How to Make a Coupon Organizer Binder.
DIY coupon organizer, instructions, printables, and pictures of what’s needed for a coupon binder.
You might be this person: You’ve used coupons for awhile now. You’ve noticed you definitely save money. And you want to get serious.
Or you might be this person: you’re just starting out, but want to dive in head first.
Either way, I have the same advice for you both. Great couponing and saving starts with organization.
First of all, you should know I coupon. And the binder may make you think I’m one of those crazy coupon people on Extreme Coupons (do they still do that show?). But I’m not. I spend maybe- tops- 2 hours a week on coupons and couponing apps. And I save about $2,000 a year. Yep, seriously. But it’s because I’m organized. That’s where a coupon organizing binder comes in.
I felt so self-conscious the first time I walked in the grocery store with it. But I quickly got over it. Because people kept stopping me asking questions about how to use coupons! And how much did I save? And how much time did I spend on it? And I realized I had a wealth of knowledge to share.
Below I’m going to go through my binder section by section with information and how I use it. At the very end, I have a summary with links to every item in my binder so you can easily find exactly what I use. There are also free printables to help you with shopping.
If you’re looking to save more money on groceries, check out Free Printable Recipe Cost Worksheets. They’ll help you find out which recipes are cheap to make…and which are draining your bank account.
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What You Need for Coupon Organizer Binder
• A zipper binder. Here’s a picture of mine. Note the fact it is a zipper binder. I’ve dropped it more than once, and been very glad it was zipped. I’ve also dropped it once when I hadn’t zipped it up. Luckily I only lost about 20 or so out of it…but was still a pain to re-file. Also note the size.
• Accessories. Find a spot (and keep them in the same place) for scissors, pen, pencil, calculator, and highlighter at a minimum. If you have a calculator on your phone, you can skip that. Mine is still in there just because I haven’t gotten around to tossing it.
You can also see the corner of the “Kitsap County” savings book sticking out. It doesn’t really fit anywhere else. And since it’s right in the front, it’s easy to find when I need it.
• Clear inserts with 3 pockets. When you first open my binder, I have retail coupons on the top. I get quite a variety, such as some from Bath & Body Works, Staples, etc. I just keep them in the front, sorted by expiration date.
• Below that is a sleeve that for those that are expiring soon. I- you can do it differently- I have two labeled flaps. One for “expiring soon- might use” and “expiring soon- must use.” The latter is for items that I buy regularly and definitely want to grab one and use the coupon!
• Underneath that you can catch a glimpse of my price comparison chart. I check the local grocery stores for the regular price of items I buy regularly. Not everything…just stuff that I buy often. That way, when I see a sale, I can check and see whether it’s actually a good price…or they’re just featuring the product.
• Binder pocket. I have a poly binder pocket that closes with Velcro. This allows me to clip coupons whenever I have a second. Then I just throw them in here until I’m ready to sort. As I’m busy, this is an excellent way to maximize my time.
• Dividers with pockets. I use dividers with pockets for different stores. Having the pocket/flap on the divider allows me to slip in any extra paperwork or circulars. The stores I shop at are: Commissary, Wal-Mart, Food Lion, Drug Stores, and Misc.
Behind each divider is two clear insert sheets:
- One for specific coupons for those stores.
- And the second is for putting coupons I intend to use that week. I put the ones I intend to use on the bottom. As I’m in the store, and pick up the products, I place them in the top compartment. That way when I get to the checkout, they’re together and I don’t have to pick out ones that I ended up not using.
• Here is my drug store section. As you can see, I have the circular and my extra CVS bucks in the flap. You can also see the coupon price and savings tracker that I use. It has multiple columns to allows for you to “stack” multiple deals. Below that is another clear plastic insert (with three pockets) for coupons (you can’t see that, but it’s there).
• Clear plastic sleeves with three pockets. And behind everything is my coupons.
Whew! Okay, that’s everything you’ve need.
Coupon Binder Categories List
Now, sort all your coupons. The first thing to do is pick your categories. Some people use fewer, some more. I personally use:
- Refrigerated/ Cooler
- Cereal & other breakfast
- Soups, stews, & broths
- Boxed, canned, shelved items
- Desserts, including candy
- Paper products (such as toilet paper, paper towels)
- Cleaning & household
- Candles, batteries, ziploc, misc.
- Office Supplies
Just putting together your binder isn’t enough. And clipping coupons and sorting them isn’t enough. You have to actually USE those coupons! That’s where my system comes in.
Once a week you’re going to dedicate an hour or so to your coupon organizer binder.
Once you have your coupons organized, the trick is to make sure you use the ones you want and toss the ones you don’t.
I clip coupons once a week and add them to the appropriate section. Coupons are organized by expiration date.
After a few weeks, you should get a good idea of what you have.
I also go through circulars once a week and look for any great sales. I make my menu and grocery list around what is on sale (or what is already in the house). I have some Free Printable Meal Planners & Grocery Lists you might be interested in.
Finally, EVERY SINGLE WEEK, I pull out every coupon that is going to expire in the next 14 days. I put them in a separate pile and go through them. Is there anything I absolutely want to buy? (Because I use it often, know I am going to use it soon, etc.). I make sure it gets put on my grocery list and use the coupon.
Repeat the above steps indefinitely. Watch the savings pile up.
What to Buy to Make Your Own Coupon Organizer Binder
Here are links to absolutely everything (including the binder).
Free printables to save money on groceries
If you’re stacking coupons and sales (which I highly suggest whenever possible), this free printable is great for organizing the details.
This will make sure you’re matching up the same size (for example) and know that both the sale and coupon match. (I hate getting to the register with a sale item and then finding out it’s the other size that the coupon works for.)
If you shop at multiple stores, I highly recommend using this free printable price comparison chart.
I don’t check everything I buy. Usually just the top 10 to 15 (cost-wise) items. Even if you just checked meat, you could easily save $1 a pound by shopping around. That adds up FAST.
For expensive items, make sure you use this free printable stock-up price chart.
For example, let’s say ground beef goes on sale about every 8 weeks. So you know that $3.99 is a great price. When it hits your “stock-up price” (in this case, $3.99), grab enough for the next couple of months. If you save just $1.00 a week, that $52 a year. On just one single item on your grocery list.
Do you have couponing info to share?
I’m always looking for new couponing apps or better ways to save money. Do you have something to share? If so, please comment below!
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