The whole point in clipping coupons is to save money, so who wouldn't want a free coupon organizer? After all, it hardly makes sense to invest a lot of money in organizing your coupons when you are actually trying to conserve.
Make Free Organizers at Home
There are many different types of coupon organizers available; the key is to track down a free one. Often, you can find items you have on hand to use for an organizer, or you can borrow from a friend or family member. There are many different types of organizers you could use.
A number of boxes you find around the house work well as organizers. Consider:
- Envelope box:A box of envelopes can work really well as a coupon organizer. Lift up the flaps and use them as your tabs to label each envelope. Then place the coupons inside the envelopes. You can also use envelopes you've received through the mail. Just open them carefully to keep the flap intact for labeling.
- Recipe box: A recipe organizer is the perfect size for coupon organizing and often already has separate compartments. You may need to use sticky labels or glue on scraps of paper and do some relabeling of categories, but it will still be a free organizer.
- Index card box: Many people have one of these boxes sitting around the house unused. Add pieces of cardboard to the top of the index cards for labeling and you're ready to go.
To turn all of these boxes into a quick and simple coupon organizer, follow these steps:
- Empty the box of current items.
- Write a list of all the departments in your grocery store (produce, dairy, meat, canned vegetables, cereal, baking goods, etc.).
- Think about the layout of your favorite grocery store.
- Number the department list so it goes in the order you shop the store.
- Arrange the box dividers so it follows the layout of the store.
Keep any miscellaneous items in separate tabs towards the back of the organizer. This way, you don't have clothing store coupons, personal care coupons or restaurant coupons mixed in with the grocery coupons. Sort these categories alphabetically for ease. Now all of your coupons are in one place.
A binder system is a good way to actually see the coupons laid out, rather than thumbing through small boxes or envelopes for each individual coupon. This is a little more labor-intensive to make than using a box, but it's still free and well worth the effort if you are a coupon clipper. To make a binder system, do the following:
- Cut heavy paper (stock or construction) into small rectangles, approximately 1 by 2 inches in size.
- Add glue using white glue dots or a glue stick around the two short edges and one long edge of the small rectangles.
- Lay the pockets out so the open edge is up and arrange in a grid on an 8.5 by 11 inch piece of heavy paper.
- Allow the pages to dry, punch holes into them and place in the binder.
- Clip coupons and place into the pockets so you can read the product name and expiration date. Longer coupons should be folded to fit the pockets.
- Organize the binder using the steps listed in the box section.
If you desire, you can even color code the different types of coupons. Simply use construction paper in the same color for each category. Blue could be cleaning supply coupons, pink for clothing coupons, yellow for produce, and so on.
Photo Book System
If you are organizing your photos and find yourself with an empty album, don't throw it out. Instead, use it as a coupon organizer. Use a sticky note to label each section and slip coupons into the photo slots. If you fold longer coupons, you can usually fit two or three in one photo slot. Make sure you keep the album organized, just like the box and binder systems. Stagger the labels to make it easier to find the right section.
Tips for Organizing Coupons
No coupon organizer is going to work well if you don't do a little occasional maintenance. Follow these tips to keep your free organizer useful:
- Try your organizer out for a few shopping trips. If it turns out you don't like to organize by store layout, consider going alphabetically by item (bread, cereal) or by brand name.
- When adding new coupons to the organizer, check each section for expired coupons.
- Remember to include printable coupons with your clipped coupons.
- Keep a note in the front of your organizer about upcoming events, such as back-to-school clothes shopping or a bake sale, that would require additional savings from your coupons. This way, you don't forget to check for coupons for these items.
Easy Shopping Savings
It shouldn't be a hassle to save when you visit the grocery store, discount store or clothing store. Keep all of your shopping coupons sorted by making a free organizer at home.