While the vast majority of people who use store coupons will only carry a few of them in purse or pocket, the dedicated coupon clipper needs a much better way to organize their money saving endeavor. A well constructed coupon binder gives many benefits to the person who wants to pump up their couponing to professional levels. The binder is rather easy to make and the better you organize it, the easier to use and more profitable it will be.
You will have to purchase a few items. To begin with, you need a good quality 3-ring binder. Since your binder will become rather thick, a D-ring construction will be much more effective. You will also need to visit your local comic shop to purchase a few dozen of the plastic trading/baseball card sheets. These provide easy to access pockets to hold your coupons. These type of clear pocketed sheets can also be found in horizontal three-pocket style. You may want to add a few to your binder for holding oversized coupons or vouchers.
Now you will have to determine how you will organize your coupons. Do you want them separated by product type, (food, toiletries, sundries, auto, etc.) expiration dates, or some other system that makes sense to you. This is a highly personal and customizable project. Once decided, you will want to place dividers with a few of the card sheets in each section. This way you can see at a glance what coupons you have available.
You will also want to add a section where you have looked up and printed out the coupon policy sheet from each of the stores you shop at. You will inevitably need to use these to prove to clerks or managers that you are allowed to use the coupons in the various ways they can be combined. Remember to be nice when educating them though. You do not want to alienate the people who you deal with as they could become very hostile to a demanding couponer. In most cases, regardless of the policy, the manager will reserve the final say-so. If you have to appeal to officials higher up the corporate chain, then you have lost not only the coupon savings but probably a store location to shop in.
If your binder has a couple of side pockets, you can keep up with store fliers there. If you mush, you can add a few pages of top-loading folders to the binder to serve this purpose. The same works for rebate paperwork if you are also utilizing this as part of your coupon strategy.
Another specialty sheet you may want to add, which should be available in the stationery aisle, is a pencil pouch where you can also keep scissors, a small calculator, and a pen or pencil. As you can see, this binder is growing all the time. You may also want to add a large, strong rubber band or Velcro strap around it so that if dropped, it will not explode your coupons out onto the floor.
An optional section can be added for keeping a meal planner. With this you can coordinate items you have coupons for with other items already in your pantry. It can help you from buying too much of a ertain item that may spoil before it can all be used. It also helps you to keep an eye on nutrition as well, so your money saving does not risk eating poorly.
On the off chance you lose your binder, it is good to have your name and phone number located in the front. It is not so safe to add your address so that strangers can find it. A phone call and meeting at a public location will keep you safer for the return of your property.
Have you ever made a coupon binder?