Coupon binder

Thanks to Crista, I'm slowly getting the hang of this couponing thing. I don't plan to ever be on any of those crazy Coupon Queen shows or anything like that but if I can free up a few bucks from our food budget and establish a basic level of preparedness in the process, I'm good with that.

One of the things I've been working on this week, as I slowly build my coupon stash, is a coupon binder. I love binders and I love being organized. Letting me loose in an office-supply store is a dangerous thing. In the past, my coupons were in one of those coupon wallets and, while it was organized to a certain extent, it didn't quite work for me. Then I saw someone with a coupon binder and THAT made sense to me! The woman I saw had a zippered binder with sections for things like dairy, meat, canned foods, dry goods, toiletries/household items, produce, frozen foods, etc. And she used baseball card holders/inserts to hold her coupons. INGENIOUS! So I've been scoping out Target and Wal-Mart and the PX for them and then found a sale on Amazon with a price I couldn't beat. Add to it free shipping (yay Amazon Prime!) and it was a go! The sale is over but the card holder/pages I bought came today:

I can't wait to sit down later today and get everything organized. I just need to print up labels for my dividers. I'm not particularly crafty so my dividers are just that - nothing fancy or scrapbook-y about them. But they ARE in rainbow order so that soothes my OCD soul. I'll post a picture of this thing when I'm done with it. I don't want it to be massive - the woman whose binder I scoped out had a massive one. I don't want to have to put it in a backpack so I can carry it. I just want something that holds my small stash of coupons.

What other tricks do you have for staying organized when it comes to your coupons? How do you track what items you're planning to buy at the store when you go?


- hfs


Anonymous said...

Sounds like you are making progress!! YAY!! My binder is only 1.5" and it serves my needs just fine, especially since I don't clip ALL coupons. I only clip coupons for products we use.

I keep a running grocery list. When I decide it's time for a store run, either because we need some things or because there's a good sale I want to hit, I fine tune my list, go through my coupons to see what I have, go through the sale lists for the commissary and Safeway to see what deals I can find, and if I don't have coupons in my binder for things on my list then I check my unclipped coupons to see what I can find there.

When I clip coupons, I do it this way: I clip only for products we use. I then make a Word document of the unclipped ones to include product, price on the coupon, and expiration date. I keep the Word document in a page protector in my binder in chronological order and I keep the unclipped coupons in a small file box in my office area (unclipped coupons filed by date).

Every weekend when I clip coupons, or whenever I get around to it, I sort out expired coupons from my binder and I go through the Word documents and cross off the expired ones. When a stack of unclipped has nothing left that's redeemable, I pull it from my file box. I hand off my expired coupons to any number of local ladies who then clip, sort, and ship overseas to other military families that can use them for 6 months after the expiration date.

Keep on keeping on!! It takes time to see the real savings but I enjoy the challenge of it, I enjoy the soothing sight of my stockpile, I enjoy the OCDness of the stockpile and the coupons...yeah, I'm weird. lol

Btw, stocked up on laundry detergent this week. Cost me just under $12 for detergent that will last me through at least May. I stocked up last May and that lasted through August. The August stock up lasted until just this month...I had one bottle left in my stockpile when I stocked up early in the week.

Happy couponing!!!

Mary said...

Jumping off the comment above, as I am on my own, I use coupons only for what I need and only if they will make the product cost less :)

That said -

I share cat food/snack coupons with a friend who is involved with a program that humanely traps feral cats, then spays/neuters them before release (they are usually not candidates for adoption due to socialization issues)

The San Francisco SPCA used to have a program where I could send dog/cat coupons and they would be shared; that program was discontinued, but a local shelter or rescue group might use them

Is there a "coupon club" on base? I tried setting one up here, but it didn't work :( Coupons someone doesn't use could be used by others.

I like the challenge of using coupons to see how much I can reduce my net cost :)

Crista said...

Not sure why my first one showed up as "anonymous".

Homefront Six said...

Crista ~ I thought about a Word doc and may still go that way. For now, they are all sitting pretty in their baseball card sleeves :) I'm still using my excel sheet to track prices here until I get a good feel for what is a good price/great price/don't pass it up price. I need to print that out and put it in the binder as well.

Mary ~ there is not a coupon club that I know of. I need to check with the library and see if they have a way of exchanging coupons. The library at either Rucker or Campbell (or Alaska? eesh) had a box on the circulation desk with coupons filed in alphabetical order. It was a take one/give one honor system - bring in the coupons you didn't need, file them, and then take the same (or fewer) amount of ones you do need. It was great.

I'm getting the hang of "stacking". In fact, I should be able to score some good deals at Target tomorrow. The paper this AM was stocked FULL of inserts - 4 or 5 of them! I only clip for things I know we'll use, unless they are free and I know where I can donate them. In Hawaii, our church had a foodbank so even if it wasn't something my family would use, I'd buy things with coupons if I could get a great deal on them and then donate them.

Mom5Kids said...

Frankly most coupons don't work for my family, but Safeway has coupons and personalized prices that they send via e-mail once a week or more. I just click here and there and load my Safeway card up with savings, print the list, and go shopping. Sometimes the deals are super like free eggs or $3 off of $10+ of produce.

I hope you find a system that really works for you, the savings can be amazing!

Homefront Six said...

M5K ~ I MISS Safeway. Sometimes, their deals beat the commissary. We have cut way back on the amount of processed food we buy (and we'll cut back even more once we get our little garden up and growing in the spring) so a lot of coupons don't work for us either. But some do. Which is why my coupon binder (I need to take pictures if I could find the camera!) is not even and inch thick :) But we have a decent stockpile, given the fact that we've only been here 4 months.

Miss you! We'll be out your way in a few months for a visit - we WILL get together!

Anonymous said...

I'm emailing you a document that is stock up prices. Now, this doesn't mean I don't shop if I can't get prices this low. We all have our price points. For example, I prefer my laundry soap well below $1.50 for a 32 load bottle. Heck, last May I got my laundry soap for $0.78 for a 33 load bottle!! Last week I paid $1.24. Paper towels, I buy the good stuff and I'm happy if I get them for $0.75/roll. TP around $0.55/roll. Canned soups for cooking/casseroles (so cream of whatever), $0.50/can is my "what a deal!" point.

You just have to learn what is a deal in your area and some people will be better at it than you. As long as it works for YOU that is all that matters.

Target is my FAVORITE place to stack!! Holy heck I get some good deals there. And I got their debit card so I get 5% off every time I shop there. It's not a credit card...comes straight from the checking account...but that 5% off almost offsets the taxes here so I love it. And got a second card for dh to use at Leavenworth/The Legends. He's turned into a Target addict, too. lol


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