Warning: Receipts and coupons are two items that will remain in your life forever.
This is a something you should come in to terms with. Now that we’ve discussed this important fact…
let’s consider a solution on how to store these (sometimes) irritating pieces of paper easily and get you some extra cash in your pocket.
Whether you keep receipts or not, every store will still give them to you. Whether you barely cut coupons, love to coupon, or never keep coupons in your home… stores will still mail them to you and coupon catalogs will still arrive at your door step. Plus being savvy and having 1-2 coupons that can save you 15% on your total purchase isn’t such a bad thing?
Since these paper trails are inevitable, let’s work out a fast and easy way to keep them in place without going crazy! Also, who doesn’t enjoy extra savings?
Remember: You shouldn’t have to spend hours looking for a receipt of that lamp you purchased two weeks ago and now doesn’t work anymore. You SHOULD be able to find that 50% coupon you needed during that big weekend sale (but some how it got lost somewhere in your car).
My Method: Mini Coupon & Receipt Binders
My binders have 3 simple rules:
I have a separate binder for coupons and a separate binder for receipts. My coupon book also has 2 additional sections for credit/gift cards and business/member cards. I do not like to keep all these cards on me.
On a daily basis, I will only keep a total of 4 cards: my debit card, credit card, driver’s license and health insurance card. I prefer this for security purposes, plus it just makes my purse feel lighter! Less stress for me as well, because not much to lose, if lost/all these cards can be replaced or canceled (if applicable)!
A quick summary of why I feel this is important from an organizational and personal stand point:
- The days that I know I’ll be taking on a shopping errand, I will take my binders with me in the car. Then, from the binder, I will only take certain receipts or coupons I need for that trip/store(s).
- This also helps keep my additional credit and gift cards safe. For example, If I have a gift card to Pottery Barn but I won’t be visiting this store for another few weeks… this card will be kept secure in my binder versus me traveling with it and then potentially losing it. The issue with gift cards is, unlike credit cards, you cannot redeem your money back. Once it’s lost, it’s gone forever. Credit cards, if lost or stolen can be tracked and your money can even be refunded to you if someone else used your card and committed fraud. See my valid points here?
Each section is labeled accordingly.
For my coupons, I have the following sections:
For my receipts, I have the following sections:
Each section is categorized, i.e. household items versus electronic receipts.
The type of labels or categories you choose, will depend on your lifestyle, so this will vary! You can definitely use the ones I have chosen as well, whatever works for you!
Supplies can be found at just two stores: Staples & Michael’s crafts. You only need 5 things:
- 1 label maker/machine to create custom labels.
- 1-2 Packets of clear post-it sticky tabs in a variety of colors.
- 1 packet of chalkboard labels were purchased from Michaels, they are from the Martha Stewart Collection.
- Clear (mini size) sheet protectors. I used 3 variations: business card, photo & gift card sizes.
- Chalk board pen for labeling the outer binder labels.
- Optional: Card stock paper/different colors to put inside the sheet protectors. This helps with visibility, but it’s not required!
[Make sure to trash the expired coupons and old receipts you do not need anymore.]
Example: I was holding onto a receipt of an electronic item I bought from Best Buy in 2013. That’s unnecessary, so I trashed it. Just by trashing the old receipts and/or expired coupons, I was able to tackle more than 70% of this clutter.
Once you’ve created the binder, make it a habit to place your coupons and receipts in here as soon as they enter your home!
If you don’t have time right away, place your receipts and coupons in a designated entryway bin and take 15 minutes/week to sort through it.
I keep a bin right at the beginning of my entryway. Here, I place any receipts or coupons that I do not have time to organize at that very moment. I will then go back to this task at another time and use my binders on a bi-weekly basis. I am not a extreme couponer however, so if you are, you may need to purchase larger binders and sheet protectors. Also, I’m only a household of one, so if you have a larger family and younger children, the size of your binders will increase as well as the time needed to create this project. Good news is, once you’ve created this binder, you’re set for an entire lifetime (unless you lose this too)!
Good luck and congratulations on taking another step in optimizing your productivity, reducing your clutter and staying organized! I hope as you complete these steps, you’ll start to feel less stressed, mores positive, and more in control of your “stuff” and spaces.