Best Ways to Sort and Store Your Coupons Canada

Best Ways to Sort and Store Your Coupons Canada

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So many people have been asking me if I have any ideas on the best ways to sort, organize and store their Canadian coupons. So this blog post will be dedicated to just that.

When I first started collecting coupons I simply kept them in my wallet. That only lasted a couple of weeks and I soon upgraded to a postage envelope. Again that was very short lived. Since I caught the couponing bug and jumped right in with both feet, I soon found I had coupons everywhere in my house. They were sitting on my office desk, they were on the kitchen counter, some were still sitting with the mail and then other lucky ones that actually made it into the “coupon envelope”.

I had to create a system and fast. I was disorganized and because of this, I never had my coupons in one place. I would see something on sale and have no idea where I had left that particular coupon. When I did locate some coupons I was disappointed to find that they had already expired. This forced me to explore a new way of organize and store my precious coupons.

Since my daughter had also caught the coupon craze with me, she discovered we could buy an accordion style holder at our local dollar store. She came home the next evening and presented me with one.

This is a great idea for people who are just starting out and trying to get into the whole couponing thing. I suggest dedicating a plastic bin or nice basket to collect all your coupons. I have one that I picked up at the dollar store that sits on my desk. As the mail comes in or I print out coupons, I just simply throw them into the basket. Once a week, usually Saturday or Sunday morning, depending of which day I have off work, I grab my basket and sit down with a nice hot cup of coffee and go through the coupons. I sit on my living room floor and cut them all out. I then make piles, putting them into categories. My original accordion style folder had little tabs at the top and I created categories to sort them. Food, Beauty, Household, Pets, Medical, etc.. Just take your little sorted piles of coupons and plunk them into your folder. The folder goes in your purse and then you have them no matter where you go. It is simple, easy and takes very little time to organize.

If you are already to the point of using an accordion style folder and it is no longer working for you than it is time to take it to the next level. A  little more than a year ago I found that my accordion style booklet was breaking at the seams and hated the fact that while in the grocery/department store I had to pull out a wad of beauty coupons and stand there in the aisle going through them like a large deck of cards looking for the one particular coupon I knew I had. The coupons were multiplying day by day and I just simply had no more room – there had to be a better way.

One day when I was cleaning up my home office I picked up a photo album that was left out. The light bulb went off. Could I use a photo album? I went online and started looking around for ideas. I discovered that lots of people were using binders to sort and store their coupons. I was so excited.

My daughter jumped right in and started pulling pictures out of the photo album. The photo sleeves where the 4×6 size and were perfect for some of my coupons. She then ran to her bedroom and retrieved some full sized clear plastic sleeves. I took them and decided these would be wonderful for holding full page coupons and mail-in rebates that I had printed out from on line. This system was a little better but not all coupons fit and some slipped and fell out. This was all happening just before Mother’s Day and my wonderful and ever resourceful daughter came up with the perfect gift for me. She again went to the dollar store and purchased for me a large three ring binder. She also found clear plastic baseball card sleeves that fit perfectly into the binder. These card size sheets are perfect for save.ca, brandsaver.ca and websaver.ca sized coupons. I continued to use the 4 x6 photo sleeve inserts and the full page sheets. We also found sheets that were divided in half horizontally. These also were great for larger manufacture and store coupons.

She also presented me with a set of classic school binder subject dividers. I labelled them with food, household, beauty, pets and medical. This time I also added a section for FPC (Free Product Coupons) and kept those right in the front of the binder. At the back I created and extra section for mail in rebates. I was finally starting to feel organized.

With time and lots of practical use we refined and altered the book to suit us. I added a grocery list (just a small pad of paper where I could jot down items I needed or little reminders of sales for that week). I added a calculator to the inside pocket so I could easily make calculations while in the store. This is very useful when trying to figure out unit pricing.

This system was definitely better than my old method but I was still having one big problem. Every once and a while I would sit down to re-load my book with new coupons from the “coupon basket” and I would discover a whole slew of coupons that had expired. It broke my heart every time I did a book cleanout and ended up throwing out tons of valuable coupons. It almost made me want to cry.

It was time to re-assess and find a better way. Again I went online and surfed around for new ideas. I found one lady that organized all her coupons into categories and then re-sorted them by expiry date. The faster expiring coupons to the front. This is great in a perfect world and if you have nothing else in your life to do but sort coupons. I, on the other hand, work a full time job, post and blog on here and well, have a “life”. I finally discovered a technique that would work perfectly for me and take very little time.

All you have to do is buy a cheap set of highlighters and decide what colour will represent each month. Make up a little table on a post-it note and stick it to the inside of your coupon binder. Then the next time you sit down to cut out and sort your coupons just simply highlight the expiry date with the co-ordinating colour for that month. For any coupons that expire in January, highlight it with green, February expiry dates get a splash of yellow colour and so on. With this method you can easy colour code all your coupons and can pick out at a glance which ones expire this month. January is a green month so just look for “green” coupons. It is super easy and just one simple step that you have to add to your weekly sorting. The bonus to using this method is the expiry date is still very visible and some cashiers have even commented that it is easier for them to find the expiry date when checking my coupons. I don’t believe that this process will harm or make the coupons invalid in any way. I have done it for quite some time now with out any problems.

As time goes on the Coupon Binder has become even more advanced. I now have a really nice plaid material binder that has a full zipper. This keeps everything contained and nice and neat. This latest binder is equipped with a pull out accordion file on the inside cover. This is great for quickly picking up coupons while in the store and sorting them as I go. Once I do my weekly sit down I just simply highlight and transfer the coupons to the appropriate pages. The outside front cover has a nice Velcro pocket where I keep all my weekly flyers. This is crucial if you want to take advantage of price matching (you have to present the cashier with the flyer before they will price match).

I also now carry a small pair of scissors. Believe it or not I have actually cut coupons off boxes of items I am buying right at the check out (of course after I scan them.) I know what you are thinking -”crazy coupon lady!”. I also have incorporated a price book. This is simply a ruled notebook cut in half and placed in the front of the three ring binder. This way I can easily check my pricing and see if I am getting a good deal or not.

I also keep a pen in the front of my binder, that way if I see any special offers, contests or rebates listed on products I can write them down until I get home and check them out on the net. You can also update your price book if needed. One of the check out clerks at my local grocery store has asked me to write in the price of particular product that I have FPC for. That way it makes it easier for her to take it off my bill without searching through the scanned items (only do this if asked).

Now when I know I am going shopping I grab my binder and throw it into the car with my shopping green bin and bags. I carry the bin into the store and I am all set. I have my bin, my re-useable bags and my binder. I simply put the binder in the child’s carry seat and can easily flip through the pages. Because the pocket sleeves are clear plastic you can easily see the coupon and flip the page to check the highlighted expiry date.

I will admit that not many people at my local grocery store use coupons and when they see me going up and down the isles with my coupon binder I do get some odd looks. It used to bother me at first, but not any more. Now that I am super organized I am saving even more, so who cares. If fact it has become a vehicle for people to strike up a conversations with me. You hear comment like “omg, now she is serious about her coupons” and “wow, look at the coupons she has”. I have even handed out some coupons to young moms that are buying baby products and I have extra coupons for. It is like being a coupon fairy. Lol

I hope this will help inspire some of you to get more organized and develop some sort of system for storing your Canadian coupons.

Do you want a sneak peep at my coupon book?

Well ok, I will share.

Click the video to take a look inside Cheetah’s Coupon Binder. (P.S. I really don’t speak with a lisp it only sound like I do.)

Enjoy, and Happy Shopping Everyone.

~Cheetah

THIS IS JUST ONE ARTICLE OUT OF A SERIES OF EIGHT.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO READ MORE OF MY COUPONING ARTICLES YOU CAN JUST CLICK HERE

54 COMMENTS

  1. Daine, that is a wonderful idea- thank you for your comments. Your idea is a great way to get started. My binder is getting to big and heavy now. I think I need one with a handle now LOL

  2. That’s great!!! One of my friends uses a business card accordian to do hers. I think sometimes you just need to be creative:)
    Thanks for sharing:)

  3. I don’t have enough coupons for a binder yet and I don’t know if this would be a good idea for me in the future, but for now, I am using an acordion file about 5x 9 inches. I buy plastic baseball card holder sheets at the dollar store and cut them to fit the file. I staple about 5 sheets together and when coupons are too wide to fit in slot, I pull apart the plastic between 2 slots (it sometimes rips a little but the coupons fit). I label dividers alphabetically. I may change that to titles in the future. I put all coupons for same article in same slot, placing date to expire the soonest in the front. I throw out expired coupons once in a while.
    I leave my coupon folder in my cloth shopping bags in the car. Thanks for the info on couponing. coupons = money.

  4. Debbie thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment. It was a little awkward making the switch to a coupon binder and felt really odd to begin with but now it is just normal for me. The ladies at Walmart don’t even bother putting a sticker on it any more. LOL I like your idea of putting one of each coupon in your accordian file to take with you and the binder for bulk storage. Whatever works for you. I usually pre-pull the coupons I plan to use and paperclip them to my shopping list at the front of my binder for easy access while in the store. Sometimes I find some unadvertised deals and will use multiple coupons at the same time. Example if T.P. is on sale I have been know to buy 6+ packages at a time. LOL
    Happy Couponing cheetah

  5. I love the idea of the coupon binder!! I find my little accordian folder to have the same problems you describe and although I would love to switch to a binder, that won’t fit in my purse. I never know when I am going to be in a store and carrying a binder around EVERYWHERE probably won’t happen. My husband would be mortified, lol!

    Thank you for the video (which I watched in firefox, btw with no problem). Now I have a better idea of what it looks like. I am thinking that since I have multiples of most coupons, I might put the FPCs and one of each in the accordian for “just in case” and make a binder for planned shops. hmmmmm

    Thanks again!!!

    Debbie

  6. Hi,

    I have a question, mostly at the canadian store especially british columbia, they didn’t accept 2 different kind of coupons for 1 item.
    So how you guys do the extreme couponing?

    I really need help to cut off my groceries >.<;

    Thanks.

  7. cheetah,

    Thanks for the quick reply. I don’t use IE so that’s why I couldn’t see the video. When you said click on the picture of the binder I looked and looked and felt like an idiot because there simply is no picture of a binder (using firefox that is…) When I loaded up Internet Explorer, the video magically appeared! For those using Firefox, you won’t see the video at all due to the coding on this site being flawed.

    Unless it gets fixed, you’ll have to view this page with IE to see the video.

    PS: Great video, I’m on my way to the dollar store now to pick up supplies.

  8. MrTech: Well, it’s almost May 2011 and the video is nowhere to be found!?! In January, a note was put up promising the video would be back and nothing since then.Can we at least have the name of the video so we can go to YouTube and look it up ourselves?Thanks for the great adv ice but I want to see that video!!!

    The video is right above this post. Just scroll up and click on the picture of the binder. If you cannot see it or access it please let me know and I will retrieve the link and post it here for you-thanks cheetah

  9. Well, it’s almost May 2011 and the video is nowhere to be found!?! In January, a note was put up promising the video would be back and nothing since then.

    Can we at least have the name of the video so we can go to YouTube and look it up ourselves?

    Thanks for the great adv ice but I want to see that video!!!

  10. Hannah:

    I am absolutely loving that sexy and very stylish coupon binder WTG girl! Any idea where I could purchase one in the future? I hope to be like you in the next year or so but I’m just starting out. So if at any point u sell these let me know

    I actually just started with a regular three ring school binder and then advanced to this one. I bought it at my local grocery store right after the school year started and they had them on clearance. I was actually toying with the idea of creating them and selling them. Do you think there is a market out there for such an item? :o)

  11. I am absolutely loving that sexy and very stylish coupon binder WTG girl! Any idea where I could purchase one in the future? I hope to be like you in the next year or so but I’m just starting out. So if at any point u sell these let me know

  12. Just a suggestion…since I’ve upgraded into the Binder..I found another use for my dollar store organizer I had bought. I now use that for my receipts. It’s a really good idea to keep them..when things go on sale just after you’ve bought them you can bring in your receipt and get the difference. Just happened with a garbage can I bought for my bathroom…got back $5

    Pink Girl:)

  13. Hi! First off, I am from the States where couponing is easy and you can pay so little for so much. Now that I live here in BC, it took forever for me to find coupons! Thanks so much for your posts.

    Secondly, I just had an added suggestion for the binder (something I personally do). I have used the full plastic pockets to put an actual grocery list for each store I go to, putting the coupons that I will definitely be using there (from store flyer comparisions). It sucks when you use a coupon somewhere else than the place that has the better deal. I guess I hate looking through my binder, the flyer from that store, the flyers from the other stores, and shopping all at the same time….ugh. It’s quite handy though.

    Thanks again!

  14. This is exactly what I need for my coupons…lol
    My daughter laughs at me becauxe i have soooo many and they are everywhere.
    Thanks for this great tip!

  15. “Like Coupon Fairy” luv it….
    People thanks me so many times when I did it specially when I have so many of them, few give away won’t hurt at all but a “Blessing” that you can help somebody with little thing….
    Thanks Cheetah such an awesome idea you show us here…..cheers….

  16. Awesome website…thanks for the tips!!! I am new to couponing and I’ve learned quite a bit here. I must ask….where did you get that binder??

  17. Tammy thank you for your comment. Canadian Free Stuff is the blog I write for. I have been here for over 3 years now and LOVE IT. I and other members try to post all the coupons we find in the coupon forum section. So that is a great resource to find out were to find Canadian Coupons and by the way I am also a Hamiltonian! Watch the blog coupon section for great ways to save money using coupons (I post here on a regular basis where is the best deals this week. They will start again just as soon as the paperboy drops off my flyers. :O)

  18. Wow I watched the extreme coupons and it inspired me, so I started looking for websites today to get Canadian coupons, and was brainstorming a way to orgainize them!! This is great, lots of great idea, thanks everyone!!

    So how do I get to your blog, and what are the best websites to get coupons, I joined some today, and will go and get my binder tomorrow!!

    Thanks for all the ideas!! Where is everyone from. I am in Hamilton, ON!

  19. Avrel- check out my blog post of my favourite sites and why not join Canadian Free Stuff as a forum member it is free and so easy. If you are a member than just click on forum and than on coupons after you log in to the site- there you will find tons of great coupons our other members have posted to share with others. If you need any more help just please ask :O)
    Cheers-Cheetah

  20. Deborah, yes time to get organized it takes the stress out of couponing for sure. If you need any help along the way just ask I am always around to help out a fellow couponer. LOL
    Cheers-Cheetah

  21. where do you collect your coupons from. i am just starting up and I have no where to begin… help :-) please

  22. Thanks for writing this blog :)

    Time to get busy organizing them. I have already misplaced so many and others have expired before I found them!

    Cheers!

    KinkyBunny

  23. chickyboo- lol My voice sounded so darn funny on this video and I have no idea why- I really hope I don’t sound like that in real life. I am glad you enjoyed it. BTW I had fun today using all those FPC’s today-Free Cereal, Free Sizzling Salad set and Free Chocolate Mousse. I love the days I get to go FREE SHOPPING. thanks again and stick around for more deals when using coupons coming up this week.

  24. Horray for the awesome video if the non lisping cheetah showing her easy, organized, and stylin coupon book!!! And can cheetahs have a lisp :s

  25. Jobou28 Thanks for the post. Great Deal if you are a member of Canadian Free Stuff you could actually post this great deal in the coupon section or the deal section for all to view. :O)

  26. millie- I sit down with my store flyers and circle any items I need., I compare different stores to find the best price and then go through my coupon book and see what coupons I have to make the deal even better. If you don’t want to travel to multiple stores than ask if your favourite store will price match other stores advertised flyer items? If so than pack up your flyers and coupons and go shop, shop, shop. Watch that your items ring in at the right amoung and if not see if they have a SCOP policy if so you get it free or $ 10.00 off. hope this helps

  27. Geeja- In the USA they sometimes have double coupon days where you coupons are accepted at double the face value. Also in the USA they can stack coupons which means using more than one coupon at the same time for one item as long as they have a different bar code., The Only place in Canada I know that you can “stack”coupons is at London Drugs. I don’t have one where I live so very jelious of those who do. Hope this answers your question.

  28. I’ve forgot! I have a To do Application on my iPhone. Everytime I have a new coupon, I create an alert with a due date (expiration date) I can sort them by date, by name… It’s really easy to find! When I do my grocery list, if I need something, I just have to wrote Orange juice (example) then I see all the coupon I have!

    Really sorry for my english!

  29. Thank you so much!

    I dont know where to post that cause i’m new on the site. I’ve bought the Pogo special at IGA ( 2 box for 8$ or 2 for 1) and each box contains 10$ of savings! So i’ve got my 2 boxes plus 20$ of savings! I was so happy!

  30. Hi Cheetah!

    I wish we were close friends! I thought I knew a lot but you sure are amazing!

    I just had a question… In a reply post you wrote that you can double up on coupons as long as they have different barcodes. Were you refering to the States or Canada?

    Keep up the awesome work! You inspire us all to become great coupon-ers! :D

    Thanks Geeja!

  31. i am new to coupons and i want to start using them since it will help with my 4 kids. 3 teenagers i need all the help i can i get on a single mom paycheck. i do shop alot at safeway and superstore since these are the closet stores to me. so how do i start saving when i get the store flyers in my newpapers

  32. Thank you everyone for your comments so far. With Extreme couponing in the states they can indeed use multiple coupons for the same item. Stacking is allowed as long as the barcode is different. With the TLC show people also pay coupon clipping companies to send them coupons. These companies compile, cut and mail you coupons for a fee. The one thing they don’t take into account on the show is how much these people had to pay for the extra coupons -sometime it can be $100.00 or more. (from what I have heard) Some stores in the states also have double coupon days. Where they double the discount of your coupon. One coupon for .50cents off magically becomes a $1.00 off. They also have register points that transfer into grocery dollars and credits for using re-useable bags.

    Just so you know my daughter purchased the card style plastic sheets and the full size sheets from the dollar store and the 1/2 divided sheets at staples.

  33. Thanks Melissa..I’ve been on http://thekrazycouponlady.com/beginners/ for a while now and am figuring this all out. You did answer my question and I’m so mad that we can’t stack or double here in Canada. I think I might have a London drugs here..I’m going to check it out! Thanks:)

  34. Pink girl, it takes a ton of pre-planning to get mass deals like that. You have to look at the store deals for certain items, then you have to find coupons to save money on those exact items. Then all the B1G1 deals at the store, then all your B1G1 coupons you have for items. It can turn your brain into knots, but after a while you get the hang of it.

    In the US you can stack coupons (so jealous of them) which means you can take 3 of the same coupons for one product, they all have different barcodes on them, and you save however much the coupons add up to be. So lets say you have 3 different coupons for Tropicana orange juice, all with different barcodes on them. One is save $.50, one is save $.75, and one is save $.50. In total, that’s $1.75 in savings. If Tropicana orange juice is on sale for $1.99 and you add the coupons for extra savings, you’re only paying $.24 for Tropicana orange juice. That’s a darn good deal, yes? All in all, that’s how the Extreme Couponers do it. Just in mass quantities.

    The reason why Canada doesn’t stack is because the coupons we receive are American. The only place I know of where I live that stacks coupons is London Drugs. (Which you can get some darn good deals if you plan properly).

    Hope I answered your question.

  35. Lisa..I saw that Extreme Couponing last night on TLC aswell and DON’T understand how those people did that! Can you use more than 1 coupon on 1 item in the states or something??? How are they getting stuff for free? I want to know how they took a $1000.00 bill to $50.00 with coupons..that seems impossible. I checked if that show is on again next Sat. but don’t see it…anyone know when its on again?

  36. that sound’s like a great thing to do to keep the coupons safe from harm. A binder a good thing. I am going to make five or six binder’s and give them to my love one’s for a gifts.

  37. this is AWESOME! quick question – where do you find the inserts that hold the coupons….you say you use baseball card ones?

  38. Thank you Loved the Idea of hight light pens!!!!!!! Did you see that show extreme couponing. My 1st time last night on TLC. It was GOOOOD. Yippie todays Sunday… Clip clip clip:)))

  39. GREAT suggestions! I will defnitely buy myself an ‘album’ to store my coupons. I’m at the ‘envelope’ stage and find I’m always having to toss out expired coupons. Yesterday I signed up for the all the coupon sites you suggested (was already onto save.ca and few others). Has anyone seen that U.S. show ‘Extreme Couponing’? Unbelieveable how they can save SOOOOO much in their grocery stores by couponing. Much more than we can here. One note for Quebec residents – we are not allowed (by law) to redeem coupons for medications (Advil, Aerius, etc). We have to send the coupon with our receipt to the company to be reimbursed! ugh.
    Anyway, thanks for all the great tips. Can’t wait to get shopping!

  40. Hi Cheetah,

    Love your post. The binder is great. I was talking to my husband recently about getting myself an accordian folder from the dollar store since I figured I was about ready for that step. Now that I’ve seen your video, I’m going to bypass the folder and get myself super organized like you.

    Thanks for the super post and video.

  41. Thanks for the peek! Cant wait to go upgrade from my dollar store accordion style wallet to a decked out binder!

  42. Thank you so much Cheetah for the video. I too am using just a plastic accordion style “thingy” and you are right it is a bit difficult to stand in the aisle and look for a certain coupon. I can’t wait to try this method. I can’t wait for the next segment in Couponing 101.
    Collette

  43. Thanks CW for your correction of my error. I must of been very tired when I was doing this one. :(

  44. Thanks so much. I went out this afternoon to get supplies to get my binder started. I also purchased Bic Mark it markers so that I had a different color for each of the 12 months.

  45. Hey everyone :) I have fixed it ( well sort of) Until Cheetah can come on and fix it properly. This should work :) Sorry

  46. Sorry guys, were having some technical difficulties with the video. Cheetah has set the video as private, and seeing as how I don’t have her youtube password, I can’t go and change it. and she is away for the day.
    I will have change the settings when she gets home tonight, so please check back either late tonight or tomorrow to view the video.

    Sorry for the inconvenience.

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