Category Labeling Tips for Organizing Coupons and Refunds

Labeling Helps Keep the Coupon and Refund Clutter Under Control

CLIPPING COUPONS
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Organizing coupons can be a simple project or it can be very detailed, depending on individual goals. One step in the organizational process that most couponers do not skip is creating a labeling system so when they get into the store, they can quickly access the coupons they want to use.

The labeling system can be simple, with only major categories separating the coupons, or complicated, with subcategories and additional sections.

The best method is up to each individual, but reviewing a general overview can help you decide which works best for you.

Two-System Method: Pros and Cons

Many couponers use two systems to keep coupons organized. One is the major coupon organizer that they keep at home and another smaller, more manageable organizer that they take to the store with them. Generally, the organizer that is kept at home is fairly detailed with a lot of subcategories, while the one that goes to the store is a simpler system with mostly major categories and some primary subcategories.

Some couponers find the two-system coupon organizing method to be a waste of time and double the work, while others find that using a less cumbersome system at the stores helps them actually save more money because the coupons are more accessible. Either way, it is a matter of individual preference. Also, what works today may not be as efficient tomorrow.

When creating a major organizer, consider using the following list to select your categories and subcategories:

Primary Category List

  • Baby

  • Baking

  • Beverages

  • Breads

  • Breakfast

  • Canned and Jarred Food

  • Cleaning Supplies

  • Condiments

  • Dairy

  • Dried Goods

  • Fresh Food

  • Frozen Food

  • Household Products

  • Laundry Supplies

  • Medicine

  • Paper Products

  • Personal Care Products

  • Pets

  • Snacks

  • Miscellaneous

Subcategory List

(In alphabetical order by category and then subcategory.)

Baby

  •   Baby food
  •   Bathing
  •   Diapers
  •   Formula
  •   Medicine Cabinet
  •   Wipes
  •   Miscellaneous

Baking

  • Bread Mixes
  • Cookie, Cake Mixes
  • Canned, Dry Milk
  • Chocolate Squares
  • Flour, Sugar
  • Frosting
  • Muffin Mixes
  • Oil, Cooking Spray
  • Spices
  • Yeast, Baking Powder, Baking Soda
  • Miscellaneous

Beverages

  • Coffee, Tea
  • Juice
  • Sodas
  • Water
  • Miscellaneous

Breads

  • Bagels
  • Donuts
  • English muffins
  • Hamburger and Hot Dog Buns
  • Sandwich Bread
  • Tortillas
  • Miscellaneous

Breakfast

  • Breakfast Bars
  • Cereal
  • Oatmeal, Grits
  • Pancake Mix, Syrup
  • Miscellaneous

Canned and Jarred Food

  • Fruits
  • Jelly
  • Meats
  • Peanut Butter
  • Sauces
  • Soup, Broth
  • Tomatoes
  • Tuna, Crab, Shrimp
  • Vegetables
  • Miscellaneous

Cleaning Supplies

  • Air Fresheners
  • Dishwasher Detergent
  • Dishwashing Liquid
  • Floor Care, Mops
  • General Cleaners
  • Glass Cleaner
  • Sponges
  • Miscellaneous

Condiments

  • Barbecue Sauce
  • Ketchup, Mustard, Mayonnaise
  • Pickles, Olives
  • Salad Dressing
  • Steak Sauce, Marinades
  • Vinegar
  • Miscellaneous

Dairy, Refrigerated

  • Breads, Cookies
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Milk, Cream, Creamer
  • Sour Cream
  • Yogurt
  • Miscellaneous

Dried Foods

  • Beans
  • Instant Dried Foods
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Taco Shells
  • Miscellaneous

Foods, Refrigerated

  • Lunchables
  • Hot Dogs
  • Packaged Meat

Fresh Foods

  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Meats
  • Seafood

Frozen Food

  • Bread
  • Breakfast
  • Desserts
  • Dinners
  • Fruits
  • Ice Cream
  • Juice
  • Meats
  • Pizza
  • Vegetables
  • Miscellaneous

Household Products

  • Batteries
  • Filters
  • Food Bags, Wraps
  • Light Bulbs
  • Office & School Supplies
  • Trash Bags
  • Miscellaneous

Laundry Supplies

  • Bleach
  • Fabric Softener
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Stain Removers
  • Miscellaneous

Medicine Cabinet

  • First Aid, Band-Aids
  • OTC Medicines
  • Vitamins, Supplements
  • Miscellaneous

Paper Products

  • Napkins
  • Paper Towels
  • Plates, Utensils
  • Tissues
  • Toilet paper
  • Miscellaneous

Personal Care Products

  • Body Wash, Soaps, Soaks
  • Cosmetics
  • Dental
  • Deodorant
  • Facial Care
  • Hair Care
  • Pads, Tampons
  • Razors, Refills
  • Shaving Creams
  • Miscellaneous

Pets

  • Food
  • Litter
  • Treats
  • Miscellaneous

Snacks

  • Candy
  • Cookies
  • Chips
  • Nuts, Popcorn

Miscellaneous

  • Canning Supplies
  • Greeting Cards
  • Rebates

Final Note: Determining What Works Best

A good way to determine whether your current system is working is by reviewing how many expired coupons you discard on a regular basis.

If you have a lot, it is a good indication that it may be time to revise your system. Unless you are into trading coupons, then clipping and organizing tons of coupons each week, on the chance that you might use them, could result in a lot of unproductive time and might lead to couponing burnout.

A good look at the coupons that you are actually using can help you come up with a labeling process that works best for you.

For example, if you are redeeming more coupons from the personal care category than any other section, then breaking that category into more top-level subcategories (personal care-dental, personal care-hair care) could prove to be useful. On the other hand, if few baking coupons are being redeemed, then dropping some of the subcategories under baking would make sense.

Again, feel free to tweak away! It all comes down to personal preference.