Couponing 101: How to Organize your Coupons - The Accordion Way

To see all of the posts in our Couponing 101 Series click here!

Great you know where to find your coupons!  Before you know it you will have a big pile of them just waiting to be used!

There is nothing worse than spending time clipping great coupons only to not be able to find them when you are at the store.  Well, or forgetting them.  OR letting them expire.

I guess, it’s also not very much fun when you run into the store for a gallon of milk and the lady in front of you is dumping out her purse because she “has a coupon for that…somewhere.”  Or not being able to get through the aisles because of all of the people standing at their carts searching through piles of coupons.

The only way coupons are worth it is if you use them smart.  If it takes you 10 minutes to find that 25¢ coupon is it worth it?  I don’t know about you but my time is worth more than 25¢!  You need to be efficient in order to maximize your savings!  Organizing your coupons and your list is just as important as planning out your trip (more on that later!).  There are quite a few ways to organize your coupons.  Here is one.

The Accordion Folder:

(I got these at Target in the dollar bins)

Simple, easy to carry, cost effective and most of all, it gets the job done!  I recommend that you buy 2-3 accordian folders – the small ones not the big ones!  That way you can have one for food, household supplies, and one for personal care products.  Having 3 different ones (in different colors – or labeled) will really help you categorize better which means finding coupons easier.

Now there are a few disadvantages to having accordion folders.  You can’t flip through and see all the coupons at once and you may outgrow it.

Here is how you set it up:

Come up with your categories that you want for your folders.  Label them.  Add coupons to the appropriate folders.

That’s it. Easy huh?

Here are some categories that you might want to consider:

Food folder:

  1. Bakery/Deli/Produce (You can lump these categories together since coupons are sometimes harder to come by.  Plus they are generally in the same area of the supermarket.)
  2. Meat & Dairy (including cheese and yogurt)
  3. Cold items (like Pillsbury, pudding, pre-made cookies, butter)
  4. Condiments/Marinades/Dressings
  5. Drinks/Drink Mixes
  6. Chips/Crackers/Cookies
  7. Freezer Items – Meals (Pizza, skillet meals, frozen dinners)
  8. Freezer Items – Sides (Breadsticks, frozen veggies)
  9. Freezer Items – Desserts (Ice cream, popsicles)
  10. Canned Goods (veggies, soups,
  11. Breakfast items (cereals, pop tarts, oatmeal)
  12. Snacks – (fruit snacks, nuts,candy, granola bars)
  13. Other

Household folder:

  1. Dishes
  2. Laundry
  3. All purpose
  4. Bathroom
  5. Air fresheners
  6. Paper Towels
  7. Toilet Paper
  8. Other paper Goods
  9. Batteries
  10. Other
  11. (this is also where I put Extra Care bucks, Catalinas, & Register Rewards)
  12. (Also where I put my dining out coupons!)

Personal Care products:

  1. Make-up
  2. Hair Care (Shampoo, Conditioner, Stylers, Hair dye)
  3. Shaving (Razors, Shaving Cream)
  4. Teeth (Toothpaste, toothbrushes, Floss, Mouthwash)
  5. Feminine products
  6. Deodorants/Body Spray
  7. Soap/Body Wash
  8. Lotions
  9. Medication – Children’s
  10. Medication – Adult’s
  11. Medication – Vitamins
  12. Other

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