In today’s article, I will teach you guys how to create a coupon binder that is both organized and easy to use. The almighty coupon binder is what sets apart the pros from the amateurs. It is almost like a badge that certifies your status as an extreme couponer. Something all couponers [should] aspire to have. My friends and family used to mockingly ask me when I first started couponing was “Do you have a coupon binder too?” Which was proceeded by shock and laughter as I soon as showed them the binder. But whatever, them paying full price for stuff I can easily get for free is the real joke.
Even though some people can’t wait to make a coupon binder, a lot of people (including me) procrastinate and don’t see the urgency in making a coupon binder right at the beginning. Don’t be one of those people, LOL. If I had made mine right at the beginning my life would have been a lot easier. To be honest, I don’t even know how I used to survive and use any coupons at all because my system of storing coupons was complete chaos. I literally used to just throw all my coupons into a box and dig through it every time I needed a coupon. This whole system was also based completely off memory, so if I thought I had a coupon I would try to dig for it. I don't even know what was going through my mind where I thought that system was just as good as having a coupon binder. It wasn’t until one particularly infuriating experience at Shoppers Drug Mart, that I realized something had to be changed. Couponing with a binder is so much easier and faster. So lets move right onto the article, by jumping to the next page!
Things you will need
Hopefully at this point, everyone has managed to built up a nice collection of coupons! For those who have not, please read the following articles to build up your coupon stash since they are the most crucial part of your coupon binder. LOL
2. A Binder
I strongly recommend that you get one of those clunky zip up binders, you know, the ones we all thought were the coolest thing in Grade 5. It may seem overly obnoxious and cumbersome compared to a regular binder, but believe me, zip up binders are way more functional as coupon binders than those measly regular binders. The first reason is simply because the binder zips up! I cannot even count the times that some of my coupons have fallen out of the holder, and if it wasn’t for enclosure, the coupons would have disappeared 100%. Another great thing about these binders is that there are many useful pockets. These pockets will be handy for storing all the items associated with couponing like pencils, stamps, a calculator. You can pick up these binders for cheap at any department store like Walmart or Target. They usually have clearance of these binders around October and November since the back to school shopping wave is finally over. My local Walmart currently has various zip up binders for around 2 dollars. It also may be tempting to get a more visually appealing binder, but please do yourself a favour and go for the more functional one, no matter how hideous it may be, haha.
3. Trading Card Holders
These pseudo coupon holders are the only thing anyone should be using to keep their coupons in. It is almost as if they were designed specifically to be used in coupon binders. You can get them at Dollarama, I believe it is $1.00 for 8 sheets. If you don’t have a Dollarama near you, you can also pick these up at local gaming stores for about 25 cents a sheet. Don't worry about trying to find the best quality card holders since the quality between brands don't really vary that much, and virtually all of them will do their job as intended. When first starting out, I recommend you get anywhere from 20-30 sheets.
4. Page Dividers
These are crucial for organizing your coupon binder. You will need to get about 15 of these dividers. You will need 12 to label months, 1 for store exclusive coupons, 1 for the store policies, and 1 just in case.
5. Sticker Labels
You can find the same ones I got for $1 for a huge pack at Dollarama. You will be using them later to mark coupons that are either: stackable, or you have multiples off.
6. Printed Price Match and Coupon Policies
When I first made my coupon binder, I didn't think I needed these because for some reason I just thought I could remember all the different policies. Obviously, I quickly came to my senses after becoming flustered and confused at different stores. It is much easier to reference your coupon binder than to look it up on your phone while in line. Make sure you highlight the particularly important parts of the policies.
7. A LOT OF PATIENCE
The first thing you need understand before creating your coupon binder is why you will be organizing your coupon binder by date, not category. There are actually a number of reasons why organization by date is superior to category and they are:
- It is easier to keep track of the expiring coupons, which in turn, will make it easier to keep your coupon binder up to date. If you were to organize it by category you will often forget about which expire, which makes your trade list hard to read since it will quickly become outdated.
- It is easier to find coupons that you will be trading away. Instead of digging through separate categories, you can just go straight to the corresponding date in your binder and quickly pull out the desired coupon.
Now that you understand the reason behind organizing your coupon binder by date, you can now get started by organizing your coupons. You better start now while you are still motivated because this part quickly becomes tedious and tiring. When organizing organize is by date and month, not just the general month. If you happen to have two of the same coupon, but with two different expiry dates, you must still keep them separate from each other.
You are finally done organizing your monstrous pile of coupons? Now you can move onto assembling the coupon binder itself. First thing you should be doing is labeling all the page dividers. You should have a label for each of the twelve months. You will be keeping all your regular manufacturer coupons in this section of your binder. A label that says “SEC” which stands for store exclusive coupons, which obviously, will be the section with all your store exclusive coupons. The reason that store exclusive coupons have its own section is so you don’t mix them up with regular coupons. These store coupons usually expire pretty quickly so you don’t have to worry about organizing these by date, organizing them by store should be more than adequate. Also because they expire quicker I recommend you put this tab at the beginning of the couponer binder since you will be updating it more frequently. If you want to get hyper organized, have dedicated sections for each store. Lastly a label that says “Store Policies.” Which still be for all your in store coupon and price match policies.
After finishing the preliminary stages of creating your new coupon binder, you can now start loading up your binder with all your coupons and printed store policies! When loading up the sleeves, make sure you put the smaller and thinner coupons (like insert coupons) on the top three sleeves, and put the bigger coupons on the bottom sleeves. These sleeves aren't that tight, so sometimes if the coupon at the top is too big, they will fall out. If you have multiples of a coupon, place them in different sleeves. If you have too many to do this, just place one in a sleeve, and mark that sleeve with a sticker and write how many of that certain coupon you have. Then you can just store the coupons in a safe place. I personally will not store more than 3 tear pad coupons in one sleeve, and no more than 10 inserts. For coupons that are way too over sized, write on a piece of paper the details of that coupon and just place that paper into the sleeve, and keep that coupon elsewhere in the coupon binder.
When you have a coupon that you know you are able to stack with another coupon, place a sticker on the sleeve where the coupon is, and write the month that the other coupon expires, and if it is a store exclusive coupon or not. This way you can easily remember what coupons have stackable counterparts, and be able to go to that section of your coupon binder and find that certain coupon. Using this method, I haven’t missed a stacking opportunity in a long time! Nothing is worse than buying something, only to realize you could have stacked an additional coupon for extra savings.
Finally, just put the store coupon / price match policies you printed out at the very end of the binder, or any other place of the binder that is easily accessible.
***remember to add extra coupon sleeve pages to your coupon binder, so when you go shopping you can easily place the new coupons you find into your coupon binder right away.
You are finally done!
That’s it! You can finally stand up, stretch your back, and rejoice that you have finally become a full-fledged extreme couponer! This coupon binder will quickly become the annoying friend that follows you everywhere. It is okay though, you will slowly learn to love it, and not be able to go anywhere without it.
If anyone has any questions please comment below!