How do you carry your coupons? Are you an envelope person? A coupon box gal? An expandable coupon envelope with tabs kind of guy? Or a binder girl?
Well, I have tried most of these methods myself and have to say I have found myself to be a Binder Girl! The binder has been the easiest, quickest way for me to locate and use a coupon while shopping at the store. Instead of thumbing through lots of coupons in the same little plastic space in the expandable envelope, I can flip through the pages and see what I have fairly quickly. Of course the speed of finding you coupons may depend on how you organize them in the binder. The building and organizing of the binder can make or break your opinion of these options.
That being said, I thought I would run through the basics of building and organizing a binder, plus a little info on the cost to get started. I bought the zippered binder that you see above at Office Depot. I bought this a couple of years ago after school started and got a really good deal. I paid around $5 on sale for this 2-inch zippered binder with a carrying strap. I feel that the carrying strap is a must for me. I have two boys who are often with me and I need my hands to be free when we are walking through the parking lot. I also like being able to swing it on my shoulder if I only have a couple of bags and don’t want to fool with a cart all the way to the car.
After purchasing my binder, I bought 2 packs of dividers with tabs. These cost me $1.00 each for the paper type if you want you could splurge and pay $3 for the plastic ones. I still have the original paper ones and they have worked fine. This is where you have to decide how many categories that you need. I have 12 currently and that usually stays pretty constant, with the exception of Christmas time when I add a toy category. You might need more or less depending on you preferences.
Meat and Canned Goods
Rice and Pasta
Paper Products and Cleaning
Personal Products and Makeup
Snacks and Condiments
Dog Food and Treats
Misc ( my catch-all category, batteries, bug spray etc.)
The next thing you will need to build the binder is some Photo and baseball card holders. The photo holders I find near the photo albums in Walmart. The photo pages typically run about $5-$6 for a pack of 10, I use these for the larger coupons and internet printables. They work great for this. The baseball card holders usually sell for around $6 for a pack of 25. These are great for the smaller coupons. I usually place mine back to back to maximize my sleeves. I have bought and used the baseball card holders from the Dollar Tree, these usually tear apart pretty quickly and I don’t recommend them.
I also have several zipper pockets on the outside and 2 web type pockets on the inside of the binder. I use the web pockets to carry all of my store coupon policies and my Walgreens monthly coupon booklet. I use the zipper pockets for pens, calculators and a small pair of kids scissors. The very front clear web pocket is ideal to put my coupons in as I shop and have them readily available to give to the cashier when I check out. I also usually keep a pen in there as well.
The total cost for this set up is approximately $30 to get started. From there it just depends on your preferences and how many photo and baseball holders you need. If you print a lot of internet coupons, I would recommend a few more photo holders, if not then go with the baseball sleeves.
Just remember, you will carry this with you all the time, so make it easy to use or like most things you won’t use it.