Ok, when the new year comes, I always get on a coupon clipping kick. Seriously. I'll spend hours searching, sorting and snipping to save a buck! lol! Why do I do this to myself? No, really.. can anyone help me? Anyhooo...
Here is what I have found. Envelopes don't work for me. Small accordion files don't work for me. I get the coupons all mixed up and it takes me way too long to find one. Anything where the coupons are stacked on top of each other (such as plastic recipe boxes) don't work for me. So this year, when the urge to starting snippin' took over I searched. And I searched. I Googled 'coupon organizers', etc.. and found that most sites where others were serious about coupons and saving moneyused a 3 ring binder. They sell their coupon organizing systems for big bucks! Well, that wasn't going to work. What is the use of working so hard to save 50 cents when I was going to blow $20 for their binder??
The thing that worked about their binders is the clear plastic sleeves with different sized pockets to accommodate a variety of coupon sizes. You have to buy a package of plastic sleeves that are sectioned off into multiple pockets for each 8.5 x 11 page and that gets pricey quick. I'm not trying to put them out of business, but my entire purpose was to SAVE money, NOT spend more.
I decided to make my own. I dug a 3 ring binder out of a closet that I wasn't using anymore (I was still using the closet.. not the binder), some clear plastic sheet protectors that I had left over from when I sold collage sheets, cardstock and my sewing machine.Oh, and the coupons! For Pete's sake, don't forget the coupons!
First, slip your white cardstock (or pretty, heavy weight paper if you'd rather) into the page protector. Then mark where you'd like your pockets. The card stock holds the page togther and allows for you to use BOTH sides of the page protector. It is necessary!
Pop it in the sewing machine and sew along the lines. (My stitch lines are a bit wonky, but really, who cares?) What you are doing is creating closed pockets on the page. To 'open' the pockets, use an exacto knife or scissors and cut just BELOW your stitches, as shown below. Or on the side, to have a sideways access to the 'pocket'.
This creates the pockets that the coupons slip into. Another shot for those who need extra help understanding... (the top is already an open pocket).
Do this to BOTH sides!! Got it? You are NOT cutting through the cardstock!! JUST the plastic!!
The possibilities with this coupon organizing system are endless!! You can create four long thin pockets, six square pockets, four larger square pockets, three, eight... whatever you'd like!! You can also cut your slits on the SIDES of the pockets to allow for a sideways entry. Kinda kinky! (We coupon clippers are like that ya know..) You make what need, you don't have to buy large packages for one or two sheets.
Use page dividers to section off your coupons. Food, drinks, cereals, pet care, cleaners, laundry, etc.. you get the idea. (I hope.) See something on sale at the store? Flip quickly to that section in your binder and you can instantly see all of the coupons you have. Grab the one you are going to use and stuff it in the pocket in front.
The pockets at the front and back of the binder are great for extra tidbits. When you get to the check out, all of your coupons that you are going to use are waiting and ready tucked into the front pocket.
It works! I love it!!
Here are some of the best coupons sites I can find.. do you have any others to add to the list?? Leave them in the comments for others to see too! Thanks!
www.riteaid.com (their video credits are awesome! Thanks Bonnie!)
(this organizing system can be used for collage artists too.. what a great way to organize your collage bits and pieces and be able to flip right through them? Put them in a binder!)