Using coupons to save money seems to be one of the favorite ways to deal with the family budget for everyday Americans. After all, we do have shows like “Extreme Couponing” where people spend an exorbitant amount of time and attention on finding the best coupons and combining them to save a lot of money. Now, if you are one of those people, you probably already have a couponing system that surpasses even our expertise. But, if you are new to the game, you might use a bit more organization when dealing with coupons. Especially once you consider how many types of coupons there are. So, let’s go through a couple of tips on planning and organizing your coupons. With any luck, they should make your shopping that much cheaper and easier.
Consider what kind of a couponer you are
One look at the TV show we mentioned and you will easily see that there is couponing and then there is COUPONING. So, to better deal with planning and organizing the coupons you first need to know what kind of a couponer you are. Now, there are many different ways in which can describe the couponing habits of a person. Some use coupons only once in a while and for specific items, while others even try to use them to find affordable help for the upcoming relocation. Add to that the fact that couponing habits can change for a person, especially when they learn how to plan. So, to keep things sweet and simple, we are going to divide out couponing methods into no-clip and clip. That way you will have an easier time finding the preferred one for your style of couponing.
If you are new at couponing, just know that it is a great way to save money.
Using the no-clip method
The no-clip method means that you are not cutting your coupons out. If they come in a magazine or on a piece of paper, you keep it as is until needed. This method will save you time as clipping coupons can often be a time-consuming process. But, it does leave you a bit less organized as it doesn’t allow for much sorting. This is why the no-clip method is favorite for people who are new at couponing. You find something that you want, mark it and save it for when you need it. Our advice is to at least mark the expiry date on your phone so that you don’t miss the opportunity to use it.
Even though the no-clip method saves you from having to spend time clipping, it does come with certain downsides. Besides the lack of organization, it can also be a bit more arduous to utilize. Namely, if you start using more coupons you will soon have a hard time differentiating between them and keeping them organized. Plus, once you do use them, you will have to cut them out. This is much easier to do in the comfort of your own home than in a busy store.
Planning and organizing your coupons with clipping
Now, if you are a more serious couponer, then in order to deal with planning and organizing your coupons you will need to clip them. Clipping them is only the first part of the organization process, of course. After that, there are multiple ways in which you can organize your coupons so that they make your shopping both easier and faster.
There are even apps that can help you with planning and organizing your coupons.
Alt: A woman holding a phone showing various apps, some of which can help you with planning and organizing your coupons.
Different methods for organizing coupons
In essence, there are two things you have to keep track of when using coupons. What you are going to use them for, and when do they expire. Now, what you need to do is pick which one is more important and then prioritize your coupons around it. Ideally, you want to have an easy way to keep track of which coupons to use according to when they expire. So, what you need to do is divide the coupons you have into those that you can use:
- During the week
- Within two weeks from now
- Within a month from now
- Longer than a month
This, of course, is just one of many possible ways of grouping up your coupons. What you need to do is take a closer look at yours and make your groups fit their expiry dates and your usage.
The more coupons you have, the harder it will be to keep track of all the expiry dates.
On the other hand, if you plan on using coupons for many different purposes, you might want to group them up according to item types. Depending on how variant the coupons are, the more groups you will have. But, ideally, you should have enough groups so that once you go to a store, you only need to take a couple. In time you will probably find a way to mix and match those two ways of organizing your coupons.
Using coupon binders, wallets, and boxes
Clipped coupons usually need to be sorted physically in order for your groups to stay consistent. And there are numerous ways you can do this. A coupon binder is the most common way as it offers you a makeshift filing system for your coupons. With it, you will be able to easily group up your coupons and sort through them when needed. Not to mention that using a binder will be tremendously useful when moving your entire home, as you will not risk losing any. More serious couponers also use wallets and boxes for couponing, but those tend to be a bit harder to properly manage.
You can use photo albums as makeshift coupon binders.
The final tip we have for planning and organizing your coupons is to not get stuck with a single system. No method is set in stone and you should feel free to mix and match. Go online and explore various ways in which you can use coupons and organize them. Don’t stop until you’ve found a way that suits you perfectly.
Charles Edgar is an experienced mover, writer and as of recent, father. Over the years he has gathered valuable knowledge about how to move and manage a home and is now more than happy to share that knowledge with anyone willing to learn.