In order to be the most effective couponer you can be, you must be organized. You have to do what works best for you. That being said, I will share my own coupon organization tips here.
There are many reasons to stay organized when it comes to couponing. The most important reason is that coupons expire. You don't want to be sitting there looking at a bunch of expired coupons, +Up Rewards and Extra Bucks. There is nothing worse. It is basically like tossing your money in the garbage.
Coupons have varying expiration dates. Most Extra Bucks (CVS), Register Rewards (Walgreens) and +Up Rewards (Rite Aid) expire in a set amount of time from the date you get them. Walgreens only gives you 2 weeks to use their Register Rewards, so you really have to be on top of your dates to not let them expire.
However you organize your coupons, I recommend you put the Register Rewards, ECB's +Ups in the forefront of whatever you have. I use binder clips to put them right inside the front cover of the binder. I see them every time I open it.
Check it out:
The binder itself is organized by category based on my own preference.
I have categories for the following:
-Specific stores (CVS, Rite Aid, Safeway etc...)
-Food types (snacks, candy, canned, frozen, dairy, etc...)
I have 9 pocket baseball card pages and clear full sheet protectors in each category.
Again, use what works best for you. If you have no pets or babies, having those categories makes no sense for you. Maybe you need to be more specific in some categories (Toothpaste, Floss, Brushes instead of the general Oral Care category).
As far as organizing the coupons within the categories, I don't do that. As long as the expiration date is showing, I can easily pull out the expired ones.
Then, if I want to search out a coupon, I use the coupon database here. You will find coupons from inserts, tearpads, pamphlets and printable coupons all in one place. The page is always updated and expired coupons are deleted. By searching the database, I can easily find out which inserts any coupon is in, then find the insert and clip what I need.
Doing it this way saves me a TON of time by avoiding unnecessary clipping and filing. When I see an insert that is completely expired, or has only 1 or 2 coupons left, I then clip the remaining coupons and toss the insert into the recycle bin.
So which coupons go into my binder?
Well, coupons find their way into the binder in many ways. If I clip coupons for a trip and the store is out of the item I had a coupon for, I file it in the binder. Also, I file any peel off coupons here, any coupons I grabbed from blinking Smart Source dispensers in stores. Occasionally, I will buy a product with a coupon or coupon booklet inside. I will clip and file those in the binder as well. Using my "save any and all coupons you get your hands on" rule makes it pretty easy to fill up the binder. Once I set up the binder for optimum organization, I found it very easy to file coupons and find them once I need them. The key is making it for you. If not, you will get discouraged and may find yourself wanting to give up.
Another way to avoid letting reward bucks expire is to mark the dates on your planner. Or set a calender alert in your phone. I do both. I have a weekly planner, and if I have bucks expiring, I will make a note every day that week. I had to learn the hard way to stay on top of the expiration dates, don't let that be you!
You can print great weekly planner sheets and many other organization spreadsheets here.
I strongly believe that making it easy to sort and find your coupons is essential to be a successful couponer. You have to make it easy to do and easy to want to do, or you'll give up!
A great place to get binders, baseball card pages, index tabs and other couponing supplies is Amazon.com.