The Coupon Binder – Yes, No, Sometimes

Recently I was interviewed for an article in the Advocate Messenger where I stated that I no longer use a ’10 pound binder’ for my coupons. I said that I had streamlined my system and no longer felt the need to spend hours a week clipping all the coupons and sorting them into the baseball holders in my notebook.

That is true! However, I was recently talking to a friend about coupons and she proudly showed me her fully loaded 3 ring binder filled with coupons. She was surprised that I was able to do without the binder and still find my coupons.

A few weeks ago, I was talking to a stranger who was surprised I don’t carry a binder. She said “oh, I guess you don’t save very much money with coupons huh?”.

So, here’s 2 things you might want to know about me and coupons binders:

I think the ultimate way to save money with coupons is to file them in a binder so you can find them easily.
I think the biggest time waster for me in regards to coupons is to cut, sort and file them all in a binder.

For me personally, I don’t want to spend hours of my life filing coupons that I then usually have to take out in 4 weeks as soon as they are expired. I have been hard core couponing for about 5 years. In that time, I have seen sales cycles come and go. I have had many coupons come through that I have never used because they just don’t fit in my life.

Bottom line: You have to find the balance that works for you. If the coupon binder is your preferred method, then go for it! But if you don’t want to mess with that, then don’t. There is a way to save money and still feel the balance and freedom of not carrying a 10 pound binder.


One personal word of caution to new couponers: Don’t be seduced into thinking that if you buy a binder, the tabs and baseball card holders and fill it one month that you will be able to save 70-90% off your grocery bill. The binder is a lot of work and is not magic. It is merely a tool to help you save money.

My suggestion? If you are curious if the binder system would work for you, then find an old photo album with the 3 slots per page or a zippered cd case and try out the system. Then when you know if the concept works for your lifestyle, you can start to upgrade to a nicer binder. I still have a plain 3 ring binder from Walmart and tabs I got on clearance at Rite Aid.

Just because you spend alot of money on an amazing binder does not mean you can instantly save a ton of money.


  1. says

    yikes! seems like the better way to do it would be to figure out what exactly you are going to get for the next week or month, and only look for coupons for those products in the ads and stuff. And then attach them to your grocery list, not a binder!

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