Last year when I really started getting into couponing, I thought having a coupon binder was essential. After about three months of clipping coupons and maintaining my binder, I decided to stop.
What is the binder?
The coupon binder is simply a large 3-ring binder with dividers and baseball card sheets, used to sort coupons. I divided my binder into various categories in order to keep everything as organized as possible.
Why it worked:
- It was a super organized way to keep track of coupons. I had 30+ divider tabs in my binder, so everything was always where I expected it to be.
- I could visualize what I had a coupon for. While clipping, seeing the images on the coupons helped with creating a “database” in my head for what I did/didn’t have coupons for.
Why it didn’t work:
- It was too damn big. It was a 4″ binder, with almost every single baseball card slot filled. Imagine lugging this huge thing around to stores… keeping this thing open and handy isn’t the easiest task while trying to shop. It never stayed balanced on the top of the child’s seat portion of the cart, and I was guaranteed to lose coupons while in the store. People also stared at me while I did this too, but that’s not something that affected my decision to retire the binder.
- I clipped every. single. coupon. This was my biggest issue. I would spend hours upon hours cutting out each coupon that came in my inserts. I would buy at least four sets of inserts each week, which could mean 12 sets to clip if I got a P&G, a SS, and an RP that week. So let’s say there are about 40 coupons in every insert (40 coupons x 12 sets of inserts = 480), that’s 480 coupons to clip. This was becoming more of a job than my full-time salaried position.
- I wasted too many coupons. To piggyback off the previous bullet, I would clip coupons for things I a) hadn’t ever heard of, or b) didn’t even need. I’ve come to find this was primarily due to my lack of experience. Also, even if I wanted to, a lot of coupons would expire before I could even use them. I had so many coupons sorted in the baseball card slots, that I couldn’t keep track of what I had coupons for even though they were sorted into different category tabs.
- I would lose coupons. I’m telling you, this thing was FILLED with coupons. I would cram four of the same coupons into the front of a baseball card slot, and then cram another four into the back of the same slot. The slots became “stretched,” and I’d find random coupons in the bottom of my cart.
For me, the binder was difficult to maintain. The binder method may work for some people, but I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t my cup of tea.
How do you keep your coupons organized?