Monday, March 21, 2011

My coupon binder

Here is how I score the deals Ladies and Gents!

I swear I never thought I would be that lady, that coupon lady, holding up the line with a million coupons...  but now I am!  I never really hold up the line though, I shop at odd hours and only once, when I wasn't organized, did I hold 2 people up and yes, I was mortified but I was more annoyed trying to find my dang coupon. 

I remember it vividly, I was at Rite Aid, I had a huge deal going on, with four separate transactions.  The store manager was checking me out and everything was going great until I lost a coupon, then everything went down hill.  One person jumped in line, then another...  I still couldn't find my coupon.  My baby started to cry, my toddler started growing impatient and running around the store...  If there was ever a nightmare scenerio, this was it!

I was using the envelope method at the time, as well as this green plastic accordian coupon filer.  Both methods work fantastic when they work, if you get what I mean.  I had found another great deal and needed a coupon from another envelope and couldn't find it.  Soon after I dropped my green accordian flier and it busted open, coupons spilling out everywhere.  It was a complete and utter disaster.

I ended up messing up my first transaction which messed up my 2nd, 3rd and 4th.  I paid way too much out of pocket, people were behind me waiting and the manager made some comments about my organization methods.  Another cashier came up front and told me to get a binder.  So that's what I did.

Never again, hopefully, will the above situation occur with the binder.  All my coupons are there, organized by category and all I need to do is flip through and take them out.  I take the coupons out moments before I head up to the register or sometimes I take them out as I choose a product while shopping.  I try not to separate things out ahead of time like that fateful day at Rite Aid.  When I do this, the product is out of stock or it is a different price than I had anticipated.  Or I realize in the store that I relaly do not need another face wash.  I'm totally stocked and even though it is free, I just don't need another!  But occassionally I do pre-pull when I am doing match ups.

So here it is!

I have it separated into similar categories as the Krazy Coupon Lady's 36 Categories.  I have things organized a little differently but she helped me get started.  I also have dividers for CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Target, Wegmans, Price Chopper and Freebies.  Freebies I got from Hip2Save's binder organization video.  It is a good way to keep track of the BOGO coupons and it is right up front so you don't forget about them!  I found that the more specific your categories, the faster you can flip through to find the coupon that you are looking for.

I bought baseball card holders at Target.  (There were none to be found at Wally World the day I shopped for my binder.) They are Ultra Pro, 9-Pocket Pages, 65 sheets for $10.   At Walmart I grabbed a 1.5 inch Avery Heavy Duty One Touch EZD binder for $5.99 and Avery Style Edge Insertable Plastic Dividers for $2.88 a piece.    The initial time spent setting up the binder was around 3 hours.  I watched 3 episodes of Chicago Code on Hulu.  It probably wouldn't have taken me that long if my accordian file had busted open.  I had put all my coupons is a large 8.5 by 11 mailer.  Now that I got that 3 hour session out of the way, it takes me about an hour a week on Sundays or Tuesdays to clip, sort and put away.  I filled up the 1.5 inch binder immediately so I wish I bought a bigger one.  If there was a 2.5 inch one, I would want that.  3 inch binders just seem way too big!  lol

I bring the binder with me everytime I shop.  Seriously, every time.  The few times that I don't, I see a great deal.  But at the same time, it's okay to pass up on deals.  You don't have to score every one!  As soon as you realize that, the better couponing will be for you.

The binder stays in my bag and up in the front seat of the cart it goes for easy flip though.  I don't even have to take the binder out of my bag.  When the straps are pulled up when I am holding it, you can't even see the binder.
So there you have it!

How do you organize?