Couponing is somewhat of an acquired skill. It takes time, energy and organizational skills. Many people are not successful with using coupons because they do not take the time to learn a system. Along with learning the system, the key to making the most out of your coupons is to find an organization method that works for you. The most common method seems to be the photo album/baseball card method shown HERE. This method requires quite a bit of work, especially if you have multiple inserts each week. Another common method is the shoe box method. This is where you cut and file your coupons by category. While I believe that both of these methods work wonderfully for many people, they can be time consuming. If you need a quick, easy way to organize your inserts, try the "file and go" method.
Step 1: Organize inserts into piles by type, i.e Smart Source, Red Plum, General Mills, Proctor & Gamble. If there are two inserts that week for each type, sort individually.
Step 2: Write on the front of the insert in crayon or other non permeable marker the date of the insert. (Note do not write in sharpie, because it will go through to the inserts)
Step 3: Write on the front of a file folder the number of inserts in the folder by type. SS = Smart Source RP= Red Plum GM= General Mills PG= Proctor & Gamble
Step 4: Put sorted inserts in file and file away. You can use a traditional file or portable carrying case. Once your coupons are sorted like such, you simply need to follow the grocery store posts. Clip the coupon as per the post instructions. For example, if the post says to use $1.00/1 in the 09/13 SS - you will simply pull your 09/13 folder, cut the coupons needed and return the intact folder to the file. You may not be able to bring your entire stash of coupons with you, but you will no longer be searching through endless piles!
If you are looking for a coupon for something that is not on sale, you can always look it up on Hot Coupon World Coupon Database. Here is an example of a coupon listing from HCW. Ragu Product, Any - 09-13-09 RP Hopefully, this system will allow you to quickly get a handle on your coupons. As you become more familiar with couponing or have more time to spare, you can get into a more complex system that will allow you to carry your coupons to the store -- and score even more deals!
Thanks, Shannon at For the Mommas