stressful I find it (I do the baseball card binder method now), but I think I can make this work. However, one of my frustrations is online coupons…it is time consuming to go to each site and print them when they show up on your list but a waste of paper/ink if I print them on my own up front. How do online coupons fit into this method?

    • mykatjim

      i just wanted to add that office max has a 13 pocket expandable file + bonus canceled check folder for $8 this week. i just picked one up and i'm about to start organizing!

    • AM

      I'm really looking forward to trying this method. It seems so much less time-consuming. I was able to get a 13 pocket expandable file for $6.49 and the check file for $4.14 (both 50% off). Thanks so much for explaining this method so well!

    • Thiamaria

      Dear Jenny-
      Thank you for saving my sanity. LOL. I've been getting more and more “lazy” with my binder as of late. I haven't taken it with me to the store since about my 3rd trip (I just use a little accordion/check cancel organizer). Anyhow- thank you for pointing out that I was doing coupon origami. It made me take a step back and realize that I am not as OCD as I thought, and that I don't NEED to catch every deal. I'm past that stage. I think whole insert filing is going to do much better with my lifestyle. If I have a coupon that is additional- I'm going to just cut those, as they may not be in the coupon database. Still keeping my binder for holding my printables & competitor Qs- but no more Coupon Origami for me :)

    • Kyndn

      Thanks Jenny!!!
      Just for those of us who would hate to miss out on something, why not take both accordian files with you when you go to the store? –Just leave them in the car — and if you find that candy bar or whatever and feel as though you can't live without it, you can always go back in after you load the car. This allows you to still catch the deal, but also allows a cooling-off moment while you unload the cart into your car to see if you still feel the need to go back in after the great deal you saw (without having to drive all the way home for the coupon)…..

    • Rdreysen

      Jenny, What do you recommend if you get 10 papers. Do you think that at-least 10 coupon inserts will fit into the accordion file? or would you recommend a file cabinet.