The first thing you’re going to want to do is set up a binder. A binder is a great way to keep your coupons where you can see them, sort them quickly, and keep them portable. I set my binder up using the following method, but feel free to customize your binder to suite your needs.
- (1) 3″ 3 Ring Binder
- (1) Pencil Pouch
- (8) Tabbed Dividers
- (6) 3 Ring Folders (with inside pockets)
- (1) Package of Baseball Card, Business Card, or other Collector/Hobby Card Inserts
- (2) Black Pens
- (1) High Lighter
- (1) Red Inked Pen
Setting up your binder is really quite easy, and fun especially this time of year when you can get great bargains on school supplies!
Take a permanent marker and on each of the folders write the name of a store where you shop. I have one for each of the following Central California stores.
Inside each of these folders I keep a copy of that stores coupon policy which you can print directly from their website. I also put my copy of that stores weekly sales add in there so that I know exactly where it is should I need to double check a price while shopping. Your stores may differ, maybe you shop at SaveMart or Kmart or Longs, go ahead and add as many folders as you need. Although be sure you print coupon policies for all of your folders and be aware that in our area Grocery Outlet does NOT accept coupons.
Time to create your tabs. These tabs will divide your coupons into manageable chunks. Their are lots of ways to do this, some alphabetize by brand name, some by store aisle, but to me those are both confusing. Here’s how my binder is divided:
- Breakfast Food (cereals, oatmeal, bagels, etc)
- Snack Food
- Baking Supplies (flour, oil, sugar, chocolate chips, etc.)
- Canned/Boxed/Bottled Food (instant potatoes, ketchup, soup, etc.)
- Personal Care
- Home Care (cleaning supplies, air fresheners, TP, etc)
I organize my binder by putting my pencil pouch in the very front, followed by my store folders and then my coupon dividers with Baseball card holders between the dividers. Make sure when you put your coupons in the baseball card holders you can clearly see the expiration date so that when you clean out your binder (which I recommend doing once a week) you can easily discard your expired coupons.
Now that you have your binder it’s time to fill it! Head on over to Coupons, Freebies & Promos to find out where you can some great coupons and deal ideas to get you started. I also recommend printing my guide to Coupon Slang and Secret Code and placing that in your binder until you get coupon speak savvy.