Did you know that if you google “The Binder Method” and “Coupon” that you get over 400,000 results! There are blog posts, how to’s, pins, and youtube videos out there showing how to coupon using the Binder Method. Four hundred THOUSAND ways to coupon with the binder method. Makes your head spin a little right?
I think I read approximately 2.3 of these google search results before creating my binder. This is what I learned.
- Some couponers meticulously alphabetize and categorize their coupons down to the letter. I don’t do that.
- Some couponers fold and trim their coupons to fit into the various pockets of the binders. I don’t do that either.
- Some couponers recommend separating your printable coupons from your newspaper coupons. I don’t do that.
- Some couponers clip every single coupon out there and file it away in their, oh I don’t know, TWELVE INCH BINDERS. I most assuredly do not do that.
I used to use the accordion file method of couponing back in the day. Google that. Go ahead, I’ll wait. But I switched to the binder method to SIMPLIFY and SAVE TIME in my couponing efforts. That said, to me at least, clipping each and every coupon from every source possible and alphabetizing them into 47 different categories did not seem very simple or very time saving.
So I stopped reading the posts and I paused the youtube video, because holy crap learning how to make a binder was going to use up all the time I had allotted for a week’s worth of couponing. I stopped and I thought about this for a moment. I have a shining exampe of a simple couponer right here in front of me.
My dad is a vintage couponer. I mean he was a couponer before couponing was cool. He still has his old canvas coupon organizer where he organizes his coupons from the newspaper every week. The category labels have long ago rubbed off, but he knows where everything goes. Because he just knows. He also has the uncanny ability to know which coupons are in the organizer at any given time. What can I say, I guess that is what 30 years of practice will get you. My dad’s coupon organizer has maybe 8 tabs. He clips coupons for things he regularly uses only and he files them away. So it makes sense that he knows what is in his organizer, since he has been clipping the same set of coupons for decades and he is an avid newpaper clipper so he pretty much always has the coupons he needs on hand. This is my model.
My coupon binder is 1.5″ wide and has 7 dividers. They happen to be color coded because I happened to find this set of colored binder tabs on the clearance end cap at Target. Frankly, I could care less that they are different colored or colored at all even.
- Grocery – this is any food that is not refridgerated
- Dairy/Refriderated/Frozen – foods that are refriderated or frozen.
- Baby – diapers, wipes, babyfood, etc
- Medicine – this is for, um, medicine
- Household – cleaners, batteries, and paper goods
- Personal Care – shampoo, conditioner, makeup, etc
- Store coupons – store specific coupons from Target, Publix, and Kroger
How do I keep the coupons organized with such broad categories and without alphabetizing?
It’s really quite groundbreaking, are you ready for this?
I fold them so the pictures of the products show. Yep. That’s all.
If you haven’t heard, a picture is worth a thousand words, or in this case, categories. When I get ready to go shopping I flip through the binder like a magazine. My amazing, human brain, can quickly pick out photos of products we need and exclude those that are not.
That is my greatest couponing secret and I have just shared it with you all. You’re welcome. Don’t waste time reorganizing your coupons to be alphabetical every week, just read a picture book. Or better yet, if you have a toddler, let him read it to you.