Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My Coupon Binder (described in a super long post...)

Within the last 6months-1 year, I have taken on a new hobby: couponing!   I had so many friends tell me about how much you can save with couponing but I never thought it would be worth the time or that I wasn't "that kind of person."   I think it all started when I had a couple shopping trips at Kroger and the savings advertised really weren't big savings or they didn't ring up correctly, etc.  I had those same friends tell me how they have encountered that many times at Kroger, and talked about great Publix was.  I had tried Publix in the past but it just seemed more expensive overall.  (I still think it can be priceier than a Kroger or Wal-Mart if you are not taking advantage of their sales)  So I started reading up on some blogs like I Heart Publix and Faithful Provisions, about the ins and outs of couponing.

After learning the lingo and studying up, I started clipping a few coupons here and there and printing them off online. Then I also started getting coupons from my grandmother from the Sunday paper and it really starting stacking up!  I used an accordion file and divided things up in 13 categories like Dairy, Produce, Home, etc.  Pretty soon my file was about to bust at the seems!  But beyond that, it took forever to go through my piles to find a coupon, especially if i missed one and I had to find it in the middle of the grocery aisles.  I also went to a Faithful Provisions couponing workshop and she really gave me more ideas on how to get more coupons and organize them better.

I decided that the Binder System really worked best for me.  Working at home I have the time to clip all the coupons I want and organize them nicely into the binder.  I watched a few youtube videos and such of women showing off their binders so I was able to see a lot of different ways, both good and bad, and make a list of things that I think would work best for me.  I jumped on and bought three things (after much research!!)

  • First, the Case It D-145 3 inch 3 ring zipper binder in bright green :)  Got it for 18 bucks, free shipping and no tax!  I like this binder because it zips, it has large capacity, it has a zipper pocket for pens, scissors, etc, and even has an expandable divider section.

  • Avery Big Tab 2 pocket dividers, set of 8, for $5.  I definitely needed 8 sections, I like the plastic big tab version because I think they will hold up longer, and I loooved the 2 pockets (I'll explain more later)

  • Ultra Pro 9 pocket baseball card sleeves.  I didn't need 100 but it was just $15 (they had a set of 30 for $5 at target plus tax) and this way I have plenty left for replacements or growth. I choose this brand because the reviews on amazon said they were very sturdy, even some couponors commented about how great they were for coupons.

It took me a couple hours in 2 different sessions, with a big bag of M&M's and a Diet Pepsi or two, but I got it done!  I had to trim down a ton of coupons, made a ton of piles, and got a couple paper cuts, but it was totally worth it!  It is my pride and joy :)

As mentioned above, I have 8 sections like Dairy/Frozen, Produce/Meat/Bread, and Home.  

Then in those sections, I have a page for each thing like yogurt, breads, crackers, mexican, chips, cheese, toilet paper, and on and on.

It seems pretty hyper organized but I works really well.  I had a few coupons to clip and put away the other day and it went super fast.  I also folded all the coupons in a way so that you can see the name, price, and expiration date either all on the front, or front and back.  I flipped through the binder yesterday and pulled out expired coupons and it was super super fast and easy!

Included in the binder, there is an expandable divider section. Right now, I'm using it for the current and past issues of store fliers and extra paper.  We'll see how this works, I haven't labeled them yet just in case I change it up.  Some of the binders also have lists of their menus, price lists, stockpile lists, etc as well, once I get those things done they may earn a section or two.I had my first shopping trip last night, and while it wasn't a huge trip, it was a great trial run.  This is the method I am going with: I pulled the coupons out that I was going to use and placed them in the front facing pocket in each of the corresponding section divider.  When I was in the store and needed to look at the coupon while picking out my products, I was able to find the needed coupon very easily.  If I was going to use the coupon at check out, I put it in a zipper pencil pouch in the front of the binder (I added this that day, it isn't in the above pictures) and if I decided not to use it, I placed the coupon in the back folder on the divider so I can re-file it later.

I was very excited to see how the binder fit in the cart too!  It gave me enough room too to have my list sitting on the left hand side, I had my wallet actually clipped on one of the rings for safety, and put a post it note on the pencil pouch to keep track of my spending (I write it all down and tally it throughout the trip, I find this is easier than accidental calculator errors)  I felt a little dorky but it was oh so handy to have!!   (FYI, Saved 71, spent 109)Hope this helps some of you!

here is a gallery of all my pictures:

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