For me, organizing coupons has been a 'work in progress'. I have used several different methods before settling on the system I currently use.
My first method was simply an envelope with a few manufacturer's coupons in it for items I knew I would purchase. I clipped very few coupons then, so this system seemed to work. They were not in any particular order and usually expired before I remembered to use them.
Next, I got a little more serious about couponing. I bought a small coupon organizer with dividers in it to separate the coupons into various groups. At this point, I was cutting more coupons than before, and this system seemed sufficient.
After this, I realized that the small holder was becoming so packed that it was hard to flip through the coupons to find the one that I wanted to use. So, I bought a large plastic shoebox container and some large dividers to again separate the coupons by types. This system was actually very effective in that I had a lot of room to store the coupons, they were very well organized by groups, and they were protected in a box with lid. However, the downfall for me in this system is that I was cutting so many coupons, even multiple copies of the same coupon, that I got tired of looking through even the divided sections to find the right coupon. Also, I found that I allowed so many coupons to expire because they got lost in the sections.
And this leads me to what I believe to be the most effective way to organize coupons and the system that I now use. I bought a package of baseball card sleeves (the clear plastic ones with 9 pockets front and back). I placed these sleeves into a large 3 ring binder and began organizing my coupons. Now, I have to say that the initial setup of this system is quite time consuming, but the results are well worth the effort.
Now all my coupons (which is numerous for I buy up to 10 copies of the Sunday paper) are organized using this system. I placed them in order based upon the aisles of the grocery store I most commonly shop. I can see all my coupons, the value of them, and the expiration date. It has really made using coupons much easier and quicker.
For example, if Cheerios are on sale, I got to the cereal section in my binder. I look for Cheerios coupons and can tell by the amount whether it's a good deal. If it is, I pull out those coupons, for all the Cheerios coupons are in the same pocket and know how many boxes I will buy at the sale price.
I have found this current well organized system to be the best at maximizing savings. I know what coupons I have, where they are, and can quickly determine how many I have for a particular item. I believe that I save so much more money using this system. Again, it is a little more time consuming especially initially, but for me it is well worth the effort.
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