When I first started couponing I didn't have much of a stash. So I used a small accordion file that I kept in my car. I found a few from Target in the dollar bin, like the one below. I put different categories based on sections in the grocery store on the tabs and I would just throw my cut coupons in there. That worked for a little while, but when my collection of Q's started to grow it got a little annoying. It was a lot to search through when I was looking for something. Another major downside was that I would go through all of the inserts each Sunday and cut every Q I thought I might use and file it in the right category. That didn't last very long! But this is a great method if you are only going to use mail coupons and coupons you print online. Plus, this can be kept in your purse when you go grocery shopping.
I mostly put internet printables and Q's I get in the mail in the binder sheets. The only thing I do different now is I don't cut any Q's from the Sunday paper inserts. I keep those whole in a side pocket.
Before I go grocery shopping I look through my binder and grab Q's for anything I need. Then I go to We Use Coupon's coupon database to look for Q's for products I don't have one for. It will tell you the link if it's an internet printable and I print it. Or it will give you the name and date of the insert it is in if there is one. Then I pull out that insert cut the Q I need. You can use their database here. I put all of my Q's in an envelope with my grocery list on the front. I DO NOT take the binder with me in the store, but I do keep the binder in my car. This helps if I need to stop somewhere on the way home, or if I read about a great deal on one of the websites I follow I might go at lunch. So I always have access to the coupons I need. Not cutting the inserts saves a lot of time and energy. Collin, from Hip2Save, has a great video here about setting up a coupon binder.
The categories I use are:
- at the front I have a misc section that I put retail Q's (Old Navy, Gap, etc) or Q's for anything free so I see it right away
- produce (really anything that can be found near produce)
- condiments (salad dressing, bbq sauce, or anything near that section)
- dairy (really anything cold goes here)
- frozen (anything that can be found in freezers)
- grains (bread, pasta, etc)
- home items (cleaners, candles, etc)
- personal care items (toothpaste, soap, etc)
- cosmetics & hair care
- paper (tissues, toilet paper, ziplocs, etc)
Now here's my binder!
***I do not devote a lot of time to couponing, nor am I a crazy deal-seeker like you may have seen on TLC's show. But making the conscience effort to buy ahead when on sale, research the best deal, find a coupon, and use it has made a world of difference in our grocery bill. Even if it is just price-matching at Wal-Mart- it is totally worth the effort. I simply buy a Sunday paper every week, take the inserts out, and throw them in the binder. I follow Hip2Save and Totally Target on Twitter. So I get updates throughout the day when a new coupon becomes available online to print. I print coupons from company's Facebook pages, www.coupons.com, www.redplum.com, and tons of other sites. I just throw the ones I print into the binder and zip it up if I'm not using it right away. Then once a week I go through and cut and file them. Then I have everything nicely organized and visible for Sundays when I do my grocery shopping.
So what do you think? Have I persuaded anyone to shop with coupons yet? I would be more than happy to answer any questions about it!
Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!