Step 3 - Organizing Your Coupons


I’m hoping to add photos to this page soon to make the methods more clear – please check back soon for the update.

Now that we’re gathering all those great coupons, we’ve got to organize them. Coupons will do you little good if they aren’t easy to find or store. You’ve got options here, and it all boils down to your own organization style and the amount of time you want to put into couponing. Below I’ve laid out some options on how to organize your coupons, as well as the pros and cons of each. If you’re just starting out, or don’t want to spend much time on the front end, I’d recommend going with the “insert filing” option. As you progress in your couponing skills, you’ll likely branch out to some other styles or maybe even a combination of styles. In time you’ll find a balance of effort and ease that works well for you, and that’s what really matters.

  •  Insert File- the easiest method. Requires only clipping coupons you’ll need.
  1. You will need: one 3 ring binder, one set of page protectors for 3 ring binders, one sharpie marker. Recommended – one zip-up pencil pouch
  2. Collect the whole coupon insert from your newspaper. On the front of the flyer write the date of circulation.
  3. Store the inserts in date order in a binder by sliding into page protectors. That’s it!
  4. When it’s time to make your shopping list use your online resources to find the insert name and date (for example, RP or Rep Plum 10/27). Locate that insert in your binder (this is why you want them in date order!) and clip the needed coupon.

It may sound a little tedious on the back-end, but I promise it will only take you a couple of minutes once you have your list. I recommend using a pencil pouch for storing loose coupons that you clip and don’t use. This will also give you a place to store printables and coupons collected in store.

Pros: Takes only moments to set up. Does not require clipping of excess coupons.

Cons: Because your coupons are hidden, so to speak, you may miss coupons that you would otherwise want to use. You will have to rely on online sources to tell you which coupons are matches for sales and where to find them. You won’t be carrying all the inserts to the store, so if you see a deal in store you’ll either have to pay up, miss out, or make another trip.


  • Coupon File (Accordion File)the most portable method
  1. You will need: one accordion style coupon or check file
  2. Clip all the coupons, or just the ones you know you want/need and store them by category in an accordion coupon folder.

Pros: Coupon folders are small and easily portable. You’ll have all your coupons with you, so if you see a deal at the store you can check for a corresponding coupon.

Cons: It is time-consuming to clip all the coupons ahead of time. You’ll likely end up with a lot of coupons, so it can be difficult to search them to determine if you have a corresponding coupon, especially in the middle of the store with your hands full.


  • Coupon Binder – the is the big-time couponers best friend. If you are serious about organization and serious about couponing (and have time to devote) this is the ultimate coupon method. The coupon binder is made to travel, and will save you a ton since your coupons are always on hand and easy to spot. If you are switching from another method to this one you may want to start just with your new circulars while wearing out your old method. It won’t take long to get fully switched over – trying to do a couple hundred coupons is a huge chore!
  1. You will need: one 3 ring binder (at least 1″ thick), 1 set of 3 ring dividers, 1-2 sets of baseball card protector sheets (found in big box stores in the collectible card section, usually near the checkout stands). Recommended – one zip-up pencil pouch and one set of page protectors
  2. Label your dividers with your grocery categories. Think about how you move through the store and the various sections – beverage, dairy, meat, canned, frozen, etc. You can make as many or as few categories as you like and you’ll probably end up tweaking your categories a little as you gather coupons.
  3. Assemble your binder – put your pencil pouch in front for any loose coupons (I use it for coupons I know I’ll be using at the store) and put a few card protector sheet between each divider. Put your large page protectors in the back – this is for inserts waiting to be clipped and over-sized coupons.
  4. When you get your inserts, go ahead and cut out all your coupons. If you get more than one of the same insert (from double papers, for example), stack together the like pages to cut them at the same time. You can also use a rotary cutter on a cutting mat if you’d like.
  5. Now sort through your coupons and quickly separate them by the categories you made above.
  6. Insert your coupons into the card protectors in the appropriate categories. You probably have to fold some edges to do this. Try to keep an indication of the item, value, and expiration date visible (or write the expiration date so it will be visible). If you have like coupons in there already, place the one with the earliest expiration on top.
  7. Once per month go through your binder and pull any expired coupons. This will keep your binder from getting overly cluttered.

Pros: the largest savings and least back-end effort, easy to find coupons, easy to carry with you.

Cons: largest up front time and effort, can be overwhelming for beginners.

Holy moly! That sounds like a lot of work! Why would anyone do this???

Well, because you can easily find various types of coupons and you can actually see them, the coupon binder gives you savings beyond your shopping list. Imagine this – you make a list and already have the coupons you’ll use ready to go. You get to the store and see they’ve got some cleaning items you love are on clearance. You flip to your cleaning section and, sure enough, you’ve got coupons for these items. With your coupons you get a bunch of cleaning items for free or nearly so! You would be amazed how often this happens with food and other items.

Or, you get to the store and remember you needed lunch meat. You forgot to look for a lunch meat deal at home, but since you’ve got your binder you flip through and find some coupons that will give you a big discount over even the lunch meat that’s on sale this week. If you didn’t have your binder you would’ve been paying full price, and that’s money down the drain.


  • Hybrid Method – Like the idea of the coupon binder, but don’t want to invest the time? How about mixing it with the full insert storage?
  1. You will need: two 3 ring binders, 1 set card protectors, 1 set page dividers, 1 set page protectors, 1 sharpie maker. Recommended – one pencil pouch
  2. Assemble your binder as in the coupon binder instructions.
  3. When you get your inserts, flip through them and cut out only the coupons you think you may use. Store the clipped coupons in the labeled sections as in the coupon binder instructions.
  4. Write the dates on the what’s left of the inserts and store in the secondary binder. You can store them in your first binder, but you’ll likely find it too bulky to carry with you.
  5. Use the pencil pouch for coupons you plan to use on your trip or loose coupons collected in store that are waiting to be organized.

Pros: Less up front effort than the coupon binder, but still gives you easy access to most likely used coupons.

Cons: You will miss deals for items you don’t normally purchase because the needed coupons are hidden.


Ok, we’ve covered the major methods. Like I said, you’ll probably try out more than one before you find a way that works best for you. Feel free to play around with combining methods – there’s no right or wrong here!


Next stop – learn the rules of coupons


This free website was made using Yola.

No HTML skills required. Build your website in minutes.

Go to and sign up today!

Make a free website with Yola