This is part two in a three part blog series on the most popular methods of organizing your coupons.
Part one can be found here: How to Organize Your Coupons: The Binder Method
The Whole Insert Method:
Saving your both time and money the whole insert method of organizing your coupons is a simple method. The premises of this method is that you file your coupon inserts whole, without cutting them and file them away, only clipping coupons as you need them.
Who should use the whole insert method?
The whole insert method is good for those couponers that get multiple inserts each week from the Sunday newspapers (30 or more) and either doesn’t wish to cut them all out or are short on time. This method is easier than clipping out all of the coupons and filing them away in a coupon binder or box. There are downsides however to using the whole insert method, namely that you don’t have all of your coupons with you when you are shopping thus possibly missing out on unadvertised deals and clearance markdowns. If you like to have all of your coupons with you when you shop then this method is not for you.
Materials Needed For A Whole Insert System:
- A file box or filing cabinet – You will need either a filing box or file cabinet where you can file away your coupons. Some couponers also use a large accordion file folder like those you file tax documents in.
- Tabbed file folders – Tabbed file folders are what you will use to put each set of inserts in to separate them.
Those are the basics; you may want to use a label maker to print out labels for each file folder but that is not necessary you can just write on your tabs with a pen or pencil. You are also going to need a box, file folder or coupon binder to store any cut coupons or non-insert coupons such as tearpads, blinkies or home mailers you may acquire)
Cost to set up:
The cost of the whole insert method system can really vary. Many of us already have a filing system for our important documents so we may already have the supplies on hand. But a basic file box can be had for anywhere between $10 and $20. Tabbed file folders cost under $10 for 25. So a complete system can be set up for right around $20 more or less.
Setting Up Your Whole Insert File System:
Begin by getting all of your coupon inserts and bundling them together by insert date and source. For example all of the SmartSource inserts from a particular week and all of the RedPlum inserts from a particular week. Then simply create a file folder for each set by labeling it with the insert date and issue (04-06-11 SS for example) then place the corresponding set of inserts in the file folder and you are done.
Whole Insert Method Insider Tips:
Here are my top 4 insider tips for using the whole insert method that you may want to try out.
1. To find the date an insert was issued look on the spine of the insert and there in tiny print you will see the insert date. Some folks like to take a marker or pen and write this date on the outside cover of each insert so that they can see it at a glance and not need a magnifying glass each time.
2. Some folks like to separate the pages of each inset into like pages and either staple or use a paper clip to keep the pages together and then file all the pages in one folder. This makes it easier to find the coupons when it comes time to clip them and use them.
3. Many people who use the whole insert method like to keep an excel spreadsheet to help them keep track of what coupons they have and what insert that coupon can be found in. However this can take some time to set up typing in all of the coupons. Instead you can use the Coupon Database here at HotCouponWorld to search for insert coupons (select “Insert” from the source drop down menu in the coupon database) and it will tell you what insert that coupon can be found in. However since the coupon database shows the inserts from all across the US you may see coupons in the coupon database that you do not actually have. Instead if you are a member of either the Trader in Training or Trader groups (Join here if you are not) and you can use the coupon database to create a “Keep List” which is like your own mini personal coupon database.
4. When coupons in your filing system expire you don’t actually throw them away (or donate to military families stationed overseas) as they expire, instead most couponers wait till all of the coupons in a particular insert have expired and then they cull that set of inserts from their filing system. You can easily use the Coupon Database again to find out if there are any un-expired coupons by simply typing in the insert date and issue in the description field of the coupon database. For example typing in 10-03-10 RP (as of today) shows that there are still two coupons in that insert that have not yet expired.
Pros and Cons To Using The Whole Insert Method– You decide!