Last year I shared my coupon organization binder over at Ask Anna. In case you missed it over there, I am re-posting it here. I am in the process of updating my coupon binder, so look for that post soon. I will also be sharing how I meal plan and my recipe binder. Couponing, meal planning and having organized recipes all go hand in hand for me.
There are many different ways to organize, clip and sort coupons. This is the system that I have found works best for me to easily access coupons as I need them. I typically grocery shop once a week at two different grocery stores. I try to match up the sales with my coupons to get the best deals possible!
This system takes a little bit of time to set up, but really can save you a lot of money because you can actually see and access all your coupons! I clip coupons once a week on Sunday, when I get my Sunday paper. Usually once a month (around the 1st) I go through my binder and pull out expired coupons.
I store all of my clipped coupons in a binder. You have probably seen binders like this before. Today, I will show you how to set yours up to customize it to work for you and how you shop!
- Heavy Duty 3-Ring Binder (preferably with a zipper and interior pockets, but any binder will work)
- Pocket Dividers
- Baseball Card Page Protectors
- Post-it Tabs
- Sharpie or permanent marker (or label maker)
Step One: Add pocket dividers to create main categories.
I like to use pocket dividers because I can place clipped coupons, recipes or anything else I need in the pockets if I don’t have time to file them right away. The main thing you want to look for when choosing dividers is to be sure they will stick out beyond your baseball card page protectors. This way, you will be able to see the category names easily!
Now, it is time to think of how you would like to set up your main categories of your binder. For me, my main categories are:
- Personal Care
For you, your categories could be much different. If you don’t have children or pets, you would not need to include these categories because you won’t clip these types of coupons.
Step Two: Create subcategories using removable post it tabs.
Once you have your main categories figured out, place some of your baseball card page protectors into your binder behind each category. Use your removable post it tabs to label each sub-category. (This step is not completely necessary, but will save you time in the long run. You could also buy 8 or 10 tab pocket dividers and use those to divide your coupons in more categories than just five.)
I have tweaked these categories over the years to make this system work the best for me and you should do the same with your binder. There may be categories I have listed that don’t apply to you, and obviously you would not need to include those. You may want to divide yours more or less than I do. I separate a lot of my items that could be lumped under one common category (‘dairy’ or ‘frozen’, for example). This works better for me to easily find my coupons.
*See the bottom of this post for specific sub-categories I have in my binder.
I keep ALL coupons I have in my binder. This includes restaurant and retail coupons. Unless I am meal planning or clipping coupons, I leave my binder in my car. That way, I don’t end up getting somewhere and realizing I left a coupon at home!
Having a zippered binder is great because your coupons won’t just fall out. (Or, if you have a two year old like I do, you won’t have as many coupon catastrophes!) The front of my binder has a small zippered pouch which holds my calculator. I also have another zippered section to hold my scissors.
This flap opens up to a pencil/pen holder and clear pocket. I use the clear pocket for ‘dollar off’ coupons, such as a Walgreen’s register rewards, that I need to remember to use before they expire.
On the left side of my binder, I have four pockets that are part of the binder itself. I use these for organizing miscellaneous coupons and inserts from the paper – grocery store inserts, retail store inserts, craft store inserts/coupons, and restaurant coupons.
In the back part of my binder I have a plastic Velcro close pocket. In here I keep all other coupons – auto, events, etc. Usually these come from ValPak or Money in the Mail.
Behind the pink Velcro pouch I keep a couple of information sheets on the best stock-pile prices and a store map of my local Fry’s (this was available at Christmas-time).
The three ring section pulls out completely from my binder. Behind it I store extra baseball card sleeves. (I have found these baseball card holders at multiple places. You can often find them with the trading cards at places like Walmart. I have also occasionally even found them at Dollar Tree).
There are other options for storing your coupons.
- You can save the coupon inserts and not clip any coupons until you need them. It works best to store them in vertical hanging file folders. You want to label the insert with the date you found it in the paper because this is how most coupon websites will show you where the coupon can be found.
- You can also use a small or large accordion file to organize your clipped coupons. I used this system before I started clipping a large amount of coupons.
- Bottled/Jar (Basically anything that comes in a bottle, jar or can – pasta sauce, salsa, peanut butter, etc.)
- Boxed (Things like pasta, Hamburger Helper, rice, etc.)
- Refrigerated Rolls/Bread
- Cheese/Sour Cream
- Freezer Bread/Rolls
- Frozen Snacks
- Frozen Meals
- TV Dinners
- Frozen Fruits and Veggies
- Produce/Bakery Items
- Personal Care
- Man Soap (this includes all coupons for male grooming/bathing products – we call Men’s body wash ‘Man Soap’ in our house to my 5 year old son, and this is how the category came about)
- Body Wash
- Face (washes and lotions)
- Paper Products
- Baby Kids
- Personal Care
Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. You can find products I recommend in my Amazon store. Making a purchase using my links doesn’t cost you anything extra, but earns me a commission that helps keep this blog running. Thank you for supporting Laura’s Crafty Life!