Here in the UK; since there isn’t the long established culture of ‘extreme couponing’ as there is in the US we don’t really have products purpose designed for keeping your coupons in order. You can in some cases order coupon binders from the US and have them shipped here, but this can incur customs taxes not to mention the huge volume of items from the US that get lost in the post while winging their way over here. As I learned to my cost when I tried to order one from a company that seemed to be UK based but they were based in Florida. Getting my money refunded when it almost inevitably got lost in the post was a nightmare. There is also the question as to whether the big coupon binders with loads and loads of pockets are really appropriate to a British market because our coupons do tend to have very short expiry dates; typically anything between 1-4 weeks, so by the time you’ve made the effort of filing all your coupons in a binder they are probably expired already. Not cool.
So you can improvise! I like the improvised options so much now I don’t think I’d go for the big American coupon binder even if someone sent me one for free, erm no actually wouldn’t go that far any Americans who have one of those lying around are of course welcome to send it to me for free. But I certainly wouldn’t look to buy one again.
I have found a few solutions that work, depending on how many coupons you tend to print, your storage space, whether you need to keep your coupons out of the reach of dastardly children and so on. Try my ideas and whatever works for you is great. You can even combine different solutions, i.e. I tend to keep my coupons in ziploc bags at the moment but when I go out I take the ones I need that day in a coupon notebook (more on that later). All of these options cost no more than £5 in total, if you shop around.
Idea Number One-Ziploc Bags
A clear pencil case is a similar option to this one. You need the smaller size ziploc/sandwich bags. Mark each ziploc bag with the names of the supermarkets you most commonly visit and perhaps one for miscellanious items such as gift vouchers and gift cards that can be used in many different shops. You could also keep two bags for each shop, one with coupons you’re going to use immediately and another with those that can only be used in that shop but that you aren’t taking with you right now. Just place the coupons/vouchers/gift cards in the ziploc bag and close the zip, nice crisp clean storage for them. Store the bags folded flat in a nice box or you can be completely slovenly like me and just store them upright down the side of your t-shirts on a shelf in your wardrobe.
Pros of this method of storage:-
- Cheap as chips.
- Relatively easy to see coupons including their expiry dates.
- Easily accessible.
- Easy to put in your bag to take shopping.
- It can be quite easy to miss the odd coupon here and there with this and by the time you find it, its expired.
- Even in a ziploc bag, put something on top of the coupons in youre handbag and they will be looking the worse for wear.
- Doesn’t feel that well organised for some people.
Idea Number Two-A5 ring binder
There were a lot of A5 ring binders about when I was young but they seemed to have gone AWOL from the shops in recent years; however a quick perusal of our ‘friends’ aka google and ebay tells me they are back and you can get plastic wallets for them and though not as easy to find, the paper dividers. An A5 pocket won’t be as ‘fitted’ as the special pockets they sell in the US but it will be much better than an A4 folder. You can arrange the coupons as you wish, by shop, category or any other filing system you think will suit.
Pros of this method of storage:-
- Clear pockets make it very easy to see your coupons, you could even put only two coupons in each pocket (back to back) if you wanted.
- Cheap, especially since most A5 binders and their assorted accessories are discount shop fodder. There are regularly job lots of them on ebay too for only a few quid.
- An A5 binder isn’t exactly going to take up much storage room in your home, and its easy to take to the shops
- If you’re creative you can jazz it and the dividers up.
- Unlike the American ‘real deal’ your coupons are not secure in the pockets so theoretically could fall out and get lost. And uh that’s all I can think of.
Idea Number Three-Journal with pocket
In January a relative bought myself and my husband a blank lined hardbacked journal each as a gift; at first I have to admit I did kinda think ‘groan what am I going to use this for? I don’t even keep a journal’ but then I had a lightbulb moment and realised the potential for using this as a shopping list book with a coupon pocket, or a ‘coupon notebook’. The one I have has an expanding paper pocket inside the back cover and an elastic strap that fastens around the front cover to keep it secure. Other versions have a magnetic flap. Just don’t go for versions where the inside back pocket is horizontal and made like a small, stylised envelope, it won’t last 5 minutes and it won’t be large enough for most coupons.Prosper Art are one of the main manufacturers of these, but theirs tend to be expensive. There are however lesser well known brand alternatives and I’ve even seen them in £1 shops. You’re looking for something around A5 size if you want to be able to store most sizes and types of coupons without having to fold them.
Pros of this method of storage:-
- Multipurpose, you can keep your coupons in the back and write what you’re going to get with them in the pages in the front.
- Easy to put in your bag and completely protects your coupons from getting crumpled, damaged or lost
- Looks attractive
- Not a good sole method of storage if you have loads of coupons; one the pocket will not hold that many and two being an opaque pocket in the back of a book means there is more scope for coupons expiring without you realising.
- Very large coupons will have to be folded
- Having all the coupons in one pocket makes organising more tricky
Whichever method of storing your coupons you decide to use; if you’re taking them out with you make sure that your name and address is on or inside the bag/binder/book you’re storing them in, just in case you happen to lose them. From what I’ve heard most of the time, unlike with money, when people find coupons that have been dropped or lost they will return them. I will be posting up pics of my lovely green coupon book in the next few days InshaAllaah.