Coupon Organization – Binder System

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I know many of you are still fairly new to couponing, so I wanted to give you some tips on how to organize your coupons.  There are a variety of different methods & ultimately you have to find what will work best for you.  So, I will be presenting a few different options & you can try them out & decide which one is the best fit & most efficient for you.

The first method is the Binder System.  This system is really the best method for staying organized & keeping track of all of your coupons, which then will maximize your savings at the grocery & drug stores.  You can easily flip thru your coupons in the binder when you’re at the store & then be able to use coupons when you find unadvertised sales or clearance deals.  However, it does take more time to set up & keep up a binder system.

My friend Dawn is a good friend from my high school days & seriously one of the most organized people I know.  She just started couponing about a year ago & has an amazing organizational system in place.  I thought she would be the perfect person to show us pictures of her binder & how she organizes it all.

Features of Dawn’s Coupon Binder:

  • 2 inch binder with a zipper all around (hers is a Case-It binder that she found at Office Max during the School Supplies clearance sales. She paid around $7-it was normally $14)
  • Carry strap –  so she can throw it over her shoulder
  • Plastic dividers with pockets – she noted that if you don’t buy the ones with plastic dividers, the dividers won’t stick out far enough to see past the baseball card sheets
  • Baseball card pages to put her coupons in – she found these at Walmart near the registers in the baseball/trading card section. They were around $5 for $50 & she bought 2 packages to store all of her coupons.
  • Binder categories are all arranged alphabetically in the binder
  • Expiration date of all the coupons on the front & circles it so she can easily flip thru & see which coupons are expiring soon
  • Stock-up Price List – she keeps a list in the front of a stock-up price for various products. (Check out this example of a stock-up price list from Happy Money Saver).

Binder Categories:

  • Baby
  • Baking
  • Beverages
  • Breakfast
  • Bread
  • Canned
  • Cereal
  • Cleaning
  • Condiments
  • Dairy
  • Frozen
  • Home Fragrance
  • Hygeine
  • Meat
  • Medicine
  • Miscellaneous
  • Paper
  • Pasta / Rice
  • Restaurants
  • Retail
  • Snacks

She does have a few of these categories sub-divided further:

Dairy: yogurt, cheese, other

Frozen: Pizza, Entrees, Chicken Nuggets, Veggies, Sweets, Miscellaneous

Hygiene: Toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss/whitening strips, deodorant, razors/shave gel, body wash

Paper Products: Toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, plastic bags (Ziploc), Miscellaneous (tinfoil, saran wrap, etc)

Dawn estimates that it takes her about an hour once a week (Sunday evenings) to go thru & cut out all the coupons that she thinks they will use, throw out any expired coupons, & file the new coupons away.  The biggest time investment was putting the whole binder together, but once it’s together, it doesn’t take her long at all to cut & file her coupons.

The biggest advantage to using the binder system according to Dawn:

I LOVE the binder system because when I am grocery shopping, I can lay it open on the top part of the cart & it stays that way. I can just flip through it as I go.  When there is a coupon I am going to use on my purchase,  I pull it out & put it in the front mesh pocket (where my price list is).  When I’m done shopping, I have all the coupons I’m going  to use right there together at checkout.  I seriously cannot imagine any other sort of coupon organization being nearly as efficient, at least for me.  It is so wonderful being able to see all of the coupons with just the flip of a page.

I have to say that although I did try the binder system for a few months last year, I ended up not sticking with it because it felt like too much time to cut out all the coupons & then file them away. However, I have definitely missed out on opportunities when I wished I had all the coupons with me for great clearance  finds or other deals I’ve found in the stores. So, I’ve definitely been debating going back to this method. Soon I’ll be featuring the method that I currently use to organize my coupons.

Tell us – what is your favorite method for organizing your coupons?  Have you ever tried the Binder system & what did you think?

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18 Comments

  1. I also use the bider method! However Dawn is WAY more organized than I am! I love the binder method, but I do get “looks” at the stores that I go to. Oh well, I’m the one saving TONS of money and they’re paying full price.

  2. I use a recipe card box with little dividers. I categorize them similar to Dawn’s. I’ve been couponing for 14+ years and this is the ONE organizational thing I’ve stuck with. I weed out expired coupons 2x a month. While I’m at the store I pull out the ones I’ll use and file them in the back in a section marked ‘today’. I usually save about $20 per shopping trip.

  3. Thanks for this I just started in the whole coupon game and have been procrasination how to start for one reason not knowing how to organize. Last time I tried the coupon game I stopped because I didn’t know the best way to organize so this looks like a great start! I have a question what are you referring to when you say Stock-up Price List? I can assume from stock-up this is the stuff you usually buy but can you elaborate on it.

    Thanks

  4. Kandi – Happy Moneysaver has a stock-up price list that you can find here: https://happymoneysaver.com/my-stock-up-prices. Basically just a list of what she will pay for various food & household items – when she knows it’s a great deal & really needs to stock-up.

    You can also make one yourself by keeping a “price book” for a few weeks/few months – keep track of the prices each week for all of the items you regularly buy. Then, you can see how low the prices could go & stock-up when you find it’s the lowest price in your area. Products typically go on sale every 2-3 mos, so by keeping a price book for a few mos, you’ll be able to see how low the items go during the sales.

  5. I’m anxious to learn about your system, Jen!

    I tried the binder and loved it, but I just couldn’t keep up with it. Once I got behind a couple weeks the stack I had to cut just overwhelmed me, so I went back to filing all my inserts by date.
    I write the date in sharpie on the front covers, and right now I actually have them all in a drawer in the kitchen!

    I’ll be the first to admit this isn’t the best, though, so I’d love to know if there is a system somewhere in between the binder and filing by date.

  6. I have a very similar binder, but 3″ and it’s organized well with dividers and categories. I probably spend about an hour each week, 90 minutes on heavy weeks clipping coupons and filing them away and discarding expired ones. One tip I will take away from this post is writing the expiration date on the front of the coupon for easier identification! That is simply brilliant.

  7. Please don’t throw away EXPIRED COUPONS! The Overseas Coupon Program accepts them because overseas military members can use coupons for up to 6 months after they expire. They can be reached at: http://www.ocpnet.org. It’s a great way to support these folks and use the Qs we spend so much time searching for, printing, and clipping, We think of it as another way to pay it forward!

  8. I use the binder method as taught to me from my daughter. It is perfect. I get lots of questions and comments about it from other shoppers, too. Takes such a short amount of time to get it set up and sorted each week, Just don’t let it get behind you.

  9. I am really interested to hear about other ways to file coupons. I am using a coupon file, but am looking for something other than the binder.

    I don’t understand the insert way to coupon. How do you match sales with the coupons? Do you look through them each time you go shopping?

  10. I love the binder system, and couldn’t even think of any other way for me personally. I truely realized how easy it was when checking out today and saw a carton of juice my mom was buying and knew I had a coupon for it. A quick flip to the beverage section and poof, $1.00 off! There are also some great videos on you tube too on how to set up the binder system.

  11. With the binder method, how do you find the coupon when the Blogs tell you what source i.e. Smart Source, Red Plum, etc. and the date?

    I really like the idea because yesterday I found Biore strips on clearance and didn’t have my coupons in a binder to get the additional $1 off from a coupon I knew was out there!

  12. I love the binder system. I only clip coupons I know that I’ll use and put them in. The rest I store in a file box. I also use pencil pouches in my binder. (Those pouches we send to school with our kids, the kind with 3 holes that fit in my binder.) When I go through the sales for a store, before I go, I put all the coupons I know I’ll need in my pouch. They are separated out and I know what I need to get without buying things I don’t need.

  13. So I have been using the binder method. I love LOVE to stay organized. I also keep a meshed zipper pouch in the front with my calculator, some small scissors and pens. But I’m running into problems. I have so many coupons, I literally can’t fit them into my 3″ binder. I got a second binder and put all of my HBA coupons in it, but I just hate it. I don’t want to lug two 3″ binders to go shopping. Has anyone run into this problem? I’m really curious to see if there is another effective way to organize coupons.

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