Getting myself organized was definitely a priority because if I was going to do this, I was going to do it right. I have always been kind of an all or nothing girl, so yea, I needed a plan. Now, how to do it right varies depending on which source you talk to. Different strokes for different folks, I guess. So, there are a few different methods for organizing your coupons. Here are some of the most popular:
This is probably the cheapest method out there, aside from using plain paper envelopes, and it’s the one my mom used to use when we’d go grocery shopping. She was a phenomenal saver, and although this method worked for her, I think if she knew of a better way to do it, she would’ve jumped on it. This method may be good for the beginner couponer, but I’m thinking much bigger. From what I’ve read, it seems that most women that get serious about couponing grow out of their little organizer pretty quickly. So, I think it’s better to spend a little more up front to get a more substantial organizing method than to have to replace your method a few weeks in. So, I’m going to pass on my mom’s organizer (although this one pictured is super cute).
This method can be equally inexpensive to start, and is kind of the next step up from the organizer. This method allows you to have many more coupons in your arsenal, and also allows you to get more specific about your categories. You can also personalize your categories how ever you want, including categories for store coupons and restaurants. The thing about this option is if you wanted to bring the box with you to the store, it can be kind of bulky and awkward. Most ladies that use this method pull the coupons they need before they go shopping and keep the box at home. However, it can be helpful to bring all your coupons to the store because many retailers will have clearance and unadvertised sales that you may have a coupon for. If you left your stash at home, you’ll be kicking yourself.
Since I plan on making this couponing thing a way of life, I wanted to pick a method that would not need to be upgraded over time, and would sustain a large amount of coupons, so the binder method seemed like the one for me!
The binder should have a zipper that closes the entire way around the outside to prevent all your coupons from falling out if you dropped it, and be thick enough to hold a bunch of inserts, dividers, and any other couponing stuff you want to have on hand.
I bought this Five Star XPANZ 2 inch binder at Walmart for around $20. In hindsight I totally overpaid, but I wanted to just get what I needed, and I didn’t want to wait. There’s that impulsive shopper coming through. But, it is what it is. After I did a little research online, it looks like I could’ve gotten one of these same binders on ebay for about $5. Oh well, lesson learned. While I was at WalMart I also picked up clear plastic baseball card organizer sheets that had 9 little pockets, 2 packages of 30. They were a few bucks a piece, and are located on the other side of the register where they sell cigarettes, usually in the middle of the line of registers. Oh, and I got 2 packages of 9 tabbed dividers that have a pocket in each of them. I figured the pocket could come in handy for miscellaneous coupons, or if I don’t have time to put each coupon in it’s place, I can still put them with the category they belong in. I went with the more expensive plastic ones over the cardstock ones for a buck because I wanted these things to last. So my attempt to save money with couponing started with a $35 investment. Hubby just looooved that.
One of the problems I have with spending too much money comes from my love of all things pretty. I know how stupid that sounds, but I am such a sucker for a beautifully designed bottle of shampoo, a bottle of disinfectant that happens to be purple, etc. Lets just say that walking into Target gets me giddy just because its all organized according to pretty colors and trendy patterns… oooh…Target really does it for me. lol. no really.
So when I saw this coupon binder/bag I almost lost my mind, especially because I found this binder AFTER I bought all my (not as pretty) binder stuff. The photo is of a coupon binder sold by Coupon Clutch and retails on their website for $29.95. They sell the binders all set with everything you need in them. All your dividers, inserts, everything. They also sell all the components on their own so you can do it yourself, if you are so inclined. When I was looking around their site I saw that they also sell the plastic inserts, like the baseball card holders, but they have several different configurations of the slots, which I would imagine would be really helpful for all the different sizes of coupons that are out there. Especially the online printable coupons that are really long. Their inserts are $3.95 for a package of 10.
So, I have what I need to get started. So now I just need coupons…