I’ve tried every kind of coupon organizer made and none of them were big enough to make finding the right coupon easy – yet compact enough to be able to take to the supermarket with me. After scouring the web, asking family and friends, and watching other coupon clippers – I found the perfect solution.
Now, the “binder method” is by no means new, and there are many pre-made coupon binders (see end of the article) that are wonderful. The key is to adapt the method to what you need and how you’ll use it best.
Here’s what you’ll need:
– Slim binder(preferably flexible) with a zip-around. (NOTE: Some people prefer to use a hard binder so that they can use a clip on the cover to make it more of a clip board. It’s really personal preference.)
– Sheet protectors – use these for rebate forms, and your price book.
– CD Holder sheets for 3 ring binders – these hold larger coupons (especially coupons that come on postcards and the like) and even brochures.
– Diskette Holder sheets for 3 ring binders – for holding regular sized coupons.
– Solar Calculator – don’t go by the “per unit” prices listed on the price tags on store shelves. I’ve found them to be wrong quite frequently. Always do the math yourself, if you’re able.
– Zip pocket, preferably with pen holders.
– Paper pad for taking quick notes.
How to Assemble your Coupon Organizer
1. Pick out a binder – either rigid or flexible depending on your preference. Remember, you’re going to be taking this with you, so make sure you like it!
2. Put in sheet protectors, diskette holders, CD holders (if necessary), paper pad and zip pocket.
3. Start (if you haven’t already) sorting your coupons by type. Once they’re organized, start filing into the slots in the pages. About halfway through you’ll get an idea of how many pages (and what type of pages) you’ll need for each category. For instance, I’ve noticed that most of my beauty coupons are over-sized and need to be put in the CD pockets rather than the diskette pockets.
4. Be sure to use blank and/or colored paper to separate the front and back of the sheets so that you may make use of both sides easily. Color sorting by category is also a nice touch, but can be more time consuming.
5. Finally, apply stick-on divider tabs on the first page of each coupon section – for instance Dairy, Frozen, Dry Goods etc.
6. I also have separate zipper pocket for each “store specific” set of coupons – I have HEB, Walgreens and Randalls that each give me loads of coupons with my receipts and it’s easier to keep those separate from the manufacturer coupons.
More tips to get the best grocery deals
Stealthy time-saving trick – get a map!
Most grocery stores have a printed map of the store layout. Get this and create a reusable shopping list organized the way the store is organized.
Join the grocery store “membership clubs” to save the most money. These programs are frequently the only way you get your coupons doubled or tripled – so check the store’s policy.
Check the front of the store for store coupons, rebate information and additional manufacturer coupons.
Not finding the coupons for products you really need – or for products you need a lot more often than you can get coupons? Get online. Yes, it’s technically illegal to sell coupons. But what you’re really buying is someone’s effort in clipping, sorting and shipping the coupons you specifically need without having to be 12 Sunday papers. Is it shady? Well, that’s a matter of opinion. I both sell and buy coupon clipping services online, so I’m a biased party. But it saves me hundreds of dollars every year.
Create a price book.
This means saving receipts and keeping track of the prices stores charge for the items you buy most. I don’t track every single item I purchase, but I do track my top 30 grocery and drugstore items. It’s worth every penny! You can make your own spreadsheet or print one out here:
Here’s an example at Cheapcooking.com:
Great articles on saving at the grocery store can be found at BargainsLA.com:
Pre-made Coupon Organizers:
One of the very BEST coupon organizer I’ve seen, Mrs. A’s Coupon Organizer:
Smart Spending’s Coupon Organizer
And even more tips for organizing coupons over at The Dollar Stretcher
The Binder Method has also been expounded upon at the Savvy Shopper Deals, here:
Here’s a Great Idea: Organize before you clip!
Possibly the best organizer site for grocery shopping is www.thegrocerygame.com which combines the store circulars advertised specials with the weekly coupons from the newspaper to show you the very best deals at your favorites stores. The trial week is only a dollar and it’s well worth the try!
One helpful site is BOODLEizer.com, which helps you organize a coupon cutting list _before_ you start clipping, so you make the best use of your time.
(Be sure to watch the demo on the site, to see how it works.)
Possibly the best video demonstration EVER for clipping multiple coupons at the same time:
Last, but certainly not least, remember to send your expired coupons to those who can really use them – military families. (Thank you to Donna L. Montaldo at couponing.about.com) Remember to clip the coupons (don’t just send the coupon books) and divide them into two categories – food and non-food. Also, if possible list the dollar amount on the envelope. Place them in large plastic bags and label them.
Family Service Center
PSC 472, Box 8
FPO AP 96348-1150
Family Service Center
PSC 474, Box 700
FPO AP 96351-0007
Navy Family Service Center
ATTN: Coupon Distribution
PSC 476, Box 62
FPO AP 96322-1114
ANSBACH 235TH BSB
APO AE 09177
APO AE 09175
Family Services Center
KEFLAVICK PSC 1003
FPO AE 09728
Camp Darby – Livorino
CDR, AST, LIVORINO Unit 31301, Box 55
NAPLES NAVAL SUPPORT ACTIVITY
PSC 810, Box 53
FPO AE 09619
SIGONELLA NAVAL AIR STATION
NAS Sigonella PSC 824
FPO AE 09623
Defense Commissary Agency
Okinawa Central Distribution Center
DECA/WP/CD/OKI, Unit 5156, Bldg 301
APO AP 96368-5156