Tag Archives: coupons

How I built my coupon binder

30 May

I’m not a pro but I’m pretty damn good.

Coupons have become a necessity in our house. With food prices constantly going up and no pay increases in our foreseeable future, we stretch every penny around here. I’ve been using coupons for the past few years and I’ve gotten quite skilled at using them to get the biggest bang for my buck. I never used to coupon match, but I have seen the error in my ways and now work hard to match coupons and sale items when at all possible.

A little over a year ago I wrote the Newbie’s Guild To Using Coupons, but since then I have stepped up my game a bit. I still wouldn’t put myself in the same class as the super couponers, but I save more than $5,000 a year and that’s nothing to sneeze at.

If you’ve been reading some of the things I put on Facebook and Twitter, you know that my husband lost my coupon binder a while back and it has not been recovered. It still saddens me to think of all those free and high dollar coupons I had in that old binder…But I digress. The loss of the original binder has sparked me to write this post. I guess the few of you who have been asking me to write another couponing tutorial should thank Bill for losing the book.

Spending a few dollars can save you thousands.

You will need a few inexpensive supplies to get started. Below you’ll see what I used:

  • 1″ three ring binder
  • A pack of 9 pocket pages (used for storing trading cards)
  • A zippered pencil case.

couponing, coupons, mommyland

Really, it’s an inexpensive thing to put together. My first binder was made almost entirely of supplies I had laying around the house.

Organization is the key.

I don’t use any of those special tabs to separate my coupons into sections. I found that when the binder is sitting in the seat of the cart the pages are harder to turn if you have those divider tabs in there. I have a very simple organizational structure to my binder…Are you ready to have your mind blown? The pages are in the order that I shop the store. I always start at the same end and work my way across. I just turn the pages as I move across the store. It really doesn’t get much simpler than that.

couponing, coupons, mommyland

Above is the inside of my binder. On the left you’ll see this week’s sale circular incase I need to reference something. At my store the shelf tags don’t always get changed in a timely manner and I like to double check with the circular if the shelf tag isn’t showing the price I think it should. On the right you can see the zippered pencil case, that is where I put all the coupons I’m using for this current shopping trip. I always make my list and pull my coupons out ahead of time, it’s always easier to do match ups in the comfort of your own home. I used to only bring the coupons I planned to use until I realized I can save even more money by bringing everything. Not every single item that is on sale is listed in the circular and I often had a coupon at home for something that was on sale and then I was missing the extra savings. As I’m doing my shopping, if I find another item I have a coupon for I put the coupon in the zippered pouch so I don’t lose it.

Is it cumbersome to bring a three ring binder to the grocery story? Absolutely! But I look at it as a small price to pay for the amount of money I save.

Every week, before I make my shopping list, I go through my binder and take out any expired coupons. Don’t throw them away though, save them for military families. There are places you can send your expired coupons that military families can use for up to six months after their expiration date.

Where to find coupons.

I have a few favorite spots to get coupons from. Always know your store’s coupon policy since some stores will not take coupons printed from the internet.

  • AllYou magazine offers a ton of great coupons. If you get the magazine it always has at least $40 worth of coupons you can clip as you read. Go online and there are even more printable coupons.
  • Smart Source is another great online source for coupons.
  • I also head over to Red Plum before making my weekly grocery trip.
  • I think one of my favorite places to go for printable grocery coupons is Coupons.com.
  • Don’t underestimate you local newspaper though. The Sunday paper usually pays for itself with the coupons you’ll find inside.
  • Also check your favorite brand’s Facebook page and website for more money saving offers.

Time.

I hear people say that they don’t have time to clip, organize and use coupons. About an hour out of my week saves me over $5,000 a year, so I’m saving almost $100 every time I sit down to clip and organize my coupons. $100 makes it more than worth it to me.

Do you use coupons? What do you do to keep them organized and ready to go? Do you have any other great sources for coupons? Please share your wisdom with the rest of us.

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