I am not necessarily an extreme couponer (yet), but I do love having my coupons handy and neatly organized. My coupon binder is a simple, white, 3-inch 3-ring binder. I have plans of making a Coupon Clutch (I even have all the material and notions for it), but haven’t gotten around to it yet.
I love using the binder method because it takes less time to search for coupons–I just flip to the category then leaf through the pages. I also love it because I can carry all of my coupons with me when I go shopping. So when I see a good deal and I have a coupon for it, it’s always right there with me. I’ve recently been in the habit of bringing my binder with me everywhere I go, even if I don’t intend to do any shopping. Many times have my husband and I been driving home from church or something and decided to stop somewhere to pick something up that we need. It’s in these moments I often find a really good sale, and I know I have a corresponding coupon, but, alas, it’s not with me.
Before I tell you the details of what I keep in my binder, let me show you the pocket pages I use. I use a few 3-pocket ones and the remaining are 8-pocket. I prefer the 8-pocket pages as opposed to the 9-pocket baseball card ones because the top is wider, making it easier to put coupons in and pull them out.
Now to the parts of my couponing binder. Just so you know, all the ideas I use in my coupon binder are not completely my own. I have gleaned ideas from various other couponers online and in person. I combined these ideas, added a few of my own, and created a system that works for me. How I arrange and use my binder works for me, but I’m sure yours will probably be different based on your needs and what is convenient for you. With that said, here are the elements of my DIY coupon binder and their descriptions (by the way, if you’re more visual I have a video towards the bottom of this post):
- Zipper Pouch. I have a purple zipper pouch in the very front of my binder. This pouch holds my calculator (I am terrible at math), a pen, pencil, mini pair of scissors, and some scratch paper. I also stick my receipts in another of its pockets to sort through and file when I get home.
- Rebates. The next item I keep in my binder is a 3-pocket page for rebates. I like to keep this towards the front so I see it often and don’t forget to fill them out and turn them in before they expire. I prefer to keep them in my binder as opposed to leaving them at home because when I am purchasing an item for which I have a rebate, sometimes the rebate is very specific as to which item it covers, so it helps to have it with me for reference.
- 5 Pocket Dividers. Next are 5 plastic pocket dividers. I have one per store I shop at (Walgreens, King Soopers, Safeway, and Wal-Mart) plus one labeled Other Stores (for Sprouts, Toys R Us, etc.). In the front pocket of each divider I keep the corresponding store’s newspaper ad and perhaps other items like coupon booklets. In the second pocket on the divider I keep the corresponding store’s coupon policy that I printed from their website or obtained via emailing the chain. I like to keep the policies with me just in case I have trouble redeeming a coupon.
- 3-Pocket Pages. Behind each of the 5 pocket dividers, I keep one 3-pocket page. In the bottom pocket I keep items like rain checks and cash Register Rewards. When I am at home planning my shopping trip, I will insert coupons I think I might use in the middle pocket. While at the store I move coupons from the middle pocket to the top pocket or from the main section of the binder to the top pocket as I put their corresponding items in the cart; this way, I simply pull all the top-pocket coupons out and hand them to the cashier.
- 32 Tab Dividers. Next is the main part of the binder. I have four sets of 8 tab dividers for a total of 32 tab dividers. Although paper dividers are cheaper, I prefer to use plastic ones because they are more durable and attractive. Here are the categories that don each of these tabs:
- Condiments & Salad Dressing
- Candy & Snacks
- Sides, Pasta, & Rice
- Canned & Jarred
- Baking & Cooking
- Baby Food
- Baby Non-Food
- Dairy & Eggs
- Other Food
- Aluminum & Plastic
- Paper Products
- Cleaning Supplies
- Lotion & Beauty
- Personal Care
- Soap & Body Wash
- Shampoo & Hair Care
- Oral Care
- Feminine Care
- First Aid
- Other Non-Food
- 8-pocket Pages. Between each category are the 8 pocket pages which hold the coupons. Sometimes the coupons need to be folded to fit. When this happens I try to make it so the item description and/or picture is front-facing so I can easily see what item the coupon is for. If I have multiples of a coupon for one item, I will insert them in the same pocket with the ones that are about to expire first toward the front.
Now I want to tell you a little about a notebook I keep in my binder in the zipper pouch. When I am out shopping and I find a rock-bottom price for something, I write it in this notebook. This way, when I get ready to buy something, I can look at it on my rock-bottom list to see whether or not it is a deal worth buying.And that’s my do it yourself coupon binder! It is very easy to assemble and utilize, plus all the materials are relatively inexpensive, so I would never recommend purchasing one! Why buy when you can DIY?
How about you? How do you organize your coupon binder? What extras do you put in it?
(Sorry I kept veering to the right O.o)
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Hi, what type of dividers do you buy? I have had a hard time finding ones that are wider than the 3 pocket coupon pages.
I just bought some plastic dividers from Staples. They stick out just a tad from the plastic pages. 🙂
I’m guess maybe the 8 pocket are not as wide? I’m too having trouble find tabs that actually show. Any idea what brand? Thanks!
I put a stiff piece of paper in each pocket, doubles your filing space…you can file coupons on both sides of your page.