Non-Cutting, File Whole Insert
Obviously, you will have to eventually cut the coupons you want, but you won’t cut “what if” coupons or coupons you don’t end up needing. You’ll save time filing a bunch of extra coupons and cleaning out each expired coupon later. If you are able to leave your home with an organized plan, this method might be for you. The biggest drawback is that you won’t have your extra coupons with you for those surprise deals you stumble on or the item you forget to add to your list. You might prefer the cutting method or the combo method if that bothers you.
The method is simple. You write the date on the outside of each Sunday coupon insert, file the whole insert, and cut the coupon you want when you need it. The lists I provide tell you which date and insert to get each coupon from. (SS = Smart Source, RP = Red Plum, GM = General Mills, P&G = Proctor & Gamble) The shopping list feature even allows you to organize your coupons by insert so you can cut everything you need out of it at one time.
If you want something that’s not on my lists, you can find your coupon by using a coupon database. (One of the tabs on the menu bar of the website too.)
If you get more than one set of coupons, I suggest creating a collated insert. I do that by preserving one outer cover and back page to hold the other sheets inside. I rip apart each page and stick like sheets of coupons on top of each other. When you need a coupons, you can cut more than one at at time.
This has five dividers and was found in Target’s dollar section.
(Update: Not there now, June 2012 — at least I don’t think.)
Staples or other stores also have similar organizers.
I would purchase three, if you go with this inexpensive method.
You can use a file box, plastic tote-type box, file drawer, larger divided envelope style holder, or really any method of keeping your coupons organized. The exact way you do that is up to you. I prefer to have a rotating system and not waste a file folder for each date, though that is an option.
I have a file box that I’ve labeled with “Week 1” through “Week 12.” (If I did it again, I would label “A through L” just to have fewer numbers involved to confuse me.) I have a sticky note on the inside of the box that tells me which date goes with which letter. Something like:
Week 1 = 8/14
Week 2 = 8/21
Week 3 = 8/29 etc.
I choose to keep all my inserts in the same slot, but you could divide it even more, with the date and insert. (ie: A= 8/14 SS, B= 8/14 RP) Obviously, you’d need more slots.)
* If you get behind or get confused, the date is printed very small on the binding of each coupon insert.
I have a spot to put my weekly ads in front and a few other things labeled in the back like “Older” & “Misc” & “Booklets.” I rarely use these sections since I’ve found I prefer to cut most misc. items and file them a different way, but you might want to keep them together here.
Twelve slots have worked well for me. When I’m running out of slots, I flip through the oldest inserts and toss the expired ones, occasionally cutting one or two that haven’t expired. (If I have time and motivation, I cut the ones I feel are the best and donate them for military to use overseas. There are many places that will take them. Do an internet search for “donate coupons to military” and you will see many.) Clearing out the old ones frees up the slots for the next sets that are coming. I either cross off, the previous date (when I’m feeling lazy) or make a new sticky note for my key.
Note: I still suggest you have an envelope or some other way to transport the coupons you end up taking to the store. You will also find that you will cut coupons you don’t end up using (out of stock, change mind, etc.). You might want to put them in the same envelope you carry to the store. Or, you’ll need a divider to put those in or just be diligent about putting them back with the proper insert.