Friday, May 27, 2011

Creating a Coupon Binder

It is the age old couponing question...
How do I keep it all organized?
My answer is always to find what works for you and stick to it.
Whether you like to keep a small organizer or a 20 pound binder, 
there is no right or wrong way to do it.

I have for the longest time just kept a small organizer with a larger one that stays at home with
the complete inserts and various coupon books and mailers.
I feel like that is not really working for me anymore so I have decided to make the switch to
the Coupon Binder.
I am not criticizing the small organizer but I feel like I loose track of coupons because they are not all 
separated and sometimes they get stuck together.

I am very excited and a bit nervous about putting it all together so I am taking you on my journey :)

Getting Started - What you need for the actual binder.

I had some Gift Cards for Amazon so I decided to use those
to order my initial supplies.
I prefer the fabric with a handle
(3) 8 packs of Tabbed Dividers $0.97 each at Walmart

Options for Organizing Coupons
There are several ways you can go about organizing your binder you may have to 
try out a few different methods before you find what is most effective for you.

1. By Grocery Store Aisles
This strikes me as very difficult because I shop at multiple 
stores and no two are the same.  However if you are loyal to just one store for all your needs
then this is perfect for you.  You can just walk up and down the aisles in your store and find the coupons you need in no time.

2. Alphabetically
You can purchase tabs that are labeled from A-Z.
Then just alphabetize each coupon by brand name, this is pretty common and
seems like a pretty efficient way to keep it all organized.

3.  By Product Type
This is the method that I will be going with.
It makes the most sense to me and is how I kept my small organizer.
You can create your own categories - as many or as few as you want to and
when you make your list just flip to that section and grab your coupon.

Constructing the Binder

I have to say that putting the binder together took much longer that I expected,
it took the better part of my day.
I decided on 20 categories to separate the binder into.

The tabbed dividers that I purchased came with Avery Labels so I was able to download the
 template and create typed labels for each category.
Next it is in with the coupons.
Internet printables fit perfectly in the 6 pocket holders and
most others fit in the 9 pocket.  
Now I use to keep the entire insert and only clip coupons as I needed them -
I am changing that a little.
I went through my inserts and clipped coupons that I was likely to use and 
left the others still in the inserts. 

I ended up with a ton of coupons and sort of realized that I have probably wasted 
a lot of coupons with my old method.
I made sure to put all of my restaurant & retail coupons, gift cards, RRs, Catalinas
ECBs and Shopper Loyalty cards right in the front.

And I put scissors, a calculator and labeled envelopes in the front so that
I can easily divide my trips.
I also printed all of the current coupon policies and put them in the back of my binder -
you can find links to all of those HERE

I have to say, I went to Walmart for a few items this morning and 
had my coupons organized and ready in their envelope in about 5 minutes.
As I always say, organization is key and I will have to stay on top of
clipping coupons as they come in and getting them in the right place.
I cannot believe I didn't do this earlier!!!!

Create Your Own Binder

Are you ready to take the plunge???
Well it just so happens that I have created a 
file for you complete with the Table of Contents and 
Dividers for each category.
All you have to do is go over HERE to download it :)

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