Several readers have recently emailed with this question or a similar one:
I do not clip all my inserts, but rather clip the coupons I know I will use and then date/file the rest to pull up as needed when a deal comes around. How long do you recommend keeping inserts around if you don’t clip every coupon?
If you’ve been around for awhile, you know that I’m a fan of the “hybrid” method of organizing coupons: clip all the coupons you know you will use, as well as the ones you think you might use or that often make for a “can’t resist” deal; then file the rest of the insert just in case.
Here’s a video tour of my coupon box!
I don’t really like the “file by insert” method because I’ve found that I never get around to clipping the coupons. Sure, it saves time on the front it, but I don’t think it ultimately saves time because when you need the coupon, you have to go to your file, find the right insert, find the coupon, clip it, and then file the insert back.
Plus, most people don’t take a file box full of coupons, plus a pair of scissors, into the store with them just in case they happen upon a sale. :)
I was clipping just about every single coupon until a reader suggested clipping most of the coupons, and filing the rest by insert. So simple, yet for me, so effective.
Anyway, so – if you’re doing the above “hybrid” method, and have already clipped the coupons you know you will use or think might make for a great deal, I would throw away or recycle the leftover “just in case” inserts about every 3 months, as most coupons expire after three months.
Couponing FAQ: How To Find The Insert Date
However, if you are not clipping at all, and only filing by insert, I would recommend keeping those inserts for a year. There are a handful of coupons that have a very long valid period: in January 2010, we had some dental care coupons that were valid through January 2011! So, if you hadn’t clipped them, you would need to keep that insert for one year just in case you needed the coupon.
The other thing you can do is to write the expiration date of the coupon with the latest expiration on the front cover of the coupon insert. Then, you know when all the coupons have expired and can throw them out. Obviously, though, that takes some time to go through and look at the expiration dates.
Which method do you use, and when do you throw away your inserts?