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Filing Tips

How do you handle/file Register Rewards, Ups, Catalinas, freebies, and high-value short dated coupons so you are sure to use them before they expire?

"I ALWAYS keep on hand in my pocketbook. When I go out, I can't forget about them." Lisa, FL

"I have a separate wallet for each store. I keep my Register Rewards, Extra Bucks and UPs as well as the Catalinas in the front of each wallet. I put my coupons for what’s on sale in the appropriate wallet for that week. I have a separate wallet that I keep my high value and short dated coupons, and of course my coupon box that I bought from Refund Cents in my car at all times. On Sunday morning I file the coupons not used back in my coupon box as well as cut the new ones and file them." Love to Shop, CA

"I have a separate slot in my coupon holder for them. I put them in order of expiring first. Then I check them before shopping. If one expires really quickly, I put them in the front section before the dividers. I see them there before anything else!" Elle Clark, MI

"I keep them in my coupon file that I have with me at all times. When making out the grocery list, these are checked first thing, and then I look for coupons to go with the list." Betty Washburn, KY

"I have a binder clip for each store (Rite Aid, CVS, Target, Meijer). I place any CATS and other coupons that I receive or plan to use in the clip. I also place my printouts of match-ups and the coupons to go with on the clip. This is stored in my coupon file which goes with me anytime I go shopping!" Peggy M., MI

"I put them in the front of my coupon wallet. Always look through them when making shopping list." A Friend, VA

"I keep an envelope in my purse." George, IA

"I put all the Rewards, Catalinas, freebies and such at the front of my file box where I can easily see them. I try to flip through them every few days so I will remember what is there." Libby, NC

"I have a miscellaneous file for Catalina-type coupons. I check it each week to see if there are any coupons that I want to use. In the case of free items, high value coupons, and Register Rewards, I put those right into my coupon pouch that I bring to the store each week. This way I will be more likely to use them before they expire." Marilyn, AZ

"I plan a trip every week, so I don’t usually have to worry about this unless it is a large denomination. If I have one that is expiring, I will buy something that I have to use anyway, whether it is on sale or not." SASE Kate, TX

"I keep them in a pocket of my purse. That way they are always with me and accessible. I try and keep them close date on top and check them once a week." Melissa S., OH

"When I do a Register Reward, I try to have a second item ready to check out before I leave the store. That way I don't forget about it. Grocery store is different. I keep them with current coupons. That way when I go through the coupons for the next week’s shopping, it’s right there to use." Janet C., WI

"I keep them filed under the specific store or ‘freebies.’ (I also put high value under freebies.) Before I go into the store, I search the coupons to make sure I don't miss anything. If I don't have any planned trips for a couple of days, I just go through them and check dates. I will make a special trip so I don't miss out. Actually just did that this week so I would not lose my RR's from Walgreens." Christina Elmore, CO

"I shop at Walgreens during the week. I put all my RRs in a special envelope. I then use them at our local grocery store on the weekend. I am able to get great deals at Walgreens and at my County Market." Amy, IL

"I always carry a see-through zipped 4x6 heavy duty plastic pocket in my purse. The only things in there are gift cards, ECBs clipped to my CVS card and register receipts. I keep the closest to expiration at the top of the paper clip in each of the above mentioned categories and those with later expiration dates behind them in order. That way, I see which ones expire the soonest, and I make sure to use them. Know the credit card saying, ‘Don't leave home without it?’ I never do!

"I try to use free item coupons as soon as I receive them. I had a similar system for keeping them in order, but over the years, I have found it easier just to use them on my next shopping trip. Then I never have slippage in that category. Oh, what tears would fall if I let any of those precious freebies (or RRs or ECBs) expire!

"I have a 'special' smaller coupon wallet that is RED. I keep my free coupons, high value, good tear pad coupons, CATs, UPs, Register Rewards, etc. in it. It’s small, so I can always keep it in my purse. If I'm busy or 'coupon burnt,' I know I can flip through it quickly to assess my most important goodies to see if they expire soon or can be matched up with a sale. I think a lot of us longtime/chronic coupon users have a bit of a mental inventory---knowing ‘we have it somewhere.’ I know if it was 'special' to me, it’s in the red wallet!" Laurie Drungowski, DE

"I put them in the very front of the first compartment of my coupon file so that I see them every time I go into that first section. I do not want them to expire!" Joan, IL

"I put them in the first page of my binder in a 3-pocket sleeve so that I see them every time I shop and use my binder. Since I have the binder every time I shop, I don't forget about them." Linda M. McDonnell, OH

"I have a separate compartment in my wallet for these. I keep them in order of what's expiring first and at least once a week I look a the dates to make sure to schedule a trip to any store before their RRs/UPs/ECBs expire." Sandra S., CA

"When these make it out of the store is when they get ‘lost,’ so it's a habit to use them up before leaving. Even the ‘gift card with purchase’ gets used before going out the door!" Karen, OR

"I call these ‘store money.’ I have an envelope in my coupon box just for these (unless, of course, I use them right away). Every week when I make my list of stores and my shopping list for each, I check this envelope and the expiration dates. If there is nothing on sale that I want and they aren't expiring that week, I put them back for next week. If they are expiring, I figure out something I need that I don't normally have coupons or get a good deal on and I use them for those items. We have things we buy every week like bread and milk that I can use them on or I get a treat for Jim and I that I would not normally buy (like Godiva candy bars--yummy)." Vicki R., AL

"As soon as I get into my car after making a purchase, I put my UP Rewards and my Register Rewards into my wallet. I keep scissors in the console of my car. I have a designated space in my wallet for the rewards. I came up with this plan after letting over $20 in UP Rewards expire because I was unable to find them. I finally did find them two days after they expired." Cynthia P., MI

"I try using them before expiration even when visiting family or friend." Joan Smay, CA

"I circle the expiration dates and put those that expire sooner in front. I keep them in my coupon wallet and check before going shopping." Carol Blanke, NJ

"I have a plastic coupon holder with dividers for the grocery store and one for drug store items. I keep all Register Rewards, UPs and gift cards in the very front so I can see them through the front of the plastic. Behind that in an envelope I keep the coupons I am using on the next trip out, so I have to go past them to get the coupons so I don't miss using them. I always give myself 10 days to use a coupon no matter if it's two weeks or a month till expiration. That cuts down on the chance of it expiring." Carla Buckley, OH

"I put them in my wallet with my cash. I figure I have a better chance of seeing them before they expire." Heather, NV

"If I have ‘free’ grocery coupons, they go into the ‘Now’ section of my coupon wallet for either the next trip or to ensure that I don't forget about them. The ‘Now’ section is where I put anything I plan on using on the next shopping trip. All other ‘good’ coupons go into an envelope in my purse that I always have with me for those unexpected Target trips. CVS coupons and Extra Bucks have their own pouch and I file them with the ECBs on top arranged by expiration date. Since I know I'll visit CVS weekly, I put all of my coupons and deals together in this one pouch. I don't do RR deals (too short dated and stores that aren't on the beaten path). Since I stopped, I've eliminated a lot of slippage.

"It doesn't sound incredibly organized but having used coupons for several years, I pretty much know which coupons I will use in which stores. Furthermore, I really only shop in 3 stores, so it keeps it simple. The key to any system is finding what works for you." Lisa P., CT

"I have honestly stopped shopping at Walgreens and Rite Aid because of the short-dated Catalina and UP Reward offers. I have been shopping more at CVS since they now accept expired Extra Bucks. If I have high value 'free coupons,' I try to use them as soon as possible. I could hold out, but more than likely I will forget about them, so it's better to use them up! It is very sad to come across an expired 'free' coupon gone to waste!" Dawn Green, IN

"I use the binder method and have tabs for different categories. The front tab is my FREE tab where I put RRs, OYNOs, and free coupons. I also put the coupons that I'll be using at Kroger that will double to make items free. I have all my best coupons together at the very front that way." Rachel, AR

"I use a magnet chip clip for my premium savings! I hang it above the calendar. This way I never forget." Emily M., FL

"I use my Walgreens Register Rewards at Kroger. I usually stop at Walgreens first, then go right away to Kroger and use them up so I do not forget them. If I know I will be shopping for meat, I save them all up during the week and then go to Kroger at the end of the week and use them all at once. It is really great to see that total come down and come home and stock the freezer with meat. I love it when there is a week with lots of great RRs and a great sale on meat!" Traci, CO

"I have a special coupon pouch just for stores. I made it myself so can add as many tabs as I like and label them for the stores where I shop. I file all current coupons behind store ‘tabs.’ For example: Register rewards are filed under the Walgreens tab along with rain checks, any gift cards (purchased for ease of paying) and current coupons. I do this with all stores. There's a tab for freebies and BOGOs. I have one for restaurant coupons as well. It's smaller and easier to use and alleviates the need to carry the big one when I'm in a hurry. All other coupons are filed with my main box of coupons (alphabetized) and the two items fit snugly into one small reusable bag." J. L., VA