Clip and Sort
The oldest and most common way of organizing coupons is by clipping them each week when your inserts arrive and then sorting them into a little accordion coupon holder, which you can pick up at your local dollar store. Most people begin this way, but the more you get into couponing, the harder this system can be to maintain. Sorting 100 coupons each week can become very time-consuming.
Set a Coupon Clipping Schedule
The best way to stay organized if using the clip-and-sort method is to pick a day in the week and put aside some time to sit down and clip all the coupons you think you may use. Then immediately put them into your coupon holder by department or whatever way you like to file. If you don't come up with a regular schedule, you'll end up with a pile of inserts and may feel completely overwhelmed. That overwhelmed feeling can result in you either tossing them all in the trash or waiting so long that the coupons you wanted to use have expired. That won't help you save money, especially if you purchased extra newspapers to get more coupons.
Enlist the family to help you cut coupons and even sort them. Little children can help match like pictures if you have several of the same coupons. They can even lay them out for you neatly so you can see what you have. If they are old enough to cut well, you can have them cut the coupons while you sort them. Make it a family affair and then they will learn along with you and it may help them budget their money better in the future.
Help! I'm Running Out of Room
Once you really get into using coupons, you may find that the small accordion file isn't big enough to hold all your coupons. This may seem hard to believe at first, but between the insert coupons, printable coupons, and all the others, you'll end up with a lot of coupons. Your file will be overflowing, which will slow down sorting, filing, and using.
If you outgrow the small file, it may be time to re-evaluate how you're organizing coupons. At this point you need a system that will accommodate a lot of coupons. One option is to move to a bigger accordion folder, perhaps one from the office supply store that is used to sort checks. But even if you do that, it may not be long before you need something even bigger to house all your coupons.