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The Coupon Lady: Organizing options

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Finding the perfect coupon organizer can be a challenge for a new couponer.

Several products are now available to help with coupon organization, including coupon binders, at top, the most popular option; totes, above left, for whole insert filing; and portable boxes, above right, for box filing.  COUPONMAGICORGANIZER.COM
COUPONMAGICORGANIZER.COM
Several products are now available to help with coupon organization, including coupon binders, at top, the most popular option; totes, above left, for whole insert filing; and portable boxes, above right, for box filing.

There are three main methods one can use for organizing large quantities of coupons: the binder method, the whole insert filing method and the coupon box method.

When I first began couponing in 2009, few retailers were selling couponing systems, so I had to make my own by using everyday office supplies and guidelines from couponing blogs and Web sites.

However, one of the positive results of the coupon craze of the last five years is that now there are many different products on the market for the savvy coupon user.

Early on, I decided that I was going to use the binder method. My first organizer was a half-inch binder filled with about 30 baseball card pages. After two weeks of clipping coupons, I realized that my binder was way too small for the amount of coupons I was clipping, so I moved up to a 2-inch simple, white binder.

I added a few more baseball card pages and an index system with 16 different sections – beverages; meat and dairy; canned goods; condiments; pasta and boxed goods; cereals; baking; snacks; frozen foods and breads; baby; cleaning supplies; medicines; personal care; paper and plastic goods; pets; and miscellaneous goods.

A few months later, I moved up to a 3-inch binder once I added an additional 10 sections for my store-specific coupons. I also moved to a zippered binder to keep stray coupons from falling out during transport.

I chose my manufacturer coupon sections based on an article I had read online about organizing grocery coupons.

You don’t have to be limited to the 16 general sections that I use. For example, at www.thekrazy
couponlady.com, you can download a free binder organizer file that separates coupons into 40 categories. You don’t have to organize coupons just by sections either; some couponers organize their coupons alphabetically and others organize their coupons by the corresponding aisles of their favorite store.

There are several places to buy coupon binders. This week I saw a coupon binder for sale for about $15 in the book section of the Evans Walmart. It is made by Stephanie Nelson, the creator of the Coupon Mom Web site. I did a quick search online at www.walmart.com and found the striped version of the binder available for $11.50, shipped free site to store. This is a great starter binder for those wishing to try out the system without spending a lot of cash up front. Once you get started you might need to expand your system, and refill pages are available online.

There are several Web sites that sell coupon binders. My two favorites are www.couponmagic
organizer.com and www.couponclutch.com. The Coupon Magic Organizer uses a Mead Zipper Binder, and The Coupon Clutch sells homemade covers that fit over a standard binder, turning your binder into a cute purse. These binders can cost between $40 and $50, but I’ve been using essentially the same binder for years now and I have saved thousands of dollars with it.

The second method of coupon organization is the whole insert filing method, in which you don’t clip out and sort individual coupons – you carry the whole coupon insert with you. There are many tutorials online to make this system yourself with very little equipment, but some sites have these systems for sale.

Most filing method systems use some kind of file folder box, and most people make their own using a plastic office supply box or a large tote bag. My favorite find is a tote bag made especially for files at www.jamieraquel.com. At $59, it’s a little steep but very cute and trendy with many color choices available. Lillian Vernon is offering a black or brown leather version with monogram on its Web site for $39.99.

The third method of coupon organization is the coupon box method, similar to the binder method except a box is used. Amazon has several versions for sale. My two favorites are the Deluxe Coupon Organizer II and the Coupon Organizer I: Limited Edition #59, both sold by 4 Best Bargains and fulfilled by Amazon. At $34.95 and $39.95 respectively, with free super saver shipping, these are affordable alternatives for serious coupon clippers.

No matter what system you choose, you can be saving money quickly with one of these sets.


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