I started couponing in April 2011. The first inserts I got were on April 17th and they were GOOD inserts! Full to the brim of awesome coupons!!! I was soooo excited!! For the first 2 weeks of my couponing journey I kept my coupons in paper envelops. The long business style ones. I didn’t have a lot of coupons so that was good for me. I clipped all the coupons I wanted to used and kept them in there. I’d put the rest of the insert in the recycle bin (*GASP*). I never felt bad doing this because usually what I would not cut out would be cat coupons or dog food we don’t buy.
I had an envelop for each store I shopped at and one main envelop for all of the coupons that I cut out. Each shopping trip I’d go through my small pile of clipped coupons and put them in the right folder. I went out and bought a new purse at Target. I had been wanting a new one for a long time and I noticed they had some on sale one day and also I wanted one with a lot of pockets. The one I bought had a big pocket and then a smaller pocket where I could keep all of the coupon envelopes. It was perfect!!
Well, I started getting wayyyyy too many coupons to keep doing the envelope method!! I get 5 newspapers every Sunday so I have 5 copies of each coupon. I found an old one inch binder we weren’t using at home, bought some dividers and pocket holders and baseball card holders at Walmart and the Dollar store (btw, the dollar store is a great place to shop!! Who knew?? lol) I spent a few hours putting everything together in my new binder. It was so much fun finally getting organized!! Here are some pictures I took way back in April of my first binder (yes, I said 1st binder. I am now on my 3rd one!:) lol)
This is what my binder looked like when you opened it up. I found these cool horizontal folders that were dividers as well. I used my label maker and labeled each divider.
I had about 5 baseball card holders in each section of the binder.
I put the weekly ad in the horizontal folder in order of how often I shop there. Albies is the first one, the purple one, because their ads are the best and they do double coupons so I often look at their ad. Walmart is next, but I have realized that they don’t do weekly ads. They only send out ads near holidays or like for back to school sales and stuff like that:P Then I have Walgreens and Target. I keep the Smith’s ad in with the Albies ad now because I don’t often shop there, but I do like to remember to look at it for ad matching at Walmart.
Well, this binder lasted me about a month and a half or so. Brynnan went to get it from the car for me once in May and he dropped it on the ground. Thankfully only a few coupons fell out. I almost dropped it at the store once and so I finally decided it was worth the $10 to buy a zippered binder.This old one actually started to get so full that it started to rip! Yet, another reason to get a new one:)
Actually, before I got the zipper binder I moved to a bigger 2 inch binder that I had around the house. I was still trying to make couponing worth it and save money and I knew Mark would hate it if I kept spending money to store the coupons! That binder only lasted a couple weeks though. While I had this binder is when I almost dropped it at the store.
Whoa, that color looks funky… lol Anyway, I got this binder at Target for 10 bucks. There is a pocket there on the front and also a spot where you can clip a pen if you want.
This is the inside. There was an expanding file on the left side that I loved using. I put my ads in there for a while because that was easier than having to flip through all the dividers and coupons. on the right there is another little pocket. I didn’t use it.
This is the expanding folder. It’s very convenient.
Are you ready to see what I use now? I have a TON of coupons and I decided after about a month of clipping them that I didn’t want to keep clipping them. I didn’t always use every coupon I clipped so it just felt like a big waste of time. So here is also how I organize my coupons today:
Pretty, isn’t it? They only had red so Brynnan was happy with it:) I LOVE that it has a strap AND a handle on the side!! So convenient to carry with 3 little kids, one of them not able to walk yet so I often have to carry my binder, purse and the baby into the house all at once so I don’t make 10 trips to the car and back. It is wonderful with the strap!
This is what it looks like when you unzip it. I was very skeptic at fist that it had two sides with 2 sets of rings. I didn’t think it would work well, but it is great and I LOVE it!! If you are serious about couponing you should get this binder! It came with the organizers you see here. Also, there are straps to hold each side down. Very nice!
On the right side I keep my clipped coupons with the ads. The organizer part, on the left, has 3 little pockets that I keep extra coupon booklets in and the Walgreens ad, as you can see. The baseball card holder on the right is filled with miscellanious coupons from the Albies game going on now and other store around town.
Here’s the binder with a view at the dividers and their categories. You probably can’t see them very well. Sorry about that. You can also see this weeks Albies ad and Smith’s ad as well. I’m excited about the Smith’s ad this week because they’re doing a Buy 10 get $5 off sale like Albies does and it’s got some good stuff!:)
Here’s a little closer look. Some of the labels have come off of the dividers so I just wrote the category on there. I have them all pretty much memorized now so I don’t really need them on there, but it’s still nice to have:)
In each section I have a sub-section. Under Baby I have 5 other dividers that say, lotion products, diapers, diaper wipes, food & formula, and toys. Fridge food and frozen food don’t have sub-sections. I don’t get many coupons that I use for those.
Non-Perishables has 3: Snacks & cereals, Candy & Dessert and Dog Food & Snacks.
Personal Hygiene has 2: Toiletries & Bathroom and Medical
Cleaning has 2: Bathroom and Kitchen
Laundry has 2: Laundry and Kitchen ( besides laundry detergent and other things for laundry I decided to put things for the kitchen in there too. I usually keep ziploc and other storage coupons under this sub-section, but if it has to do with cleaning the kitchen it goes in the cleaning section.)
These are the coupons under the diaper section in my binder. I bought about 60 baseball card holders and now I’m not even using half of them I need to sell them on Craigs list.
This is the other side of my binder. It has a pencil pouch and some other mesh holders and zipper holders too. I’m not using them all yet, but it’s nice to have the option.
Are you getting really curious how I organize all my coupons now that I don’t clip them every week?!!:) Well, here it is:
I bought a pack of clear paper holders and I put all 5 of my inserts in one of them each week. If I get a Red Plum and a Smart Source insert I separate them by insert type. Then I go on Fabulouslyfrugal.com and print off the list that they have up for us that has each coupon listed and how much it is for HERE, on their coupon inserts page. I live in Idaho so I print of the list for Idaho on that particular date.
Sometimes, the inserts are very teeny tiny, like they have been the past couple weeks so I will only print off one paper and then the other side of the insert will show like above.
Here’s a closer look at an old insert list.
This method is so much easier and I am loving it!! I actually need to go through the old inserts and take out the expired coupons from them! I started to do this yesterday, but it gets to be a long job if you don’t do it monthly, which I haven’t been doing:P That’s another part of organization! Remember to know when your coupons expire. I’ve had coupons expire and give them to the cashier without realizing it!! It’s very embarrassing!
The Fabulously FruGals are really great!!! I love their website the most out of all the other sites out there. I visit theirs every day. I hope you’re keeping up with them too! They’re a big help! They have a bunch of posts on how to start out and also on different organization methods, etc. Go on over and take a look:)