I’ll be posting a series of articles on couponing basics and how to get your coupons organized so that you actually USE THEM and save money (ya know, instead of just collecting dust and eventually getting recycled).
So let’s get started by talking about organizing your take to store coupons. I use a small accordion file like this:
I tend to organize my coupons based on how my favorite grocery store is laid out.
Here is a sample layout of a grocery store:
I have given examples for each category:
Fruit and Vegetables- includes Bagged Salad, pre-cut fruit and vegetables, dried fruit, refrigerated soy products
Sauces / Dressings / Condiments- includes Mayo, mustard, BBQ sauce, salsa, salad dressing
Canned Goods & Soups- includes Canned beans, canned raviolis, canned tuna or chicken, canned or powdered soup and Ramen.
Pasta / Rice / Boxed Meals- includes Spaghetti, noodles, Hamburger Helper, Asian or Italian style boxes meal kits (such as Tai Pei or Romano’s)
Cereal / Breakfast Foods/Juice- includes Oatmeal, cream of wheat, juice boxes, bottled juice, Instant Breakfast
Flour / Baking / Oil/ Mixes/ Spices- includes cake/brownie mix, Bisquisk, graham cracker pie crusts, Jello and pudding, spray release, flour, white and brown sugar, Splenda
Beverages- includes soda, energy drinks, sparkling water, diet drinks, powdered beverage mixes (Kool-aid and Crystal Light), chocolate milk mix (liquid or powdered)
Meat- includes fresh or frozen beef, chicken, turkey, pork, lamb, fish, sausages/brats, pre-packaged cold cuts, breakfast sausage (link or patty), bacon, ham
Frozen Food- includes frozen veggies and fruit, pizza, diet foods (such as Lean Cuisine), individual and family sized entrees, ice cream, popsicles, frozen meat free alternatives, ice
Dairy- includes milk, cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs, coffee creamer, butter, margarine/spread, pudding/jello cups, tubes or packages of cookie dough, canned dough
Cookies/ Crackers/ Snacks- includes pre-packed portions (such as 100 calorie snack packs), cookies, crackers, popcorn, chips, pretzels, nuts, trail mix
Baby- Includes formula, diapers, wipes, baby care products, baby food and toddler food and snacks
Bakery/Bread- includes bread, tortillas, pita, sandwich thins, English muffins/crumpets, bagels, rolls, donuts, croissants, French bread, freshly made cookies, cakes and other desserts
Deli- includes deli Meat, cheese, hummus, fresh guacamole, fresh salsa, bagel chips, packaged specialty cheeses (Goat and blue cheese), hot and cold deli salads and foods (such as fried chicken, rotisserie chicken, take and bake pizzas, salad bar, olive bar, freshly made sandwiches)
Personal Care / Medicine- Includes over the counter medications, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, tooth paste, tooth brushes, hand soap, loofahs/bath poufs, bubble bath, lotion, shaving cream, razors, feminine products
Paper Goods / Containers- Tin foil, plastic wrap, disposable food containers, toilet paper, paper towels, paper napkins, plastic silverware, paper plates
Cleaning / Other Household Supplies- dishwashing liquid, dishwasher detergent, home cleaning products (pine-sol, ammonia, bleach), laundry detergent, mops, sponges, brooms and dustpans, candles, scented home sprays, air fresheners.
Miscellaneous- You can use this section for restaurant coupons, specific store coupons, rebates.