Apr 292010
 

It’s that time again…time to make the meal plan, grocery list and do the shopping.  I am so glad to have a new tool at my disposal to help with this!

If you missed the original post in the series, you can catch up here, but you don’t need to.

In the original post, I shared my coupon system and mentioned that one day I might upgrade to a binder system.  Well, I finally caved and invested in a binder to keep track of my coupons.

Wally - the binder model

You might already be doing this, if so keep reading and share your insights at the end.  If not, maybe this is something that will help speed up a necessary, but often time-consuming task.  Here’s a quick run-down for you:

Materials needed ~

Nylon binder – I chose classic black :) – Target $9.99

Dividers – 3 sets of 8-tab multi-colored dividers – Target – $2 each set

Baseball trading card protector sheets – 2 packs of 35 – Walmart –  $5.99 each

Initial cost – about $30 with tax.  I made that back on my first shopping trip with the binder!

The Assembly ~

Start by inserting your dividers and labeling them however it makes sense to YOU.  Some people like to label them according to the layout of the grocery store.  I do that, in a way, but I alphabetize them.  Here are the categories I have in my notebook now.

BABY     BAGS & WRAPS     BAKING     BEVERAGES     BREAD     BREAKFAST     CANNED     CLEANERS     CONDIMENTS     DAIRY     FROZEN     HOUSEHOLD     HYGIENE     MEAT     PAPER     PETS     PRODUCE     SNACKS     STAPLES

You may have additional categories and you may not need some of these.  Before long, I won’t need the Baby category :(  Not that I will be sad to say goodbye to diapers :)

In the front, I have a protector sheet for each of the stores I frequent most for their store coupons and an extra sheet for miscellaneous stores.  It seems like a lot, but once you use it a few times, you can quickly flip to the spot you’re looking for.

As far as the coupons, the idea is to put one coupon in each slot – that way you can see it at first glance – no rummaging through a stack of them trying to find what you need.  If I have multiples of the same coupon, I do put those together.

Other benefits ~

The outside pocket has an accordian file that I use to store rebate forms,

receipts, sale ads and coupons to be cut and/or filed.

No more piles on my desk!

There’s a handy zipper pouch on the outside for lists.

On the inside there’s more pockets  – I love pockets, don’t you!? – for pens, scissors, and more.

You could even stash your phone and money and not have to lug your purse through the store.

I have fallen into the habit of clipping and filing coupons every other week, in between grocery trips.  It doesn’t take long to file them, but where I really save time is in the store.  If I forgot to put something on my list or come across a store special or clearance, I can quickly flip and find out if I have a coupon.

As I go through the store, I pull out the coupons I need and stick them in one of the little pockets.  Then I hand my neat little stack to the cashier.

About once a month, I go through and pull out all the expired coupons – lickety-split!

I would definitely recommend this system to anyone who looking to get into the coupon game or to make couponing a little easier. And that is coming from someone who said she wouldn’t be caught toting a binder around the store :)

Your turn ~ Do you use coupons?  Do you use a coupon binder? What are your tips?

  5 Responses to “What’s for dinner? – an update – the coupon binder”

  1. You are so smart! What a great tutorial and a sweet model of a kitty. I would have never thought of using a binder. I like your habit of clipping and filing every other week.

  2. Kerri, I love your model also. The whole idea of using coupons sort of overwhelms me, but this system actually looks doable. Thank you for the step by step instructions! :)

  3. Very, very nice Kerri!! Thanks for such great tips!

  4. Hi!

    I have been looking for the binder you have. Love all the pockets and the outside accordion file! You mentioned you bought it at Target. Do you happen to remember the brand/name of it?

    I didn’t see it at Target and want to try to search for it online.

    Thanks!

  5. I love my coupon binder. It simplifies things! Some stores’ websites offer a store layout that lists products and the aisles they can be found in as well. When I make up my grocery list, I put the aisle number beside each item. Wow! I am in and out of the store in record time! Also, I have mini photo albums for each store. I put the coupons I am using that day in the individual albums. For me, it is less to carry and can be easily slipped into my purse. I often take the binder as well, but keep it in the van just in case.

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