Cutting & Filing
There are many options available to organize the coupons you cut out. You can do an online search for more fancy coupon organizers, but they are often costly.
This is back in the dollar section at Target. (January 2012)
Usually, stores like Target, Walmart, Staples, etc. carry a basic, inexpensive coupon envelope or a sturdy envelope with dividers. Unless you are sure you want to jump in completely, I suggest that you start with one of those and go from there. If you want your holder to last longer and it’s not plastic, I suggest covering it with clear packing tape.
Other popular systems use a recipe type box with dividers or a three ring binder with clear plastic sleeves (baseball card holder style) that you can slip coupons in.
One of my old, dirty, tattered ones that I've had for years.
What do I use? I started with one divided envelope that I outgrew and I just kept expanding until I have what I do today. I will explain my previous system before I switched to my hybrid method of non-cutting and cutting below.
I will attempt to explain it in detail, but please understand that there are so many ways that will work. This is just what I did. Warning — it took me a long time to set up. Consider doing it while you watch TV or do some other similar task. I made mine on our drive to CA one time. I used a sturdy plastic envelope that already had dividers in it. However, there weren’t enough, so I added a bunch. The more dividers you have, the shorter time it takes you to find coupons.
Sample of divider I made out of card stock & mailing tape.
I made my additional dividers out of card stock, reinforcing each tab and the top with mailing tape. I have listed the tabs below if you want to use it as a launching pad for creating your own system. I have two envelopes (different colors) for my grocery and drugstore shopping. One is for food, the other is for non-food. One may be enough for you.
I have a completely separate envelope for all other types of coupons. I have restaurant, retail, entertainment, etc. in there.
I always keep my coupons in my vehicle since I never know when I want to make quick trip somewhere. I do drag them in and out to get ready for a shopping trip, of course.
Here is a list of my tabs, just to help you brainstorm. I seem to change them slightly every few years when I make new envelopes, adjusting for sections that are too full or sparse. You'll probably want to alter them some to meet your buying needs. If you primarily shop at one store, consider the layout of the store. (Some divisions below may not make sense to you, but they are mostly set up the way my favorite store organizes their aisles. I also have more specific categories for areas that I tend to accumulate more coupons for.)
Food: Baking, Bread, Bars & Fruit Snacks, Cereal & Breakfast, Chips & Cookies & Crackers, Candy & Gum, Popcorn & Nuts & Other Snacks, Condiments, Rice & Pasta, Soup & Misc. Cans, Ethnic, Canned Fruit & Veggies, Drinks (non chilled), Drinks (chilled), Cheese, Deli Meat, Yogurt, Rolls & Cookie Dough, Butter, Misc. Chilled, Produce, Frozen Meals, Frozen Dessert, Frozen Breakfast, Other Frozen, Albertsons, Bashas', Fry's, Safeway
Non-Food: Haircare, Toothpaste (all oral care), Deodorant, Soap, Skincare, Razors, Make-Up, Feminine Hygiene, Medical #1 (more mainstream, my own definition), Medical #2, Laundry & Dishwashing, Cleaning, Fresheners, Paper Goods (TP, Kleenex, paper towels), Storage Bags (plates, cups, etc.), Baby (I put food in here too), Pet, Misc., CVS, Walgreens, Target
Note: I put rainchecks and store specific coupons with each store. I also put special coupons (free, very good ones, etc) in a store I know I'll be at so that I don't forget to use it when I'm there.
Other Envelope: (non grocery/non drugstore) Fast Food, Restaurants, Mall, Service, Retail, Entertainment, Movies, Loyalty Cards, Gift Cards, Prescriptions (Eventually, the rubber band closure broke and Velcro was added to keep it closed. Keep your system going for a long as you can to save time!)
I just wanted to provide examples and some brainstorming here. Please do what you feel will work for you. It's very likely that you will combine categories. If you know you use a lot of a category, break it down further.
Make sure you put your name and phone number on whatever you settle on. There is a good chance that you will leave it somewhere. (Unfortunately, I am speaking from experience!)