Are you looking for some fresh ideas for coupon storage? Maybe you are just getting started in the world of couponing and are wondering where to get started?
I have stored my coupons in a few different ways over the years, and I have finally settled on the system I like best. It is not perfect, I’m not sure if I will ever find a method that is perfect, but it is the method that gives me the most bang for my buck. To me, this means the least amount of time overall from beginning to end when it comes to clipping the coupons, putting them away, and then being able to find them when I need them. I generally keep coupons for three months because they are usually expired by that point.
Before I share the method that I do use, let me review the methods that I no longer use and why I no longer use them.
A coupon binder is a large 3 ring binder that is generally filled with plastic baseball card sleeves for the coupons to slide into. The idea is that you would take the coupon binder with you whenever you go shopping.
When I used a coupon binder, I clipped all the coupons that I thought I would use. Later I added in all the coupons because I discovered that I really had no idea of knowing what I would and wouldn’t be using. So often I am trying new products or using products that are outside of the norm for me because I can get these things at an amazing price. In general, we are willing to try new things or even to use or eat things that are not our favorite because these are the things that were the best price at any given time.
For this method you will need the binder (I used a 3 inch binder) and all the sleeves to keep the coupons in. Most people use baseball card sleeves.
- all the coupons are clipped when it comes time to use them
- everything is very easy to organize so it is very easy to find them when I need them
- time consuming for coupons that I never end up using. When I made the switch to clipping them all since I “guessed” wrong on what I would need too often, I ended up wasting a ton of time for coupons that I just threw out in the end
Why I stopped using this method
- too time consuming because I ended up clipping and organizing a bunch of coupons I never used
- I never ended up taking it with me when I shopped, which made it an expensive way of storing everything. It was just too big and bulky for me to drag along when I rarely ended up finding something that I wanted to buy only in the store…things that were marked down because the box or can was damaged in some way, for instance
Coupon Filing Box (with clipped coupons)
When I used a coupon box, I found a storage container that was smaller than a shoe box with a tight-fitting lid. Then, I created categorizing cards made from a full sized file manila folder that I cut to size to fit in the box. These were my labeling dividers for bread, dairy, medicine, and so on. The only supplies you will need for this method is the plastic shoe-box type box with a lid, and the manila folders.
- less expensive than the coupon binder to purchase
- only a small space needed to store it in
- everything is already clipped as in the coupon binder since I clipped all coupons as before
- easy to find since all the coupons are organized
- again, time consuming for coupons I didn’t use
- some cost involved in supplies upfront
Why I stopped using this method
- too time consuming up front for coupons I didn’t end up using
Full Sized Coupon Box (with full coupon inserts)
This is the method I have settled on, and it is far from perfect, but it works the best for me. I purchased a portable file storage box and some hanging files. I don’t cut any coupons out ahead of time, just as I need them. I have a hanging file that corresponds to each week, and the full inserts are stored in order from newest in front to oldest in back. The only supplies you need for this method is the hanging file box and the hanging file folders.
Although it is time consuming on shopping days since I have to look through the entire insert, I found it was less time consuming overall since there was no wasted time clipping and organizing coupons that went unused.
- minimal cost up front
- most time efficient since I am only cutting as I go
- time consuming on shopping day since I need to actually look everything up
- larger space to store the box is needed
I have written extensively about how I keep my grocery budget low in posts like 15 Essential Grocery Tips for Feeding My Family of 8 for $250 a Month, 15 Frugal Tips for Feeding a Large Family, and 15 More Frugal Tips for Feeing a Large Family. Using coupons at the right time is the largest ingredient in feeding my family on a tight budget.
I hope this gives you a good idea of some different methods that I have tried, and what I have and have not liked about each one. I guess overall I learned to keep trying different methods until I found one I liked. I would recommend the same for you. Try my methods or make up one of your own.
If you are looking to see this in greater detail, here is my Periscope broadcast on this subject. Just click here .
How do you store your coupons?