Ahh, coupons! Is there another thing as wonderful as coupons? Okay, so maybe I have an unnatural relationship with coupons. They are great and I do love them, but there are so many of them out there and what do you do to keep them organized? I have seen several ways to keep up with them, but only one works for me. I will lay it all out and let you decide what works best for you.
Some people only cut out the ones they know they are going to use. These are usually the people who keep them in an envelope or a coupon organizer and just throw it in their bag so they always have their coupons when they need them. This is great, there is nothing worse then knowing you have a coupon for something and not actually having it with you when you need it.
Some people save the whole coupon insert and only cut out the ones that are going to be using on a shopping trip. These are the people who look at the ads and see what is on sale and match coupons to get the best savings. The only coupons brought are the coupons to be used on that trip. For this style of couponing you could either go through all of the inserts before you go to the store or you could use a service such as Deal Seeking Mom Coupon Database. She also has a place for you to keep track of your personal coupons.
The organizer or database may be best for you, just not for me. My way is the Binder Method. I have a 3" 3 ring binder full of coupons! It didn't' start out full, in fact I only started with 9 pages in it. I am now closer to 80 pages. I use the plastic baseball card holders to hold my coupons. You can fit 9 per page and most coupons will fit perfectly into the sleeve without any extra trimming. I have organized them in the order that I go through the store so I can flip through the pages as I go. I also keep paperclips in my binder and as I pull coupons I clip them together, that way when I am ready to check out I have only the coupons that I am using out and ready to hand to the cashier. When I make my grocery list I put a "C" next to the items that I have coupons for so that I know to grab it out of the binder. The Binder Method works best for me since the stores don't put all sale items in their ads and there will always be something that I want to get that I didn't know was on sale. It also works great for Wal-Mart's clearance aisles, I have gotten hair color (not that I have any grey-it's actually more of a silvery white) that was normally over $7.00 on clearance for $4.00 and I had a $2.00 off coupon in with me in my binder so I got it for $2.00! The Binder Method does mean that you have to put in a little extra effort to make it work. I cut out every coupon in the inserts with the exception of baby products since mine are out of that stage (sniff, sniff). While I am cutting out the coupons on Sunday afternoon I put them into categories on the floor such as frozen food, yogurt, cheese, cleaning supplies, etc. When all of the coupons are cut and organized then I put them into the binder, as I flip each page and check for any expired coupons to purge out of the binder. If you do go for the binder method be ready to change the order that your coupons are in. For example, I used to have one page for cleaning supplies I now have several- one for dish soap (sink), one for dishwasher soap, one for multi-purpose cleaning, one for laundry, one for dusting and one for paper goods (paper towels, tissues and toilet paper).
It does take a little time, but I am such a nerd that I actually enjoy it. I like sitting on the floor surrounded by my piles of coupons and then flipping through and seeing all of them nice, neat, organized and ready to save me some money!