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Binder vs. Insert Coupon Organization

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Part 3 in a 9 part Couponing for Beginners Series is all about coupon organization! Read more about the two most common ways to organize your coupons.

So you're a couponing beginner and you've got all these coupons.  Now what?  What do you does a coupon beginner do with these coupons so they don't get lost or damaged but are easy to find?  You organize them of course!  Here are the two most popular coupon organization techniques broken down with pros and cons for coupon beginners!

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If you’re back with us for the third week I’m so happy to have you joining us again for our third chapter of the Couponing for Beginners Series!  If you’re new, welcome!  You definitely want to check out the Couponing 101 and What is a Coupon and Where Can I Find It? posts before you dive into this organizational post!

I’m so excited to have my friend Regina here to help me with this post today!  She is a great Instagram coupon trader and someone with enough patience to answer any and all of your couponing questions!


Hey y’all, Regina, here!  I met Meaghan through Instagram, and we’ve been chatting and trading coupons for months now.  When she came up with this beginners couponing series and offered me the chance to write a guest post, I snatched up the “Couponing Organizing Methods” with a quickness!  This is a topic near and dear to my heart, since I go back and forth between the two main methods about once a month.  I’d say 90% of all couponers use either the binder method or insert method or some combination of both like Meaghan and I do.  I’ll go through them both with you today.  

Using the Binder Method

The binder method is my personal favorite and I strongly recommend it if you’re new to couponing.  My personal binder is a purple Case-It brand binder.  They’re easy to find at Target, Wal-Mart, or office supply stores.  I recommend a zipped binder unless you’re a fan of your coupons flying everywhere every time you move it {not fun}.

Couponing for Beginners Series: Binder vs. Insert Organization | Cook. Craft. Love.

You will also need dividers and plastic playing card display sheets if you’re taking advantage of this method.  Organizing by binder involves clipping every single coupon you receive and putting them into your display sheets separated by your dividers.  You can make your categories specific to your personal needs but some ideas to get you started are “fruit/veggies”, “refrigerated”, “baby”, “cleaning”, etc.

Couponing for Beginners Series: Binder vs. Insert Organization | Cook. Craft. Love.

Once you have all your coupons organized into your binder it’s very easy to just flip to the category and find a coupon you need when you see a good deal.

Couponing for Beginners Series: Binder vs. Insert Organization | Cook. Craft. Love.

Pros: The biggest pro for the binder method compared to the insert method is that you always have every coupon with you.  This is a great advantage if you find clearance items or an unadvertised deal.
Cons: The biggest con is all this method entails.  You can spend hours clipping and organizing and for those with a busy life that might not be ideal for you.

Using the Insert Method

The insert method is ideal for someone who doesn’t want to spend a lot of time clipping and organizing.  There are many ways you can organize your filed coupons.  I bought a file organizer at Target for about $12.  It’s large and holds about 15 weeks worth of coupon inserts.

Couponing for Beginners Series: Binder vs. Insert Organization | Cook. Craft. Love.

I marked each section inside with the date the coupons came out and which insert they came from {RedPlum, SmartSource, and P&G} and voila!  An easy way to tell which coupons were where.  You can also use magazine organizers, the tall stand up ones that fit on bookshelves, or a hanging file folder box to do the same job.

Couponing for Beginners Series: Binder vs. Insert Organization | Cook. Craft. Love.

Using this method when you find a good deal all you have to do is find out what date the coupons came out {easily found on any coupon database}, locate it in your file, clip it, and you’re ready to shop!  You won’t be lugging a huge binder around the store as you can easily fit a few coupons in your wallet or in a small accordion organizer that will fit in your purse.

Pros: The biggest pro for the insert method is that it takes virtually no time at all!  You can easily take 15 minutes out of your Sunday to separate your coupon inserts into your files and mark the date, and you’re done!  The most time you’ll spend is finding the coupon after filing when you see a deal you want to grab.
Cons: The biggest con for this method is not having all your coupons with you at all times.  What if you find clearance items or unadvertised deals that you just know you have a coupon for at home?  You run the risk of missing out on some good deals this way, but you will also find yourself spending less money, as you won’t feel the need to buy something just because you have a coupon for it.

Well, there you have it!  The two main methods for organizing your coupons!  I hope this post helps in your couponing journey.  Thanks for reading and a huge thanks to Meaghan for inviting me to guest write in this awesome series!


Isn’t she just as awesome as I said she would be?!  I started with the binder method but Regina is actually the reason I switched to the insert method and no longer waste hours every Sunday clipping every single coupon.  I would find myself tossing out coupons we probably wouldn’t use because I didn’t feel like clipping and organizing it.  Then it would be totally free in a week or two and I’d kick myself that I tossed it in the trash!  Or I’d clear out my binder of expired coupons and throw out TONS.  It killed me that I was wasting so much time clipping coupons I wasn’t even using.

There’s no doubt that when I was using the binder method I got some great deals.  Including 6 jars of Nutella for free which I used in these amazeballs Homemade Poptarts.  But I’ve also gotten tons of good deals on things I never even thought I’d use because I didn’t throw out coupons I was too lazy to cut!  Like the cornbread mix I grabbed to serve alongside this perfect Taco Chili!

There is no right or wrong method.  Each couponer will swear by their favorite so whichever method you choose you just have to make sure it’s right for YOU and your family.  Chances are if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the time investment of the binder method or if the insert method makes you feel too unorganized you won’t stick with couponing very long. 

Are you a couponer who uses a totally different method than the one Regina talked about today?  Let me know about it in the comments below!



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Wednesday 15th of October 2014

I used to use the insert method but it didn't work so well, the coupons would expire and I didn't notice or I didn't have them with me when I needed them. The binder method is better, a little more work but in the end it pays off


Wednesday 15th of October 2014

I started with the binder method and found out pretty soon that I was burning out when I would leave my coupons unclipped for weeks. As long as you're using the method that works best to help you save money! Thanks so much for stopping by!



Friday 12th of September 2014

I definitely am a fan of the insert method... except mine isn't as organized... I just stuff them all in a empty drawer :( Need to get better at it so I can start saving more money like you! Hope you get feeling 100% better soon!!


Friday 12th of September 2014

I used to do the binder method and after a few months I realized I was burning out when I would leave papers for weeks without bothering to touch the coupons so I switched to the insert method and have never looked back! I'm way too Type-A to toss them anywhere though! Thanks for the well wishes, Sydney! I'm almost 100% back on my feet!