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?