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Couponing Is a Great Way to Save Money, but You're Doing It Wrong

Up your coupon game with these couponing tips.

Robin Mosley Former CNET writer
Robin Mosley (she/her) formerly wrote commerce deals for CNET about beauty, fashion and other essential gear. Before that, she freelanced for Healthline, Simply Recipes and Nerd Street. She is a Chicago native living on the East Coast who is a fan of all things beauty, food, gaming and tech. When she isn't writing, she's at a restaurant, shopping online or making YouTube gaming videos.
Robin Mosley
3 min read
A shopper holding a stack of discount coupons

There are many different ways to keep your coupons organized. 

Astrid Riecken/Getty Images

No money saving method has stood the test of time like coupons have. With strategic use of coupons you can get all your groceries for virtually nothing.

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If you're someone who's already well-versed in coupon clipping, you've probably come across the problem of staying organized with online and print coupons. And if you have, you probably already know that you'll lose out on offers if you don't organize your coupons effectively. 

With three tips, you can be more efficient with coupon management and score discounts every time you shop.

Online coupon extensions for discounts


You might be aware of Amazon's clip-out coupons for products you know and love, but there are other extensions, including CNET's own shopping extension that can find deals across multiple retailers for the items you're looking for at a moment's notice.

At a minimum, shopping extensions find discounts or the best prices for the items you want to buy right now. But when using an extension, you can also add the item to price alerts so you can keep track of pricing automatically going forward. 

That makes this is both a short-term and long-term game for savings. While you can find the best price or apply coupons to purchase immediately, the key to the best savings on big-ticket items is to track them consistently and capitalize on major price drops when they happen. Your extension does the heavy lifting for you, all you have to do is keep an eye on the alerts and decide when to buy. 

Smartphone app to save and clip coupons

Tech and supplies

You can save and get cash back while clipping coupons.


Almost everyone carries a smartphone these days. Using your phone to save coupons is a great cross between the binder method and a shopping extension. Not only is everything online, but you can keep everything in one place that's within your reach.

There are a few methods to track your coupons. You can obviously use notes to track things, but it's even better if you use an app that tracks and stores your coupons instead. 

For example, you can use apps such as Ibotta. You can sign up with your email and immediately get access to the retailers you know and love. And with the ability to add offers to your shopping list, you'll get cash back on groceries.

There are also coupon apps for popular extensions online that will also give you access to more than grocery, so you can shop for clothing, home essentials and more. Trying RetailMeNot for example, will not only do that, but you will see coupons for:

  • In-store deals
  • Diversity and inclusive brands
  • Seasonal clearance deals
  • Feature deals
  • Best cash-back deals

The binder system


Using a binder is a low-cost way to stay organized.

Office Depot

If you're old school and still love print coupons, using a binder is one of the best ways to manage them. Without organization, all you'll have is a pile of expired or overlooked coupons.

That said, organizing your coupons is not just as simple as getting a binder. There's an additional step needed to make sure everything is in order. When using the binder method, you need to divide your coupons by type, date and if you shop at multiple places, also by retailer. 

Here are a few steps to manage print coupons:

  • Separate each section with clear categories to distinguish what you're looking at
  • Use plastic protective inserts to protect the coupons from any damage 
  • Take time to review your coupons to remove old coupons, but also to add new ones 
  • Take out the coupons you'll use immediately for space and store them where they're easy to grab

With the opportunity to save each time you go shopping, mismanaging your coupons will always risk your chance for savings. But now that you know how to organize your coupons physically and digitally, you can shop confidently.

Check out more of our shopping tips: