I have found lots of different methods to file coupons.  The most popular seem to be the Binder Method and the File Whole Inserts Method, then we have the Accordion Method and Box Method.  I combine the binder method and then file my left over inserts in a file box.  I clip what I know I buy and put file in my binder, and the questionable items stay in the insert, and I file them remaining insert just in case there is a deal on those items.

This method uses a 3 ring binder, and place all the coupons in trading card holders divided them into sections. Your coupons are easily visible when you need to find one because you put each coupon in a trading card holder. You can see 9 coupons per page and you don't need to flip through a stack of them like in other methods.  See below for creating your sections.
What you need:
3 Ring notebook - usually a 2 inch binder is the best size to start with. The basic white ones are cheaper, the binder ones with a zipper are around $15-$20, shop around, you can find these on clearance a lot. Some prefer a zipper, some don't, some put a basic zipperless binder into a cute carry bag. I have dropped my binder a few times while carrying it, coupons can fly out, so I do recommend a zipper binder, or putting it into a tote bag. I took the strap off mine, and carry it with the handle, but when I have kids with me, I wish I had the strap on it. It's hard to hold hands & a binder & purse etc.

Trading card sleeve holders - Holds 9 coupons if you use one side, or back to back coupons it can hold 18 coupons. You can find them at Target, Walmart, Staples etc. Usually with the trading cards.

Tabbed dividers - I have used a few different types. I have found the cheaper ones don't stick out far enough for me to see them, but work well with A-Z filing method. I would stick with the plastic ones that have a pocket on them of you use a category filing method. You can sort q's and quickly stick them in the pocket if you don't have time to file each one.

Page protectors - I use these to put in my store policies, pricebook (a journal to keep track of items you frequently buy to track their sale prices so you can determine when an items is at it's lowest price), larger coupons etc. This is optional to begin, you may have some laying around.

A few things besides coupons you may want to put in your coupon binder:
  • Pricebook
  • Store coupon policies
  • Index of your categories at the beginning, and list items that go in those categories (i.e. BREAKFAST: Cereal, Nutrigrain Bars, Granola Bars, Pancake Mix, Syrup, Oatmeal)
  • Section for rebate forms if you want to do Rebates
  • Contact information, in case you lose your binder.
  • A trading card sleeve to store your store cards in.
  • You can easily see 9 coupons on one page.
  • You can carry this to the store with you.
  • You have to clip and organize coupons weekly.
  • More impulse buying because you carry coupons with you (ONLY clip what you use!!)

Coupon Binder You Tube Videos - There are TONS of great ideas for organizing a binder. 
CouponBinderSystem - You can purchase a whole system
In this method you do not clip any of your coupons.  You collate them (pile each like insert page together, staple, put the insert back together), date them, then file them away in a large file box.  You could print off an index of each insert at the CouponPreview and clip to your inserts.
When an item you would like to buy goes on sale, refer to the coupon in the matchups - Hershey's $1/2 SS 3/7/10  (Hershey's one dollar off 2 in the Smartsource insert on 3/7/10).   You then place the coupons in a small accordion file (maybe separated into the stores you shop), and carry that with you to the store.  What you need below:

File Box

File Folders

Hanging Folder

A few ways to organize this:

Monthly - Since I clip some out, I just put all the leftover insert pages together, paper clip it & date it and organize it by month.  I just use the hanging folders by month.  No file folders.  Here is mine:

Monthly By Insert Type - So you would use the hanging files to divide up the months, then file folders for each week, type of insert (SS, RP etc) with the dates.  I've seen some people divide it into TYPE of insert first (SS, RP etc.), then divide those into the dates.  I see no difference as long as it's organized and you can find those coupons!  Also print up an index for each insert at CouponPreview, to easily find which inserts has the coupon you need.

PROS: No impulse buying.  Less time clipping.

CONS: Figuring out how to store printable coupons?  When making a grocer list, you will have to pull out multiple inserts to clip all the coupons you will need for your shopping trip.  If you find an unadvertised deal, or a clearance items you won't have your coupons with you are the store to score the deal.


This is a more old school method. You can buy a wallet sized accordion file. You then organize it into categories. I find that having to pull out each section to look through a stack of coupons is a little time consuming when you are at the store. But if you only clip a small amount of coupons, this maybe a good option for you.  Or using one after you make you lists and just put each stores shopping list and coupons in it.
This is the same method as the accordion file, just in a small box.
Every ones minds work differently, and you need to be able to find your coupons easily. So pick a method that makes sense to you. I prefer to set my sections up how my favorite grocery store aisles. That way I know pop tarts are in the cereal & breakfast aisle, pop tarts are in my breakfast section.
Alphabetized Sections - Organize products by names A- Z using paper tabbed dividers, i.e. D - Deodorant, T - Toothpaste. And a bit rarer are by product maker, D - Duncan Hines, H - Hidden Valley, but it may work for you.
Product Type Sections - Health, Beauty, Produce, Bread, Breakfast, Beverages & Snacks, Canned & Dried, Meat, Frozen, Refrigerated, Cleaning, Paper and MISC or YADA-YADA.
By Grocery Store Aisles - Produce, Bread, Cereal & Breakfast (I would put pop tarts and granola bars in this section because this is where I find these items in my store), Beverages, Snacks, Canned & Boxed (combining two isles in my store, I would the sub divide into, canned, pasta & boxed, dressings, condiments), Cleaning, Paper, Refrigerated, Meats, Frozen. Maybe a baby and pet section too.
Store sections - Also put a section for each stores you shop, or at least a baseball sleeve page for each store, to place store coupons.
Top 6 Ways to Organize Your Coupons on youtube by DianDailyDealss