See that loveliness above??? That’s my version of “extreme couponing”. 99% savings at one store and 100% at a second. Total on all those items I spent $1.15. Want to learn how?? Well then pay attention because I will teach you, but not today because first you need to organize your new found coupons that we talked about yesterday. A place for everything and everything in it’s place. Its my motto in life as well as couponing. You can’t save big at the store without a plan and you can’t make your plan if you have a bunch of coupons stuffed in an envelope. Well, maybe you could, but you’d look like a fool and you don’t want that, do you???? I didn’t think so. So today, I will explain how I organize my coupons. I used to use a small accordion file when I first started, but that was when I was small-time, now I am more awesome so my coupons needed an upgrade.
Step one: get a binder
My first binder was a 2-in, then I traded up for a 3 in. It was just your traditional 3 ring binder, but I began to find it hard to carry that, the kids, my diaper bag, my chai and my reusable bags from the car to the store. Can you picture me with all that stuff?? It was a fricken riot. So I decided that I did not care if i looked like a nerd, I wanted a zippered binder with a strap. YES A STRAP. And it’s awesome. Dorky and ugly but awesome. Now I can zipper up and keep my coupons safe and have one less thing to hold.
Hideous, right?? Now if only Kate Spade would design a coupon binder I’d be all set. Until then I feel at peace knowing my coupons are safe and I got a smoking deal on this binder using a coupon stack at Target. Ok, so why the 3 ring binder?? Because you are going to fill it with baseball card holders at you can put your coupons in. This way, they are all separate and none are being lost in a stack in an envelope.
Here’s the inside of my binder. It actually had two sets of rings so I have food and non-food items separate. You can buy these binder sheets at Target fairly cheap. They are in that weird section of baseball and pokemon cards. You can also steal them from your kids, mine are two small for these cards though.
Step two: get your binder sheets and separate your binder into sections that make sense for YOU. As an example, I have fresh produce in one section, dairy in another, meat in a third, bread in a fourth. I combine pasta, sauces and rice in one because they are all in the same aisle in the store. I do the same with non-food items: soaps and body washes are together, cleaning products are on their own, laundry and dish washing to together. So separate them in a way that makes sense to you, clip your coupons and put your small stacks of the same coupons in one little sleeve. If you want me to tell you all my sections, as me on FB and I’ll message them to you. Watch for expiration dates, sometimes similar coupons will have different ex. dates so make sure you separate those so you don’t waste them!
Step three: clip, sort and file your coupons. Now that that is done you are almost ready to shop. I have added some extra things to my binder to help me plan my trips. In the front of my binder, I have a plastic sleeve for each store and some lined notebook paper. This way, when I plan my trips, I can place my coupons that I am going to use in the sleeve and write my list on the paper. This keeps all my stuff together so nothing gets lost in the craziness that is my life. My awesome binder also has a cool smaller front zippered section that I keep a small pair of scissors, pens, paper clips and a calculator, just in case. If you have a regular binder, you could use a pencil case that can attach to the rings of the binder.
Ok, so that’s about it. Now you have your coupons and have organized them in their proper places. Now when you plan your trip, they will all be easy to find and to grab. Tomorrow I will teach you how to PLAN your shopping trip, because shopping like this does take some planning. I’m a planner by nature, so I don’t mind. Plus saving money is part of my job description. I also like getting crap for free. 🙂
Check out the other posts in this series: