How to Setup a Coupon File (Couponing 101)


The following is a guest post by Outside the Box Mom:

Is the Coupon File Method for Me?

The advantages of using a coupon file are that you have most of your coupons at your disposal, can take advantage of unadvertised deals, and you can carry more than one (or purchase a larger one) for more storage. The disadvantages of using a coupon file are the time required to clip and file all coupons, and the time required to remove all expired coupons.

The first way I used to organize my coupons was with a coupon file. For my current season of life, I prefer the whole insert method as the pro’s outweigh the con’s. As I said in the last tutorial, I have only used a coupon file and the insert method. Here is how you would setup a coupon file for the first time.



Supplies Needed to Make a Coupon File

  • Coupon file (13-pocket file at Staples for $3.99; smaller file at Dollar Tree for $1)
  • Pencil pouch
  • Calculator
  • Scissors
  • Pen

I would estimate that all supplies would cost approximately $5.


How to Set Up a Coupon File

  1. The most important step is to include your name and contact information on the inside of your file, in case you leave it somewhere.
  2. Create a label for each of your categories (dairy, toiletries, baking supplies, etc.).
  3. If your coupon file is long enough, place scissors, a calculator and a pen, at front.
  4. Once all of your coupons are clipped, file them in the appropriate category in your file.
  5. Keep your shopping list, store coupons, etc. in the front divider, also.


Coupon Filing Categories:


  • Beverages
  • Snacks
  • Breakfast/Cereal
  • Dairy/Refrigerated
  • Frozen
  • Canned
  • Sauces/Toppings/Condiments
  • Rice/Pasta/Bread (starches)
  • Meat
  • Baking
  • Produce
  • Misc


  • Cleaning
  • Paper/Plastic
  • Personal/Razor/Deodorant
  • Baby
  • Makeup/Medicine
  • Hair
  • Body/Lotions/Soaps


Start small and build as you have time.

Customize in a way that works for you.

Go through your file at the beginning of each month to pull the expired coupons.

Maintenance: Each week you cut all coupons out of the inserts. Then, organize the coupons by category.

Photos Sources: DavidReber, JacindaClark

Submit your questions and challenges in the comments and they will be addressed in future posts.

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