Thursday, October 17, 2013

All Those Coupons

So a few months ago, after watching Extreme Couponing on TLC, I was obsessed with trying to find deals. I quickly accumulated a shoe box full of useless coupons as they were never organized and expired before I could use them. I quickly realized I had to do something! In came my binder organization system- I separated coupons by item types and expiration dates. After I was finished I couldn't believe the results. Yes, my binder looked wonderful but I couldn't believe for what the coupons were- most were for boxed or canned foods! My family does not even so much as eat cereal so most of what I had collected was useless to us! Even the coupons for personal items such as shampoo and razors were useless to me as my house does not have space for 10 shampoo bottles or 50 laundry detergents. Please don't misunderstand, coupons might work for some families but not for my family, our restrictions, or philosophy. That said, we do use some types of coupons, for example coupons for school supplies or clothing. Therefore, I decided to share my simple coupon organization system for those of us who have a few coupons and have a magnetic surface in plain view when exiting our houses.

The first action you need to take is collect all your coupons and go through them. Keep only the coupons that have not expired. Be realistic about what you can and can not use. Just because you have a $10 off coupon from company X, it does not mean that you have to keep the coupon or even USE it. Coupons are a marketing ploy, don't get caught up in HAVING to use them all the time.- that causes for irresponsible financial habits and a cluttered house. The coupons that you don't wish to keep send to military families! The Krazy Coupon Lady has a wonderful post explaining how to go about sending unused and expired coupons to military families. 

Once you have decided on the coupons that you are going to keep, you need to sort them into categories. I only have 6 coupons that fit into one category- clothing. With the coupons sorted you will need a place to store them. I suggest purchasing some adhesive poly envelopes (I use Avery envelopes from Staples) and magnetic sheets that are close in size to your envelopes (or reuse old magnets). Use one envelope for each category. Adhere the magnet to the back of the poly envelope and place coupons inside, the largest coupons in the back and the smallest in the front so that they are all visible. Seal your envelop and stick it to your refrigerator. BAM, now all your coupons are sorted by category and easily assessable. The key here is to get rid of as many coupons as possible. Keep your coupon collection to an absolute minimum and to go through expired coupons on a monthly basis.

My six coupons left after the purging.

My coupon envelope on the fridge. I always see my fridge before
 exiting the house so I am more likely to use the coupons
 if they are near the entrance door. 

You can tailor this system to fit your needs. If you don't have a magnetic surface then consider mounting a hanging folder near your door, just as long as your coupons are discretely visible to you before you exit your house. If you own a car, leave your coupons in your car so you always have them with you. It all depends on your lifestyle and your couponing habits. There is no one system that works for everyone. The point is to limit your collection to what you will realistically use and to strategically place them somewhere that they are visible and thus will be used.

Hope this helps!


How do you organize your coupons? Do you use all of your coupons? 


  1. Two other things worth considering:
    -Can I get the coupon'd item elsewhere at a similar price? If so, no need to feel rushed to use the coupon. Think of the produce overlap between Wal Mart, Target, your local grocery store, Bed Bath and Beyond, and other similar stores.
    -Is the store unique? One of the coupons you have is from Brooks Brothers, which is the only company which makes clothing of both that style and quality. Ralph Lauren, for instance, has some similarly cut clothing at a lower price point and somewhat lower quality. Hickey Freeman has similar quality, but with a more modern look and a higher price point. This makes the coupon especially worth keeping

    1. Very good point! Exceptional observation and comment. That's the whole point of simplicity- stick to the essentials. The questions you raised are essential in the purging process and that's what I mean by being realistic.

      Thank you for your comment!