The tote I just picked up at my local thrift store for $1. I store and carry my coupon binder in it.
When I first started using coupons, I had a small accordion style file binder. My coupons quickly overtook it and I had to upgrade to a binder with baseball card inserts. I found a binder laying around from when I was in college. I think I bought it at Phar-mor. (Who remembers Phar-mor? Oh, I loved that store. Phar-mor and HILLS!!) I bought the baseball card inserts at Target in the baseball card section, which at my store, is located near the registers.
Your first objective for putting your binder together should be to put your contact information somewhere on the inside cover. You don’t know how many times I almost left my binder in a store shopping cart Hopefully if you do leave your binder behind, a kind person will turn it into the store’s service desk and then store personnel can contact you about it.
Next you will want to cut and organize your coupons in the baseball card inserts in a way that makes sense to you. I reserve the first couple pages for coupons I plan on using within a week’s time. I group the coupons by the stores that I am going to be redeeming them at. The rest of my binder is organized by how my favorite grocery store is laid out. Cereal and snack food items are the first products I see when I step inside so it makes sense for me to have cereal coupons in my first couple inserts, chips and snacks in the next and so on.
If you are really organized, you can make tabs that indicate where each type of coupon is in your binder. Categories could include, frozen foods, baby products, laundry detergents, just to name a few. Collin at Hip2save has some excellent printable materials for your binder found here.
A few other items you may want to purchase for your coupon binder include a pencil pouch and pocket sleeves. I use the pencil pouch to store a pencil, a pair of scissors, register rewards, shopping lists and other miscellaneous items. Sometimes when I do not want to tote my binder into a store, I will just throw the coupons I plan on using in the pouch and take that with me instead. I use pocket sleeves to preserve store coupon polices, coupon inserts I have yet to cut and file, and coupons that are over-sized. You will find that some coupons are just too big to fit down inside an insert slot.
A pencil pouch and pocket sleeve
As mentioned above, when you first start using coupons, to help build your confidence, you may want to print store coupon polices and carry them with you in your binder. Occasionally, you will run into bumps in the road, where a cashier or even a manager is unsure of his/her coupon policy. Being equipped with the policy can help you smooth out any issues you have at times. Remember that store coupon policies update periodically, so make sure you have the latest version.
Here is the final product
If you are interested in more ideas for a coupon binder, check out Jen’s post on cutting and organizing your coupons found here.
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