One of the most popular questions I get asked at my classes is…
How do I categorize my coupons?
Honestly, I put them into different categories based on what is easiest for me to find. When I first started couponing, I didn’t want to have 20 different sections for my non-perishable items, so instead of a lot of little sub groups, I attempted to put a bunch of different products into larger groups.
When you scan through my binder now, you can see a category for almost everything: razors and lotion, feminine products, hair color, deodorant, body wash, shampoo, dental, make-up/facial products, OTC meds + many others.
That isn’t how it always was though. I tried to make things seem “less” complicated by doing larger groups: health and beauty, cleaning and household, hair, body.
I found this to be too difficult though. Yes, I knew which category to look into if I were needing a coupon for Cover-girl, but it took a lot longer because all the coupons were just compiled into one category. So instead of flipping through 2 or 3 pages of coupons, I was trying to search 10-15 pages of coupons just to find one make-up coupon.
After that, I realized that I had to separate them even more; let my OCD take over. The smaller groups really work well for me though. It’s a MEGA time saver when I’m at the store and it’s just looks a lot cleaner too. I know that the 20 tabs is a little bit of an overwhelming sight, but 5 tabs just didn’t cut it for me.
I now have a category for almost everything separately, even if that particular group only has 3-4 coupons in it, at least they’re together. I did this for the food items as well. Here’s the list of all my categories.
Razors & Lotions
Hair Care Products
Candy (I know it’s not a non-perishable but it isn’t in our house long enough to perish!)
For my foods my categories look almost identical to my Fareway match up categories each week:
Fruits cups/Boxed Food
I’m not saying that this is how you have to organize your coupons. Some people prefer less groups. Some people see things differently at the store.
Depending on which store you shop at, I’ve seen coupons organized by aisle, I’ve seem them organized similar to mine but with different names for each category, I’ve even seem them organized by insert.
For me, a bunch of sub groups work because I can find things quicker and be in and out of the store quicker. I know for some it’s overwhelming though. Even the thought of a binder is a little mind boggling and that’s okay. You don’t have to use a binder. There are plenty of coupon purses out there these days that you can just take the coupons you need and not feel so pressured.
Couponing is about saving your family money and should not be a process that stresses you out.