Organize Your Grocery Coupons

Using grocery coupons can be time consuming and overwhelming if you don't have a good organizational system. Developing a method for organizing grocery coupons is a worthwhile activity because it will enable you to shop more efficiently and save money at the grocery store. When I first started using coupons to grocery shop, I had a small plastic organizer that had about 12 sections in it. This worked fine at the time. After becoming a mom, I developed an increased enthusiasm for couponing and adopted it as my new hobby. I signed up for extra Sunday newspapers, just for the additional coupons. My handy little coupon organizer couldn't take the pressure. It was just too small, and I needed more categories so I could find coupons quicker.

Using manufacturers coupons can save hundreds of dollars per year or more.
Using manufacturers coupons can save hundreds of dollars per year or more.

I searched the web for a larger organizer, but the only ones that seemed big enough were pretty expensive. I decided to try making my own before spending big bucks. I bought a check filing box from an office supply store for about $8 and turned it into a coupon organizer. The file box came with twelve dividers. That wasn't enough for me, so I traced the provided dividers onto pieces of cardstock so I would have more. I personalized each category and subcategory with printed labels. I also alphabetized and color coded the categories.

By increasing the number of sections in my organizer, I can now find specific coupons much faster. For example, I used to keep all toiletries in the same slot. Now, toiletries are divided into eight subcategories. If I need to find a coupon for deodorant, I know exactly where to look.

Grocery Shopping Tip: Keep a pen and small calculator in your coupon box in case you need to calculate a deal on the spot!

The only down side to this system is that the box is somewhat large. I can't just toss it in my purse like I could with my smaller organizer. Sometimes I do take the whole box with me to the store, but most of the time I only take the coupons I know I'm going to use. This requires scanning the grocery ads ahead of time and making a shopping list for each store I plan to visit. To avoid carrying the box with me, I divide my coupons into envelopes labeled with grocery store names. I keep one labeled envelope in my box for each store I shop at regularly. If I have grocery lists for Safeway and Fry's, I put the coupons I'm going to use at those stores into their respective envelopes and toss them in my purse.

List of supplies needed to start a coupon organizer box:

  • Check filing box
  • Cardstock
  • Small envelopes
  • Printable Adhesive Labels (optional)
  • Coupons

 

15. FROZEN

· Bread & Dough

· Breakfast Items

· Desserts/Novelties/Ice Cream

· Fruits & Veggies

· Juices

· Meals & Pizza

16. PAPER SUPPLIES

· Toilet Paper

· Kleenex

· Paper Towels/Napkins

· Plates/Cups/Cutlery

· Bags/Foil/Wrap

17. PERSONAL CARE

· Deodorant

· Shaving Products

· Feminine Products

· Soap & Body Wash

· Make-up

· Skin Care

· Dental

· Hair Care

18. PRODUCE

19. PET SUPPLIES

20. SPICES

21. RESTAURANTS

22. SNACKS

· Gum & Mints

· Candy

· Cookies & Crackers

· Chips/Pretzels/Snack Mix/Popcorn

· Jello & Pudding

· Bars-Granola & Cereal

· Snack Cakes

 

If you are ready to create your first coupon organizer or expand the one you already have, use the following categories and subcategories as a guide. Make it your own by personalizing the categories according to your needs. If you don't have babies, leave out the divider for baby products. If you don't have pets, skip that divider too. Label your dividers in a way that will increase your grocery shopping efficiency.

Categories & Subcategories

1. BABY PRODUCTS

2. BAKING

· Baking Mixes

· Baking Supplies

3. BEVERAGES

· Refrigerated

· Non-Refrigerated

4. BREAD

5. CANNED GOODS

· Fruit

· Meat

· Soup & Chili

· Vegetables

6. CEREAL

7. CLEANING

· Cleaners

· Dishwasher Products

· Laundry Products

· Air Sanitizers

· Liquid Dish Soap

8. CONDIMENTS

· Mayo/Mustard/Ketchup

· Jelly/Syrup/PB

· Salad Dressing

· Sauces/Marinades

9. DAIRY

· Butter & Eggs

· Cheese

· Dough-Refrigerated

· Other Dairy

· Yogurt

10. ENTRÉE MIXES

11. PASTA & RICE

12. MEAT

13. MEDICINE

14. MISC

 

Click thumbnail to view full-size
This is my coupon boxInside the box, all of my coupons are organized into categories and subcategoriesEach category is a different color for easy coupon searchingI keep a labeled envelope for each grocery store in my box
This is my coupon box
This is my coupon box
Inside the box, all of my coupons are organized into categories and subcategories
Inside the box, all of my coupons are organized into categories and subcategories
Each category is a different color for easy coupon searching
Each category is a different color for easy coupon searching
I keep a labeled envelope for each grocery store in my box
I keep a labeled envelope for each grocery store in my box

Learn From the Pros!

When I completed my coupon box, it was pretty empty because my coupon supply was not very large. Each week, the coupon files expanded more and more as I collected additional coupons from my Sunday newspapers. Don't worry if you can't fill the box right away. The coupons will come! I often joke that losing my coupon box would be worse than losing my wallet. I usually don't have any cash in my wallet, but my coupons are worth hundreds!

This certainly isn't the only way to organize coupons. I know other coupon fanatics who use binders with clear plastic trading card pages. The coupons can be inserted into the slots and are visible through the plastic. Develop a system that works well for you. Be creative and have fun with this project. Most of all, enjoy the savings you will reap using coupons at the grocery store!

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Comments 22 comments

Neil Sperling profile image

Neil Sperling 8 years ago from Port Dover Ontario Canada

Interesting - Here you teach organizing coupons and One World United is trying to eliminate them ...LOL - Good hub - I know a few people who use coupons like crazy!

Cheers


shawna.wilson profile image

shawna.wilson 8 years ago from Arizona Author

Eliminate grocery coupons? I think I would cry! I am one of those "crazies" you speak of :)


Lynn E profile image

Lynn E 8 years ago from San Diego, California USA

Why would anyone want to eliminat coupons? They help a lot of people get by.

Thanks Shawna for sharing your system. I can never find coupons I want quickly. I"ll try your system. Mine is definitely not working.


shawna.wilson profile image

shawna.wilson 8 years ago from Arizona Author

Lynn E-I hope you find a system that works for you. Couponing is so much easier when you can find what you're looking for in a snap. Good luck!


Mom 8 years ago

I really like my smaller version of the coupon organizer. Thanks for helping me to get all of my coupons in order. The time spent is well worth the money saved!!


shawna.wilson profile image

shawna.wilson 8 years ago from Arizona Author

Mom-I agree. I save so much money with coupons. The money saved can be used towards something else, like paying down debt or increasing savings. Or you can use the savings to treat yourself to a pedicure! That's much more fun :)


RGraf profile image

RGraf 8 years ago from Wisconsin

Great ideas. I used to use coupons a lot, but we began to use a discount store that doesn't take them and was always cheaper than other stores. Now, where we have moved coupons will be a smart option again.

Thanks for the tips and advice.


shawna.wilson profile image

shawna.wilson 8 years ago from Arizona Author

RGraf-I live in a very competetive grocery market, so stores are always using coupons as incentives to shop...doubling, tripling, sometimes even quadrupling coupons! It's awesome. I get so much stuff for free. Hope you will too!


save-cash-online profile image

save-cash-online 7 years ago from Phoenix

Great Hub...very detailed, which is nice too see. I'll definitely review some of your other work to see what else you've written. Thanks for the great info and products! Cathy@save-cash-online.com.


shawna.wilson profile image

shawna.wilson 7 years ago from Arizona Author

Thanks Cathy!


Printable Coupons 7 years ago

This is some great info


shawna.wilson profile image

shawna.wilson 7 years ago from Arizona Author

I'm glad it was helpful to you. Thanks for reading!


Grace Latour 7 years ago

If you would like a purse size coupon organizer, I found some super cute coupon organizers @ http://www.austinartisan.etsy.com. You can take just the ones you need to the store without a big box of coupons. She has 100's of styles, they are all handmade and she even made me a custom monogram for my daughter.

She runs specials all the time so go visit her store. I am so excited about my order with her.

She is having a Mother's Day special right now. 2 for $21.00, can't beat that!


shawna.wilson profile image

shawna.wilson 7 years ago from Arizona Author

Thanks for the tip, Grace. I looked on the etsy site, and the coupon organizers are really cute. Much nicer looking than my big ugly box! :)


Grace Latour 7 years ago

No problem - Thanks to you as well! Your tips are great and I love seeing that other's are trying to save just like my family. Everyone has a different way to organize..Thanks again for your tips!


shawna.wilson profile image

shawna.wilson 7 years ago from Arizona Author

You're so welcome! Take care :)


Kebennett1 profile image

Kebennett1 7 years ago from San Bernardino County, California

Great idea. Thank you. My coupons have been so disorganized! From all being thrown into a drawer, to being shoved into baggies. Maybe this will work!


shawna.wilson profile image

shawna.wilson 7 years ago from Arizona Author

Kebennett1-organization is a must if you want to use coupons successfully (in my opionion!) because you can't use them if you can't find them :) Sometimes I get behind and have a whole pile to sort through, but if I go through them once a week or so, it seems to stay under control. Thanks for reading!


mailxpress profile image

mailxpress 6 years ago from New York

Hello,

Good advice. Organizing is half the battle. I placed a link to this hub on one of my websites. If you would like to know where please email me. I don't want to post it here because it might be considered spam. Have a great day. Good Hub.

mailxpress


Maddie34 5 years ago

This was my first week using coupons! I am excited to say that I am so surprised that I actually saved a whole lot using coupons at Publix, Walgreens and CVS. The only frustrating part was searching for the coupons in my folder. I had no organization what's so ever and it just took me forever:( . I Did a little research and heard about the binder and using the baseball card and getting dividers...well I've been stuck on what to write on the dividers...LOL...Your post on listing the categories/subcategories just made my night!!! LOL...I couldn't find another website that listed your ideas. Thanks so much for your post. It was really helpful!!

Maddie


shawna.wilson profile image

shawna.wilson 5 years ago from Arizona Author

Maddie-Great! I'm glad you found the information you were looking for :)


MarloByDesign profile image

MarloByDesign 5 years ago from United States

Wow - I think you are the best coupon organizer ever! I thought I was, but your Hub gave me some new ideas. The only thing I would do differently is combine the SPICES category under CONDIMENTS. I like fewer categories. Great Hub!

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    shawna.wilson610 Followers
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    Shawna is a working wife and mom with a passion for achieving financial freedom. Her family is on track to be completely debt free by 2018!



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