I have had several people stop me in the store recently to ask to see my coupon binder for ideas, so I thought I would share. First, let me tell you, I have tried every kind of organizer. I have used envelopes (fall apart), file folders (too bulky), boxes (too ugly), CD cases (actually worked pretty good but too small now), trading card page pockets (utterly annoying to me), and even just paper clips (lost in purse). I have been on a quest to find something that works for me. My goals were to have something that did not make me look like some crazed couponer in the store, did not let stuff fall out, easy to put coupons in, easy to take expired out, big enough and easy to carry.
Let me also explain that even though I would take my coupons in the store on occasion, generally I already have my trip planned out and the correct coupons extracted from my binder before going in the store. I have very limited shopping time so I have to be exact (which really saves me money). This means that having the trading card page pockets was overkill for me (and I could not stand the time it took to stuff each individual pocket). It is great for someone who wants it all laid out visually for a more leisurely shopping trip. I can have my sections as a stack of coupons that I sort through and it works for me.
So I waited for one of those great coupons for Office Max - $15 off of $50. This is what I purchased:
It is a Case-It binder (about $8 on sale) with shoulder strap and velcro closing. When carrying it into the store, at just a glance it looks like a purse (avoiding the crazed couponer image).
This is what it looks like from the side. It fits easily into a shopping cart child's seat. It slims down at the beginning of the month.
For the pockets, I used those pencil pockets (.59 each - I bought 40) that zip up (nothing falls out). I also write the section topic on the upper right hand corner in permanent marker so that I can easily go to the right section (in alphbetical order). The great thing about these pencil pockets is that they open on the right side which makes it really easy to take your coupons out in the store if you found that amazing sale while your binder is resting on its side in the shopping cart.
In the back I have pockets for my major shopping stores and their specialized coupons:
There is even a folder area that I can put inserts or coupon policies:
In the front I have a pocket made of material to keep my scissors and paper clips ($1 on sale):
Here are my sections that have evolved over time:
Health Vit (Vitamins)
Hy-Body (Hy is Hygiene - I wanted to keep all these sections together as they are in the store.)
Plastic & Paper
Snack - Salty
Snack - Sweet
Snack - Wet
Then Store Sections:
Finally, with my $50 purchase, I also bought a an X-Acto Paper Cutter which really saves me a ton of time. Thus, I paid about $35 for my system and it works great for me. For more WFMW tips, head over to Rocks in My Dryer!