Learn How To Coupon | Day 12: Organizing Your Coupons {Part 2}

 

 

Welcome to Day 12 of the monthly series: Learn How To Coupon!

 

This is a monthly series geared toward the beginner couponer. It’s a chronological series that builds on what we learn each day. By the end of the month, you should feel a lot better about using coupons, or at least a bit more confident in your understanding of them. If you have missed any of what we have been talking about, or want to read any of it, you can click on the links below:
Day 1: Anatomy of a Coupon

 

Day 2: Anatomy of a Barcode

 

Day 3: Types of Coupons

 

Day 4: Where to Find Coupons

 

Day 5: Stacking Coupons

 

Day 6: Coupon Abbreviations

 

Day 7: Electronic Coupons

 

Day 8: Doubling Coupons

 

Day 9: Catalina Coupons

 

Day 10: Buy One Get One Free Coupons

 

Day 11: Organizing Your Coupons {Part 1}

 

 

Today’s Topic: Organizing Your Coupons {Part 2}

 

Yesterday, we talked about organizing your coupons in a file-folder with the “Clip-Less” method. Today, I want to go a bit further, and explore another popular option: the Binder System or “Clip-Method”.

 

What is the Binder “Clip” Method?

It’s basically just what it sounds like. It means that instead of keeping your inserts whole, you will instead be clipping or cutting them. They will then be organized into a binder. The binder is divided by specific categories or alphabetically or by sections of your specific store. You can even organize them by expiration date or month.

 

Why do people like or sometimes prefer the Binder Method?

As you can see, it already involves a bit more work for your coupons because you have to constantly clip and organize your coupons. But in doing this, you can easily see at a quick glance if you have a coupon for something (without having to look on a blog or in the Coupon Database).

This is helpful if you come upon a clearance rack in the store or an unadvertised deal. You would be able to flip to your section with that coupon and see if you have any available coupons.

 

What materials are needed?

Here’s a picture of my personal binder:

 

Yes, I know :) It’s huge! Please don’t think as a beginner, that this is what you have to do, or what you will be dealing with every week ;) I have been couponing for a while, and I collect quite a lot of coupons. So that’s why this is so large. I also hold many other things, like my coupon policies, ads, and anything else I might need with me.

I really enjoy having everything I need in one place.

 

Back to the materials:

-Binder (here’s another Office Max example):

Your binder should be a sturdy one. You will be using this on a weekly, if not daily basis. So try and get one that is heavy duty. If you know that you will be collecting a lot or all coupons that come your way, then you might want to go ahead and opt for a larger sized binder. This way, later on, you won’t have to move up.

If you aren’t planning on cutting all your coupons, then you can probably stick with a smaller binder.

Also, many people get zippered binders. This is nice because you can zip up your coupons and not worry about them falling out.

-Baseball Card Holders 

These are plastic sheets that are divided into 9 sections. They typically hold baseball cards, but are perfect for holding coupons too!

You will master the art of coupon origami!

You may also be able to find currency holders or check holders that also do the same thing, but are different sizes and hold a different amount per page.

Here’s an example from Amazon:

-Dividers

You will need dividers so that you can organize your coupons in the binder. You will need to decide if you want to organize them by date, alphabetically, or by category. We will talk about the specifics of those below.

But if you want to organize by date or month, it might be best to get numbered dividers and some plain dividers.

If you want to organize alphabetically, then you can get dividers that have the alphabet. I would also get a few plain dividers as well.

If you want to organize by cateogry, then you can just get some plain dividers and label them according to your category.

As with the binders, try and get the plastic dividers if possible. They cost a little more, but will last you a lot longer. If you get the paper ones, you might find that they tear easily.

Here’s an example from Office Max:

-Other Items

Some other items you may need are zippered pouches, pens, pencils, scissors, calculator, sticky notes.

Basically anything else you need to organize your binder how you want it.

Organizing Your Binder

We are going to go over a few popular ways to organize your coupons. But if you would like to see a video on my older coupon binder, then you can see that below. It’s kind of long, but you can take a look inside and see how it works:

Category

This is the method that I use. Organizing your coupons by category means that you put your coupons into sections according to your store, or general groups in the store. I will give you my full list below of what I use for my Coupon Binder:

Food Section:

  • Free
  • Produce
  • Condiments & Sauces
  • Beverages
  • Packaged & Canned Goods
  • Bread, Rice & Pasta
  • Baking
  • Breakfast
  • Snacks
  • Refridgerated
  • Meats
  • Frozen

Non-Food Section:

  • Cosmetics
  • Oral Care
  • Personal Care
  • Cleaning
  • Paper/Plastic Goods
  • Medicines
  • Baby/Kids
  • Misc.
  • Pets

Stores/Grocery/Drug-Stores:

  • Stores
  • Target
  • Walmart
  • CVS
  • Walgreens
  • Rite-Aid
  • Harris Teeter
  • Food Lion
  • Eating-Out
  • Other

This means that any coupon that fits in that category, will be put in that category. So if you are at the store, and see that cat food is on sale, and want to know if you have a Friskies coupon, just flip to your Pets tab and see!

Alphabetical

This is where instead of using categories, you will just organize your coupons by letter. You can do it by the letter of the product, or by the type of product. So for example, if you had a Covergirl coupon, here’s what the category might look like:

C: Covergirl    

OR

M: (for makeup): Covergirl

By Date

This method is organizing your coupons by date or month. I have not heard of as many people doing this, but I think it helps when having to purge expired coupons. I have seen people that will have a “March” tab, then within the March tab, enclose all the coupons that expire that month.

That means all those coupons within that March tab also have to be organized by some sort of alphabetical or category like fashion. This is a little more time consuming, but can save you more time in the end if you choose to do so.

Cutting your Coupons

If you choose to use this method, it requires a lot more up-front work. But the plus side is that it takes less time to find a coupon you’re looking for, and you can quickly glance at it whenever you need to see if you have a coupon.

So because your cutting your coupons, you need to decide what coupons you will keep or clip. You want to try and clip the coupons that you know you will use, or would use if you could get it for free or donate to someone as well.

If you still can’t see a reason for keeping that coupon, then it’s probably best to NOT clip the coupon because you might end up with lots of expired coupons in your binder that you have to clean out anyway later on. And it ends up making more work for you.

I personally try and clip most coupons, and stay on top of them weekly.

Here’s a video where I show you my method of clipping coupons:

 

 

Cleaning out your expired coupons

With the binder method, because you can “see” all your coupons, it will be a lot easier to know what coupons are already expired. So going through your binder weekly or bi-weekly will be a good thing to keep up with your expired coupons.

It will be a little more physical because you aren’t just throwing away a whole insert, which only takes seconds, but you might have to go through your entire binder to find expired coupons.

Keeping up with this will be necessary because as you know each week, you get new inserts, so you will need all the room you can get.

Staying on top of your organization with a binder is the biggest hurdle I think. If you can get to a point where your coupons are clipped, organized and all expired coupons are gone, then the weekly maintenance will be easy.

 

So I hope this has helped you with starting your own binder if you want to do so! I think both of these methods are great, and I use both on and off.

 

See ya for Day 13!

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