How To Purge Expired Coupons

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How to purge expired coupons from your coupon file without spending an entire afternoon sifting and sorting through them is a question I’m frequently asked. Every quarter I go through and clean out my coupon file, setting aside all the coupon inserts from previous weeks’ papers that only contain coupons that are past their expiration date.

I worked on that today and recorded a video showing you how I do it. If you prefer to read the instructions, refer to this article about an easy way to purge out-of-date coupons. Thanks to my dear friend Kristine, and recently appointed Pocket Your Dollars’ videographer, for her behind-the-camera magic (that’s a joke because she had never shot a video before this one today). If you can’t see the video player on your screen or in your email, then click this link to watch it from Pocket Your Dollars’ You Tube channel.

I plan to do videos more routinely, so you might want to subscribe to the Pocket Your Dollars’ You Tube channel so you’re notified when something new has been published. I am also working to get many of the television segments that I’ve done in the past year, those that talk about timeless money-saving principles, uploaded to You Tube. They are a wealth of information and I’m looking forward to compiling them in one place.

Like I promised in the video, I’ll do a video segment on things you can do with your expired coupons, but in the meantime read about some options. (Update: There is no follow-up video yet and I routinely feel guilty about it.)

Your turn: What system do you use to purge your expired coupons? (If you make a video to demonstrate it I *think* you can upload it to the Pocket Your Dollars’ You Tube channel. If you have a problem with it, then email me and we’ll figure out how to get it there. You can always upload it to the Pocket Your Dollars’ Facebook fan page)


  1. Susie says

    I went to the coupon mom site, clicked on grocery coupon database,and then entered MN. It didn't show me what inserts have current coupons, it just gives me two options…1) search coupon database or 2) display selected coupons. What step am I missing? Thanks!

  2. Kristine says

    Susie, right under the Display Selected Coupons button you should see a column header that says "Published." You should also see a little up and down arrow. If you click on the up arrow, it will sort the published column in ascending order. Once the page reloads, then you can scroll down the list to see which dates and inserts still have coupons. When I did this, I see that the 6/7/09 Red Plum insert is the first one in the list that has an active coupon. Hope that helps!

  3. Christina says

    I wish coupon mom would let you set a date range for the length of time you could see expired coupons. Unfortunately, this system won't work for me because I keep my expired coupons up to five months so I can use them at Cub.

  4. Patty says

    Thanks for posting this, I was just thinking recently that I needed to figure out a way to purge my coupons.

  5. says

    I don't use the insert method, so this wouldn't work for me. If you keep a stack of coupons (I use the "lazy organization" method!) or a coupon binder, it's easy to just pull out the ones that are expired as you go through them each month. If you miss a few, you can catch them the next time around. Here's a post about my method:

    I send my expireds to a military base in Germany every couple of months where they can use them in the commissary for up to 6 months after expiration.

  6. Sarah Beth says

    Correct. They have a free database for current coupons but to see expired coupons as well you have to register (free) and you can see up to 180 days.

  7. Heather T. says

    I do cut all mine out usually while sitting with the kids watching a movie. I go thru mine and get out the expired coupons on holiday weekends, since there is usually no coupons on those weekends. works great for me. I have three expandable binders for coupons (3 colors) so I keep areas of stores seperate.

  8. Nikki says

    I love the videos…It is great to see and hear you teaching us. Your daughter is too cute singing the PYD song!

  9. Jennifer says

    I tend to sort through my coupon binder once a month, usually towards the beginning of the month. I pull everything that will expire at the end of the current month or very early the following and put them into a separate envelope I keep in the front of the binder. Since I'm sorting from a small organizer, all of the soon to expire coupons fall into the same categories and order as I have become accustomed to in the binder. The envelope is usually quite fat at the beginning of each month and sparse by the end as store seem to line up sales with the upcoming expiration dates.

  10. says

    LOL – thanks. She has a song in her Early Childhood Family Education class that goes "good-bye everybody, yes indeed, yes indeed, good-by everybody yes indeed, see you next week my friends." She used that tune and replaced some of the words with "Pocket Your Dollars yes indeed…"

  11. Susie says

    How do you see the expired coupons on the coupon mom website? I sign in, but I've only been able to view current coupons. Thanks!

  12. Susie says

    I understand the purging of the expired coupons through using the current coupons. My question is how do you find expired coupons for items you might need to purchase at Cub? For example, we go through a lot of yogurt and pull-ups…I easily exhaust the current coupons and would like to find some expired ones too. Thanks! :)

  13. Rhonda says

    I keep my inserts for about 9 months, if I don't use a coupon out of them by then, I either recycle them in the recycle bin or leave them at the coupon area at Cub for someone else to sort thru. Since I rarely shop Cub, this works for me. (Note: I don't clip my coupons, I have a file box I keep them all in order by date, clipping only what I need)

  14. Shannon says


    My method — for what it's worth is that I go through an inserts every few months. If I find one that is mostly expired I pull out all the coupons I "might" use at Cub and toss the rest. There are only a few things that really matter to me to make sure I keep. Meat coupons, cheese, yogurts and cereal coupons.

  15. Lisa says

    I clip all my coupons and put them in alphabetical order. I used to get pretty upset with myself when I would come across an expired coupon I should have used, so I came up with the following method. Every week, I go through my coupon file and pull out the coupons that will expire within the next two weeks. From these soon-to-expire coupons, I pull out the ones that I think I am likely to use (high $ value, a possibly free item if on sale, or for an item I purchase frequently). I keep the selected soon-to-expire coupons (usually only 10-20 coupons) in a large paper clip, and I check the prices for these items at the stores while I am doing my weekly shopping. It has been amazing to me how many of these items are included in unadvertised sales during the last couple of weeks before the coupon expires. The soon-to-expire coupons that didn't make the cut go to the back of the coupon file in a rubber band. When I start pulling the coupons that will expire in the next month, I keep them in a separate rubber band. When the end of the month arrives, I can pull out the bundle for that month to send overseas. I know this may sound complicated, but it works for me. I have been able to get many good deals using this method that I would otherwise have missed.

  16. says

    I use the binder for my coupons that I take to the grocery stores and have a second binder with the inserts I have not cut out . That is sorted by date that came out with date written on front of one of them. that way if I hear of a great deal and know what insert coupon is in I can find easily. These are kept on a book shelf in my kitchen with my cook books. Once in awhile I will grab a cup of coffee and work on them for 15 to 20 minutes. That helps me keep up with some of it. Finding time to cut coupons is the hardest but I like the coupon binder at grocery store. And if I see a interesting deal at the store i will write it down on my grocery list to go home to see if i have a coupon before buying.

    this method works for me. I have tried them all off and on for 30 years of couponing.

  17. Mr. J says


    1) Does your database resource for grocery coupons include all of the non-food items such as medicines, room fragrances, cleaners, etc…?

    2) Here's an idea: If you are taking the time to weed out expired inserts every quarter, perhaps you could list the expired inserts on your website by adding a special link, "Expired Sunday Ad Inserts. Just a suggestion.

  18. As Unto The Lord says

    Long time since this thread had a comment, but I thought I'd add an idea I use to organize. It took me awhile to choose a good method specifically for sorting coupons I've clipped intending to use in a sale and decided not to, or clipped in case I found a good matchup, and some I get 'bulk' (ie peelies, machines, printed, random, or mailed)…at first I would try to arrange them by 'type' but found I never could figure out which heading many were under, I also tried refiling them with the inserts, but that had problems too. I decided to get a small divider (small envelope size but deep enough for 13-15 dividers…a/b, c/d, etc.) and put them alphabetically by brand, since then I would always know where to look if I needed something or saw a good price. I go through it periodically to purge expired ones. I also have a place in the back of the divider I take to the store to stash coupons to be filed/refiled so they don't clutter up those I plan to use.

    • says

      I love it! Isn't it amazing how something simple, that works better for our personal brain, can make such a huge difference? I need to update this post and my video because Coupon Mom no longer keeps state-by-state coupon databases :( There is just one for the midwest and I *think* it is based on Chicago's coupons. I've yet to exactly figure out what that means for me and my process. The end of June, a typical coupon purge moment for me, is near, so I'll have to deal with this soon :)

  19. TJ says

    I would like to find a database that let's you know what coupon inserts are not totally expired within a given time frame. For example, how many coupon inserts are still good from all of the 2011 issues. Or, how many inserts are still good in the 1st quarter of 2012? If the answer is none, I am free to toss out those particular issues.

      • Tina Mitchell says

        I was on your grocery coupon database looking at coupons and was wondering how to print the coupon or how to use the coupons that are listed?

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