Coupon Binder Basics/How To

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Old 05-11-2011, 03:44 PM
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Coupon Binder Basics/How to

I am frequently asked about Coupon Binders and how to make one. Here’s my breakdown:

Coupon Binder Basics

A very popular and common way to organize and carry coupons is to create a coupon binder. You can easily organize your coupons, see them all easily, and conveniently carry them with you. Many people prefer this method but it may not work for you. Make sure you are flexible, experiment with your binder, and find what works best for you. One system may work for one person, while others need a totally different system.

Remember, take it slow and build up. Don’t go dropping $50 to set up a binder if you don’t even know if you’ll like it. We are all savers, so do this frugally and build up if you find the binder system works well for you. Wasting money is never good no matter how pretty the binder may be!

The Binder
You really can use any 3-ring binder, but some may be easier to carry around than others. If you are on a budget grab any binder you have laying around your house and get started. If you can afford to drop a few dollars look for a zip up binder. They generally run around $10-$15 dollars, but can often be found on sale, clearance, or thrift stores, so keep your eyes out. I recommend you use a binder at least 1 inches, and you may need bigger than that as you add more coupons. But 1 is enough for most people, especially in the beginning. Zip-up binders are very helpful since there is less of a risk of coupons falling out if somebody tips it over. Nothing is worse than being a checkout and having the 2yo dump 1000 coupons on the floor!!


A Carrying System
So what’s the easiest way to carry the binder around? Okay so this is not essential but people want to know. You can just carry the binder right? But if you are looking for a way to free up your hands these are two ways. If you have a zip-up binder you can add a strap to the binder. I made a strap by using an old duffel bag strap I had laying around the house. If you need holes added to the binder get a cheap grommet kit (found in the hardware or craft section) for a few bucks. My husband snapped grommets onto my binder in just a minute. A second option for both zip-up and regular binders is a tote bag. Just slip the binder in – its discretely covered and you are hands free.




Coupon Holder pages
There are many type of pages with different configurations of pockets you can use for coupons. The most common but also the most frustrating is the baseball card holders. They have 9 pockets and can hold many coupons per page. The downfall- the pockets are so tiny you often have to fold coupons, and getting them in and out is difficult. Another option that I prefer is a currency holder. These can be bought online. They have three long pockets and they fit Internet Printed (IPs) coupons very well, and coupons are easy to access in them. But the downfall is they don’t hold as many coupons per page. Photo pages are another option – they have 3 or 4 4x6 pockets and can be found in the photo section of the store. Online you can also locate pages that have 6 or 8 pockets. I recommend you get a combination of the smaller and larger pages to best accommodate all your coupons. You may also want a few single pocket pages, or page protectors, to hold coupon policies, whole inserts, etc.




Dividers
You are going to want some way to divide and mark off the sections of your binder. You can just use a few post-its if you need to do it cheap. A common option is Index pages. I recommend you get ones that you can write on or label yourself versus pre-numbered ones. Some people just prefer to put a sheet of colored paper in with the section title written on it. Just work with it and see what you like best.




Organizing
This is the part people struggle with the most. How do you organize the coupons? Well it varies for everyone. The first basic choice – alphabetical or categorically? Do you prefer to look for your coupons by the brand name or by the type of product? Alphabetical is straightforward – sort each brand alphabetically. So we will focus more on the categorical. Then you must decide - how many categories and how detailed the categories, and this depends on your preferences. For example – (a) one large health and beauty category, versus (b) one section each for make-up, soaps, hair products, skin products, versus (c) going even more detailed and have hair stylers separate from shampoos, etc. Since so many coupons cover a broad range I prefer more broad categories, but too many coupons in one category can be cumbersome. So you need to find your balance. This balance is usually decided by your shopping habits. If you don’t wear make-up a separate section will not be needed, but if you love make-up you may want to break that category down more. I recommend that no matter what categories you choose that you make the front page/section of your binder all the FREE coupons – that way you won’t forget to use them before they expire! Once you decide your sections you can organize the categories alphabetically or by the order they are in the store. Here is a list of examples of categories I have seen people list, and obviously some are more detailed than others:
  • Free Product
  • Fresh Foods
  • Fruit/Veggies
  • Produce
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Pantry
  • Grains
  • Food misc.
  • Condiments
  • Spices
  • Pasta/Soup/Rice
  • Canned
  • Boxed
  • Baking
  • Condiments
  • Prepared Sides & Rice
  • Condiments/Salad Dressing
  • Pasta
  • Soup
  • PB & J
  • Breads
  • Snacks
  • Chips/Crackers
  • Salty Snacks
  • Granola Bars/Fruit Snacks
  • Breakfast
  • Candy
  • Drinks
  • Juices
  • Beverages
  • Fridge
  • Dairy
  • Meat
  • Yogurt
  • Freezer
  • HBA
  • Beauty
  • Oral Care
  • Soap & Body Wash
  • Hair Care
  • Lotion
  • Shaving & Deodorant
  • Make-Up
  • Razors
  • Deodorant
  • Personal Care
  • Feminine Hygiene
  • Toothcare
  • Pharmacy
  • Medicine
  • Vitamins
  • First Aid
  • Chemicals
  • Household
  • Batteries
  • Dish Washing
  • Surface Cleaners
  • Laundry
  • Dish Washing
  • Cleaning Supplies
  • Air Fresheners/Candles
  • Fragrances
  • Paper/Plastic
  • Reynolds Ziploc
  • Paper Products
  • Pets
  • Baby
  • Rebates
  • Store coupons
  • Miscellaneous
Extras
Feel free to add a few extra items to the binder. I strongly recommend you have a place to keep the Store Coupon Policies. You may want a place to keep store ads. Some other items that may be helpful – a place to hold all your store cards, scissors, notepad, and of course a calculator.

Maintaining
Remember to be flexible with your binder and find what works for you. Don’t hesitate to change categories, move things around, etc. If it is too much of a chore take a step back and find how to simplify it for you. Also, remember this isn’t the only way to organize coupons – if it doesn’t work for you try something new.

I hope this is helpful! Have fun getting started!
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Last edited by nomadicpixie; 05-12-2011 at 09:20 AM. Reason: little adjustments, I can't spell
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Old 05-11-2011, 08:14 PM

RE: Coupon Binder Basics/How to

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This helps, I am still working on mine now and already see I need a bigger binder. As for the pages I got some 4x6 photo inserts and the baseball card inserts. I found breaking the first two insterts of each row give me more room to work with. I can put bigger coupons and small coupons on the same page now.
I need to take a different approach on the categories though.
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Old 05-11-2011, 09:05 PM

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I'm just starting out and was looking for ways to organize. thanks
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Old 05-11-2011, 09:09 PM

RE: Coupon Binder Basics/How to

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I just got myself a binder today, thanks a lot for the information.
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Old 05-11-2011, 09:13 PM

RE: Coupon Binder Basics/How to

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nice list thank you
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Old 05-11-2011, 09:17 PM

RE: Coupon Binder Basics/How to

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When I first started, I came to realize...it was MY system. Probably not exactly like anybody elses, but that's okay. I would be the one using it, making it work, etc. just kept reminding myself... it doesn't have to be like anyone elses.
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Old 05-11-2011, 09:21 PM

RE: Coupon Binder Basics/How to

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Thank You Nomadicpixie... I started couponing almost a month ago, and began using the last half of my CD index to hold coupons. Now, all of my CDs have been evicted, and the case only closes if leaned on... HARD! Your post comes at an excellent time for me. Thank You!
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Old 05-12-2011, 09:03 AM

RE: Coupon Binder Basics/How to

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I started couponing 2 weeks ago. This has become a lite at the end of a tunnel for me. I lost my florist job Feb.28th. Due to economy my former boss was forced into closing the flower shop. Finding a new job and saving every dime has become my main focus. I like all the info. this site has offered. Thank you !!!!!!!
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Old 05-12-2011, 09:09 AM

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Thanks for the info. It was very helpful!
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Old 05-12-2011, 09:21 AM

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Thank you, this is very helpful. I'm a new cuoponer and I been looking for assistance on how to organize.
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Old 05-12-2011, 09:38 AM

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just getting started , thanks for the the great tips !
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Old 05-12-2011, 02:33 PM

RE: Coupon Binder Basics/How to

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For the store coupon policy's I usually bookmark them as a button on my iPhone so I can click on them if I need to right away.
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Old 05-12-2011, 08:32 PM

RE: Coupon Binder Basics/How to

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I have been using almost the exact same method for about 4 years now! I, too prefer currency sleeves over the card holders. I just cannot get used to those tiny pockets. Although I do have a few for store cards or store specific coupons and catalinas.

I also have a section in the back with each store's coupon policy inside a sheet protector.
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Old 05-12-2011, 08:49 PM

RE: Coupon Binder Basics/How to

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great post, thank you!
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Old 05-12-2011, 09:07 PM

RE: Coupon Binder Basics/How to

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very helpful! i made my binder a couple of weeks ago but i already need i bigger one! also not happy with my categories...i need to edit mine. thanks!
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Old 05-13-2011, 02:47 AM

RE: Coupon Binder Basics/How to

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OMG.... thank you sooooo much for the info. This will make things so much easier than the little coupon holder I have.
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Old 05-13-2011, 03:20 AM

RE: Coupon Binder Basics/How to

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Quick question this may sound silly I kno but what would b considered a "free coupon"?
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Old 05-13-2011, 03:39 AM

RE: Coupon Binder Basics/How to

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Free coupon is a coupon where the item you are purchasing is free and it will state that on the coupon
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Old 05-13-2011, 07:10 AM

RE: Coupon Binder Basics/How to

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Really

those actually exist wow I learned something new definitely gonna b on da look out for those. Thanks for the reply I'm new to this just getting started n well I'm having a bit of trouble starting up. But I'm gonna keep going n eventually it will b second nature.
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Old 05-13-2011, 07:55 AM

RE: Coupon Binder Basics/How to

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solimar52 View Post
Quick question this may sound silly I kno but what would b considered a "free coupon"?
Quote:
Originally Posted by BARBEPAM View Post
Free coupon is a coupon where the item you are purchasing is free and it will state that on the coupon
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solimar52 View Post
those actually exist wow I learned something new definitely gonna b on da look out for those. Thanks for the reply I'm new to this just getting started n well I'm having a bit of trouble starting up. But I'm gonna keep going n eventually it will b second nature.
Yup! Barbepam is right. You can generally get them from contacting companies or through promotions they run on occasion (commonly on facebook). You can also get free product coupons through reward programs (my coke rewards, huggies points rewards, recyclebank, stouffers dinner points, pampers points, etc). So, yes, keep your eyes out!
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Old 05-13-2011, 08:02 AM

RE: Coupon Binder Basics/How to

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Ok thank u I just had a baby n just found out bout the pampers n huggies reward points so just joined those definitely will keep a look out for that.
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Old 05-13-2011, 03:55 PM

RE: Coupon Binder Basics/How to

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I didn't know facebook had coupons..apparently I don't get out too much. Thanks for the info!
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Old 05-13-2011, 03:56 PM

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Thanks for the info! I wondered how I was going to get started!
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Old 05-15-2011, 12:08 PM

RE: Coupon Binder Basics/How to

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if you have alot of coupons, i find what works for me is 2 binders.....one for food and one for non food. and keeping them in a tote bag is a good idea bc the bag can hang on the inside of the cart
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Old 05-15-2011, 12:10 PM

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also forgot to mention.....write your name and phone number in sharpie on the inside of the binder in case you lose it. that way you can be contacted if found by an honest person that is.
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