I love the idea of couponing. Those little bits of paper are like finding free money, provided you can get a good deal on the item. In the past I’ve used various methods of keeping track of my coupons, none which worked perfectly.
- The first method was to clip the coupons and throw them in a file. That didn’t work for obvious reasons.
- The second method was to make a coupon binder, organized by type of product. My first coupon binder had two flaws.
- The first is that it wasn’t a zipper binder. I found out the hard way that when you drop a regular binder full of coupons, coupons fly everywhere.
- The second problem was that I’d get a coupon like “$1 off any L’Oreal product.” The problem is that L’Oreal makes makeup, shampoo, and various other products. So where do I file the coupon?
- The third method that I tried and failed was just keeping the coupons inserts intact, and then using a service like the Grocery Game to tell me where to look for the coupon I needed. The problem with that method is if I saw a great deal while out shopping, I would have no idea where to find the coupon.
So this week I reorganized the coupon binder, using a method I found at A Full Cup. I think I’ve finally found a system that will work well.
My New Coupon Binder
1. Use a Zipper Binder
The first thing to notice about this binder is that it is a zipper binder. If I drop it, the coupons will stay in the binder! Very important when you have kids or are klutzy like me.
2. Have Space for Accessories
On the front of the binder is a pocket big enough to contain a pen, a small calculator, and my scissors. It’s important to keep these items with your binder. The pen and calculator come in handy when shopping, and keeping a special scissors with your binder will ensure the kids don’t run off with your scissors!
3. First Page: A Three Pockets Organizer
The first page of my coupon binder contains three pockets:
- “This Week” – As I make my shopping list each week, I place the coupons I plan on using in the “This Week” pocket.
- “Refile” – As I do my shopping, if an item is out of stock, I put the coupon in the “Refile” section.
- “Checkout” – If I find the item and put it in my basket, I put the coupon in the “Checkout” section.
The “Refile” section is also handy, if you find pull out coupons in the supermarket aisles. Pull a couple (NOT all of them!), and put them in the “Refile” pocket, so you can use them another day.
4. Second Page: Store Loyalty Cards
The second page of my coupon binder contains my store loyalty cards. I hate having to dig through my purse for them. Now I can see them all at a glance.
You can use 9-pocket page protector for baseball cards like the one shown below for both the store loyalty cards and coupon pages (see below). I also have a few 4×6 photo pages in my binder, to hold really big coupons.
5. Coupon Pages from A-Z
My coupon binder is organized in alphabetical order by manufacturer. Remember my problem with the L’Oreal coupons? I now have a page dedicated to L’Oreal. If I find a sale on L’Oreal products, whether it be hair, makeup, or something else, I know where to look for the coupon. In the “L” section.
6. The Back Pocket
Finally, I have a pocket in the back of my binder to hold current ads. I always like to reference ads when I’m shopping, to make sure I’m buying the right sized items.
You really can save a lot of money by using coupons, but you have to be organized to get the most bang for your buck. If I know exactly how my coupons are organized, and I take my coupon binder wherever I go, I will always be prepared for the unexpected clearance sale that will result in getting something I need for free!
Do you use coupons? How do you organize them?
Photos from Amazon.com