Coupon organizing 101: Q&A with Coupon Cravings

If you clip coupons you know that organizing them is half the battle, as GI Joe would say. How do you file them? Where do you keep them? How do you remember to bring them to the store?

I asked Erin Gifford, the coupon whiz behind CouponCravings, for her secrets on how she organizers her coupons in one minute, how long she keeps coupons around, and where you can use expired coupons.

I began clipping everything, but I quickly realized that is insane. It is better to file each insert by week. How do you organize your coupons?

You can't clip every coupon. i could tell you didn't have kids because if you have kids you don't have time to clip all the coupons.

There are two methods for clipping coupons. One is clipping them all out and filing them all right away. The second one is putting the inserts into that folder.

I kind of do a mix of both. I have my file folders but I'll try to cut out the ones I'm 95 percent sure I'm going to use, like for Danon yogurt because my husband takes those to work. But I always have the inserts, because as I'm sure you found...there will be really great deals but you have to have the coupon from two weeks ago or a month ago.

How long do you keep your coupons for?

About two months. The P&G inserts are good for 1-2 months. Colgate is like a three week window. Usually coupons are good for about 8-12 weeks. Then I recycle the folders.

You can spend expired coupons at military bases overseas. Cut the coupons out, sort them by food and non-food and put them in big ziplock bag. The coupons you send should be good for three months because it takes awhile to send and receive them, then get them to military families.

How many folders do you have?

I do one folder by date, not separte ones for P&G, and SmartSource, and RedPlum. Because anytime you look up coupons, it always says the date and the initals of the insert.

Are there other coupon inserts? Every once and while General Mills puts out a coupon insert, like during the back to school season. Kellogs does one every once and a while.

Where do you keep your coupons?

I keep them in my little home office area, near my computer where I print electronic coupons, too.

How much time does it take you to file each week?

One minute because I just file it! Maybe 10 minutes if I clip a few out. In an ideal world, I'll spend 20 minutes clipping "for sure" coupons, then organize them, purge the expired ones, and file the rest.

How do you file electronic coupons?

I don't really. I usually just print them out right before I'm going to use them, maybe on a weekly basis, unless it's a really good coupon that I know is going to max out fast, like a coupon for $1 off for something that is usually only 25 cents off.

Where do you get your online coupons?

I go to before my weekly shopping trip.

Read Full Story