Back to Basics: Coupon Organization Techniques
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Back to Basics: Coupon Organization Techniques

Posted on Friday, January 10th, 2014 at 8:00 am
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Since we covered the basics of what types of coupons exist and where to get them, which can be found in our posts Welcome to the World of Couponing!, the next step for novice couponers is to learn how to  organize your stash. Coupon organization may seem like a pretty basic concept, but it key to not getting frazzled at the store and is incredibly important when using all your coupons before their expiration dates. There are numerous organization methods, but the following three are our favorites.  Also, don’t be afraid to try each out to see which one fits your couponing style.

1. The Binder Method

The binder method allows for you to organize your coupons in a manageable way that is easy to carry with you into the store. You’re essentially using a school binder, dividers, and plastic sleeves to organize your coupons. Depending on your commitment to coupons, you can use two binders to separate your coupons into food and non-food deals. Once you’ve done this you’ll want to label your dividers with your coupon categories; for example: shampoo, conditioner, cereal, etc. Next you’ll want to decide whether to use a regular plastic sleeve or baseball card sleeves. We recommend baseball card sleeves especially for beginners. Each plastic slot will allow you to see what the coupon is for and when you need to use it by.

The only downside to this method is the amount of prep time it takes. You will have to clip each individual coupon and place them in the proper slots, but this extra legwork will make it easier to redeem offers when shopping.

2. Accordion File Folder Method

This method is definitely easier and more time friendly than using the binder system, but it is also less precise. With an accordion file folder you are still using a transportable carrier for your coupons, but this method is sacrificing visibility. Because you are slipping coupons into a folder you won’t be able to see their expiration dates. Plus, depending on your style,  you won’t have to cut each individual coupon out; instead you can slip an entire insert into your accordion file.

3. Box Method

The box method is perfect for those who don’t want to invest in a binder or accordion file folder right off the bat. This organization strategy is very similar to the previous two methods in the sense you are dividing your coupons into categories and separating them with dividers. First you’ll want to select an empty box that you feel would be an appropriate size for your coupons. Having a lid to this box is important especially if you live somewhere with lots of rain or snow; no one likes soggy paper.  Next you’ll want to create appropriate sized dividers for your selected box and label them with coupon categories. Because the size of your box is up to you, feel free to cut coupons individually or leave entire pages in appropriate sections.

 

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.