First off, let me say there is no wrong way to organize your coupons; everyone I know does it a bit differently.
When I first started this, I would cut out every coupon from the Sunday paper, magazines, etc and divide them into two categories: food and non-food. Then, I would go through and group them together by expiration date (all the coupons that expired in June would go together, etc.) Then I would paperclip them together and put them in a labeled envelope (food or non-food.) As I started visiting more blogs to help me find more and better deals, I found out that most people leave the coupon section whole and then can find the coupons easier. This is what I do now with the Sunday coupon sections, but I still use the envelopes for other coupons. I only get 1 Sunday paper a week, so all of my coupon sections fit in simple 2 pocket folder. I place all of my printed Internet coupons on one side, and the inserts of the other. Every couple weeks, I go through the sections and remove any expired coupons. It is much easier to find coupons this way.
So far, my coupon kit includes: 2 envelopes with clipped coupons, 1 two-pocket folder with coupon sections and Internet coupons, 1 pair of scissors, 1 small memo pad, 2 ink pens, a box of paperclips and a small plastic accordion file I purchased at Target in the dollar section. The file has dividers which I have organized by store. Before I go shopping (I go every Sunday for major shopping, but sometimes during to the week too for deals) I write my shopping list. I use the little memo pad and make a list for each store, clip it together with any coupons and place it in the divider. If I only need 1 or 2 things from a store, I'll just write it on the previous weeks list, or jot it down on a list for another store. I'm very proud of this, as I used to use 1 master list and would forget to buy something at Target and not realize it until I got to Walmart. Not any more!
Here's what my CVS list looked like for the week of 8/2/09:
CVS - 8/2
1.98 Caliber 10 pencils 1.98ECB ---
1.98 Caliber 20 pens 1.98ECB ---
1.98 Flex ruler 1.98ECB ---
1.98 Note/glue/eraser 1.98ECB ---
3.98 Book cover 3.98ECB ---
3.98 Compass/Protractor 3.98ECB ---
5.98 Scissors 5.98ECB ---
.98 Portfolio .98ECB ---
2.99 Softsoap 4.00ECB $2.00
6.49 Blink Tears 7.99ECB $1.50
The first number is my out of pocket (OOP cost) This is especially important at CVS as they often have coupons for $ off of $$ (like $4 off of $20) I need to make sure I meet the minimum if I'm going to be using one of those coupons. Then I list the item, followed by how many ExtraCare Bucks (ECB) I'm getting back. After that, I list the amount of any coupons I have. The Softsoap cost me $2.99 after the $2.00 off coupon and I got back $4 in ECB.
For more information about shopping at CVS, please visit check out "Cents"able Momma's post: CVS 101 . Also check out her Walgreens 101 post, for information about Walgreens and their Register Reward Program. Most people find the Walgreens program a bit trickier, but she does a great job of explaining it!