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Monday, March 15, 2010

My Journey to the Coupon Binder

Recently I made the switch to a coupon binder and I wanted to walk you through this journey. If you are unfamiliar with the different organization methods, please see my post on coupon organization.

OLD METHOD: I have been primarily using the insert-only method but kept an accordion file with coupons for my brand loyalty faves as well as printables.

ISSUES: Lately, I have been at a loss as to what to do with the multiple booklets, tearpads, binklies, and magazine coupons that I have. I was trying to keep them all in my accordion file but it was bursting at the seams. I was also overlooking coupons and not even realizing that I had them. There have also been a few cases where I was out and about and missed out on a really great deal because I didn't have some coupons with me. I also get irritated when I go to look for a coupon in an insert just to find that my area didn't receive it. ARRGGHH!

THEORY: I made up my mind to go to the full binder method, which would entail clipping every coupon each week. Now, I would have all my coupons with me at any given moment but I dreaded the time that it would take to clip and file all those Qs especially since I get more than 1 newspaper each week. Eek!

SUGGESTIONS: I put a little note on Facebook (I have the best fans) to get reader suggestions. My fellow blogger, Holly Syx, suggested that I use my binder for everything except the insert Qs since I do love the insert-only method and it has been working for me for a while. Another friend suggested that I print out a list of all the Qs that come in my inserts each week and attach it to the front. From that list, I can mark out the ones that I didn't get and cross off Qs that I have already clipped and used. Genius! You can print a list from Sunday Coupon Preview.

SUPPLIES: I headed to Office Max to purchase what I would need. I was kinda sticker shocked at the cost of the supplies. Remember, I am not used to paying full price AT ALL! It cost me roughly $30 to get these items. I bought a binder, alphabet tabs, baseball card holders, a pocket folder, and another type of plastic holder to hold the larger and longer printable Qs.
ROAD BLOCKS: I quickly realized that my 1" binder was not going to be quite big enough. I really wanted a cutesie binder but they don't make them in the bigger sizes. The zipper ones seemed functional enough but they were NOT attractive and VERY costly. Maybe I'll work up to that. I did go back and exchange my binder for a 1.5" and plan to get a cute piece of scrapbook paper to stick in the front. There was also the time and effort it took to get the binder together. At one point my living room looked like this.
PROS & CONS: I have only been using my binder for a few days so this may or may not be objective.

  • I really like that they are now alphabetized rather than categorized. It makes more sense, I think.
  • The coupons seem much easier to find and there is more room for extras.
  • The new method seems to have given me a fresh start and new outlook. I was kinda getting to the blah stage of couponing (Trust me. You will cross that point sooner or later).
  • I'm an extreme type A personality and having to FOLD the coupons to fit into their slot just plains bothers me.
  • The binder is big and bulky and I can't just toss it into my purse.
  • Shopping with a binder causes other people to glance (stare) your way in the grocery store.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I'm going to stick with it for a little while and I'll report back with an update. At this point, I have spent enough money that I am determined to use the thing out of spite! =) I do honestly think it will be a better method for me. It just might take some getting used to.

Did you have a similar reaction when you switched to the binder? What is your favorite coupon organization method?




Anonymous said...

wonder if Hobby Lobby scrapbook aisle would have some of the supplies - I need to figure out a different way too. Hopefully someone will have some ideas

Jennifer said...

I switched to a binder because I was missing some of the deals due to not being able to find my coupons.

I did a binder with baseball card sleeves and organized by product (baby, paper goods, canned goods, etc.). I opted for categories because I could skim my baby goods pages while in the baby aisle of the store. I've been reminded of some good coupons I have just by seeing them on the item page in my binder.

I had a hard time folding coupons too. My personality requires my coupns to be NEAT, but now I'm okay with the folding. It took me a month or so to get to that point.

As for others staring, I've made mine a bit less obvious by putting it binding side down in the cart. Then I can kind of flip through it like files in a filing cabinet to find what I need. I don't have to pull the whole thing out that way.

I like the binder method a lot better than the old container I had. Hopefully you'll find that it gets you more deals!

April E said...

Okay -- so a month later are you still liking the binder method? I am to the point that the inserts are driving me bonkers...so, I am thinking about switching.

Staci said...

April - I really have embraced the binder and I do love it. I still save my inserts but I have also got into a habit of cutting a bit more since I have extra room. I also print out a list each week of the coupons that were in my insert and staple it to the front. If I do have to go back for one, I can verify that I actually received it before flipping through. Another thing I do is combine my inserts (I get 2 papers each week). I line up the pages and clip 2 at a time. I do all of the pages that way and put them inside the main outer wrapper. This also saves time if I have to go back for one later on.

I fought the binder for a long time but I'm really happy that I FINALLY made the switch. Coupons are easier to find and I feel like I don't overlook them anymore. The initial set up is what takes the longest. I haven't really noticed a time increase on a week-to-week basis!

Let me know what you decide.

Anonymous said...

Very enlightening and beneficial to someone whose been out of the circuit for a long time.

- Kris