As a long time couponer, I’m still trying to find that perfect system. I do know you can get quite a crazy mess going if you don’t have a good system or keep your coupons organized. Find a system that works for you and stick with it.
10 Ways to Manage Your Stockpile of Coupons
Whether you decide one day that extreme couponing is something you want to try or you work your way up to it gradually, you might find that your limited organizational skills simply can’t keep up with your proclivity for clipping. If your house is starting to get buried under layers of coupons, it’s time to get things in order. Here are a few ways to cope with the coupons.
- Pare it down. It can definitely be difficult to toss coupons that offer spectacular savings, but do you really want to let your stockpile push you out of house and home? You need to make a decision to keep your couponing to a set (and manageable) amount in order to control the clutter it causes.
- Stick to a few stores. One good way to pare down while you organize is by selecting a few stores that have the best savings and sticking to coupons that can be used there. This way you’ll save time on both clipping and going out of your way to shop, and you’ll also cut the detritus of unused coupons.
- Clip what you’ll use. It can be tempting to go for items that you wouldn’t normally buy simply because the savings are so good, but try to be realistic. If you’re buying items that you really won’t use, you’re not actually saving; you’re spending unnecessarily. And skipping over these items will save you time as well as space.
- Opt for online. More and more paper ads are now popping up online, along with coupon codes that can only be redeemed through web shopping. Although a few holdouts may stick to paper, you’ll be surprised by how much easier organization can be when the majority of your coupons exist in the virtual world.
- Coupon software. Forget about setting up a complex, nested system of files on your computer to store your e-coupons. Instead, get yourself some couponing software that does the heavy lifting of organization for you and makes finding what you need a cinch.
- Set up a filing system. Extreme couponing requires extreme storage and organization, so get yourself a filing cabinet to devote to the cause. This will ensure that coupons are off of counters and tables and tucked away where they can easily be found again.
- Sort by store. It’s best to start any organizational effort with broad strokes, so begin by creating sections for types of stores (grocery, department, sporting goods, and so on) and then further break down these categories with files for specific vendors.
- Sort by item. Once you’ve got your basic setup in place, you can further separate coupons into groups by item. For the grocery store, you could create categories for canned goods, meats and cheeses, frozen items, and so on. You could even assemble them by aisle, if you want.
- Sort chronologically. Now that everything has a place, you can put the coupons in chronological order in each folder, with those that are closest to expiring at the front of the file. This will make is easy to toss those that don’t get used in time.
- Sort alphabetically. You can arrange folders alphabetically at all tiers of your organizational structure (including online). This will allow you to quickly find whatever you’re looking for, from coupons for Albertson’s to the Ingles weekly ad, or canned peas to Cheerios.