Does Couponing Take Too Much Time?

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I’ve had many readers lately who have written me about it taking too much time and money to coupon.  Many are simply giving up on the coupons alltogether and are just taking advantage of the sales and RR/ECB deals that are available.  If that’s the case, you’ll still see a good amount of savings if you stockpile those items when they’re on sale. However, I’d like to remind you of how I organize my coupons because I think it may be just the thing to help some of you beat the couponing blues :-)

I don’t use a binder system.  Yes, you read that right, I DO NOT use a binder system.  It’s simply too much of a time investment for me.  Instead I keep my coupons whole in their inserts with the date written on the front. I store them in chronological order with the earlier inserts in the bottom tub and the more recent ones on top.

Here’s a short video to show you my clutch with the pouches and what all I keep in them.

If you’ve been using the binder system and finding it takes a lot of time each week, you might give this a try.  You’ll still have all your coupons if you decide that you want to switch back.  When I started this system I just used a cardboard box to keep my inserts in and I used envelopes in my purse for the stores.  Now is the best time of year to buy pencil pouches too.  I know a few people that do a combination of the binder system and tub/clutch/pouch system.  The keep everything pertaining to each store they shop in a separate pencil pouch, so that might be another good option to help streamline your shopping.

I’d love to hear everyone’s input on which system works best for you!


  1. I LOVE the video! =) I tried the binder system for all of 2 shopping trips and it still sits incomplete! I use a very similar system!

  2. I’m with you – the time it takes to cut and file several inserts is not worth the $ saved for me. Good job on your vlog.

  3. Thanks ladies, I grew up watching my mother cut all the coupons for her box (and sometimes getting paid to help!) but it seemed to wasteful to spend all that time. She didn’t use enough of the Qs IMO. I know some people that have a very successful binder system, just not for me. :-)

  4. Anonymous says:

    wish someone would have told me this when I started about 3 months ago. I just realized this about a month ago and started do the same thing you do. I do use my smartphone too but never thought of keeping the box in the car Thanks!!!!

  5. I tried the method you use & I just couldn’t seem to catch the matches as well. I couldn’t remember what was in the inserts. I do much better having them in a binder where I can go to each category as I go through the ads.

    Do you have any advice on this? I’d love to stop cutting coupons & just cut out what I need each week.

    I hear a few years ago that some companies might stop making coupons but use a card instead. You would put the bar code # in a webside & your card would be loaded with the coupon. The card could be used like cash – I love that idea but it never came about as far as I know.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the video. I just bought a binder and baseball card holder pages to try for a while to see if it works any better for me… I was keeping the inserts but what I found was that I missed a bunch of the unadvertised sales that I had coupons for at home, or when they had clearance items. Takes a lot of time to cut them out though. But then again, since I donate the ones I won’t use to the overseas military coupon program (and have to cut them out first & separate them into food & nonfood, I’d have to cut them anyway). thanks. really appreciate your site!

  7. Hi Jenny, I’d recommend using a coupon database. I just added one to my site (on the drop down menu) but you can find them on many frugal sites. Just plug in the brand you are searching for and it will pull up all current Qs for it. Are you using a matchups list or doing your own? If you e-mail me the stores you shop at, I’ll try to find you a site that does complete matchups for them. We try to give you the best info we’ve got :-)

  8. Hi Anon, I have missed many a clearance deal, but I came to the realization that I wanted that couple of hours with my husband each week more than I wanted those couple of hours with my coupons in order to get every deal. I can’t imagine trying to get caught up if I missed a week of cutting Qs :-) I’m really looking forward to getting a smartphone soon so that I can carry my tubs in the van but not have to miss fabulous deals. Regardless of what works for me, you have to do what works for you. I just wanted to remind everyone of this, because I am hearing of many people burning out trying to use the binder system.

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