Have you ever gotten overwhelmed by the number of digital coupons you receive by email? I have. From restaurant coupons to grocery coupons to everything between, not organizing your digital coupons can end in you feeling overwhelmed and losing what you really want.
For organizing my email coupons, I’m a big fan of using Gmail. Of course, I’m a big fan of Google altogether. Gmail makes it easy with the way it setups organizing and its comprehensive search functionality.
So, from my least recommended (but still useful) way to organize email coupons to my most recommended, here are three ideas to get you started.
Use a label.
Gmail has an incredible filtering system that is powered by its search. Once you sign up for a mailing list from a site offering coupons, go to the search box, and search for something specific that will return that email.
For example, if I search for “Betty Crocker” I’ll get all the emails with that in the subject or body text of the email. But, if I want to be more specific, I’ll drop down the arrow inside the right side of the search box, and enter “BettyCrocker@emails.bettycrocker.com” as the from email address. This returns my search results. (Note, there are many other ways to filter down a Gmail search, use the one least restrictive to catch everything.)
After you enter your search criteria, and if you haven’t already, click on the drop down the arrow inside the right side of the search box, and click the link at the bottom of the advanced search box that says: “Create filter with this search“
Now you are on the filter screen!
Typically on this screen, I’ll pick “Skip the Inbox” (which moves it to a label instead of your main inbox), and then pick “apply the label” and create a label. Top level labels can be things link: general coupons, restaurants, cooking, shopping, etc. Click “Also apply filter to matching conversations.” and then click “Create Filter”.
*Tip* Use top level labels to group like things together and then create nested labels as desired.
*Pro-tip* Set a filter to delete any you DON’T CARE ABOUT after x amount of days. I recommend 30. This can be done by creating a filter with a search like: “label:resturants older_than:30d “
The difference between label and folder
So, you may be wondering what this label thing is. Like folders on your computer, a label is a place where you can organize information. Labels make it a little better because you can apply many labels to one thing — in this case, a search filter. If you want your Betty Crocker emails to be listed under Cooking and General, you can create a filter that will label them for both.
How to remove/manage
If ever you want to edit or remove a filter, click on the tools icon at the top right of Gmail and then “Filters and Blocked Addresses”.
Use YOUR email with a label.
This option is really a combination of labels and a second email address. Gmail allows you to add the plus symbol plus and a combination of letters and numbers after your email name. For example: email@example.com could be turned into firstname.lastname@example.org . You can then set up a filter where any emails that come to that email are automatically filtered into a label.
Use a separate email.
The last option in managing your digital coupons is to create a separate email altogether. The disadvantage here being that you will need to login to view the coupons. I highly suggest following step 1 above to still organize your coupons.
One thing you can do with a separate email is set up filters for specific keywords that will forward the email to your primary email. This way you can log in and check coupons at your leisure, but you’ll be notified of important coupons as soon as they come in.
*Tip* Most cell phone carriers have an email address associated with your phone. For those super high priority coupons, you can forward the email notification to your cell phone and log in to your email there.
Additionally, in your primary Gmail email account, you can receive email from your coupon email and send it all to a folder. To do this, first make sure on your coupon email account that you have POP3/Imap enabled. You’ll want to go into the settings for your Gmail (using the settings icon in the top right of your inbox) and click on “Forwarding and POP/IMAP”. Click “enable POP” and select what you want to happen to your coupon email’s copy.
In your primary Gmail email go to the settings, click on “Accounts and Import” and click “Add a mail account”. Step through the settings with your username and password for your coupon account, and set that you want all of those messages labeled as the coupon email (or whatever you want it labeled as), and to skip the inbox (archive).
What if you don’t get emails from your favorite place?
For example: use “Kohls coupons” as a Google alert and get an email anytime that search query is matched.
All of these take some time to setup but are worth it in the long run. I pick number three as my favorite because my primary inbox is never cluttered. I can easily search for all unread mail in my inbox, and not navigate through multiple coupons that I’m not ready to go through.
What about you? Think these are too difficult? Have a better way? I’d love to hear it!