Grocery Shopping Binder

There’s no graceful way to splash back into a blog that’s been sadly ignored for months.  So I’m going to pretend that it’s only been a day or two and jump into my topic for today: my new grocery store binder. Yes, I’m excited about such a simple thing. I love being organized and when I find a small system that works, my heart sings. While this binder isn’t tried-and-true yet, my gut feeling tells me that it’ll work really well (I’ll update this post after I’ve used it more).

I’ve been daydreaming about something like this ever since I started grocery shopping 6 years ago. Here are my main complaints of the system (or lack of one) that I used to follow:

  1. Every week I’d have to rewrite any items I didn’t purchase the previous week (they weren’t on sale, the coupon didn’t match any sales, etc)
  2. Every week I was copying out coupon information (from physical coupons and my online MPerks) onto my grocery list.
  3. I tried to use the least amount of paper for my list, and so my list was very jumbled and I didn’t group similar items together (dairy, meat, produce, etc).
  4. I’d have a fist full of coupons that I’d be trying to look at, placing some in my “to use” fist and others got stuffed back in my purse.

I browsed online for some kind of system that’d work for me, but came up empty-handed. For a while I used a mini file to store the coupons in, but that barely helped. And so I decided to make my own system (almost everything was purchased from Staples):

DSC_6692

This is a mini-binder (8″ by 9″). It’s heavy duty, lies flat open, and sits well in the front basket of the shopping cart. I placed some verses from Matthew in the cover that talk about not worrying what we should eat or drink because God will provide. It’s a nice reminder each time I go shopping!

DSC_6684

I use overhead markers that are easily erasable but don’t smear when touched (unlike whiteboard markers). I bought these plastic dividers that you can write on. The first page has my menu plan for the week. I love the plastic pocket on the left and place the coupons I end up using in there as I shop.

DSC_6685

The second page contains my shopping list, with categories written down the inside spine. I usually shop in that order, so I have no excuse to miss any items as I go along. If I don’t purchase an item, I can leave it on my list and just erase the other items. The third page contains my MPerks coupons that I copy from online. Once again, I can leave them there if I don’t use them that week, and they are ordered into categories of how I shop the store.

DSC_6686

In my next pages, I have my different categories split up into sections with business card sheets in each section. My paper coupons go into the card holders. I try to keep the vital information visible (item, value, expiration date), but I’ve had to write the expiration date on one or two that weren’t visible.

DSC_6687

DSC_6688

Yes, I know that cheese is in the dairy section, but at my store the higher quality cheese is in the middle of the produce section.

DSC_6689

I put some sheet protectors in the back to hold coupons from other stores.

DSC_6690

I also slipped some information sheets in the back (what cuts of meat are good for what, etc).

 

So, what do you think? Too much effort for something small?  For me, it’s worth it because I grocery shop every week and am saving my family money by using coupons, being organized with my meal plan, and not missing coupons that expire in the bottom of my purse.  It’s also a time saver: no running to the store for last minute purchases, no copying down coupons week after week,  no circling the store to get missed items, and no standing in an aisle rummaging through my coupons.

How do you grocery shop? Do you have a system that works for you?

Advertisements
This entry was posted in food, organization and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Grocery Shopping Binder

  1. Joanne says:

    Good for you Ange! When I look at all the thinking and organizing that has gone into your system, I’m pretty impressed….though I must confess, I’m kind of glad we only get weekly flyers and don’t have to worry about coupon clipping and organizing!

    • Thanks, Jo! I wouldn’t mind if there was no such thing as coupons, and compared to others I don’t clip a ton. But seeing that I do save significant amounts ($17 since January 1) with not too much effort, I feel somewhat obliged to do it. 🙂

  2. Lenelle says:

    I like!!! I might have to do something similar myself. Let me know how it goes! 🙂

  3. coletrain77 says:

    Very cool, Ange! Where do you get all of your coupons? We don’t get the newspaper here so I think I miss a few. I do check online at my grocery store’s site and I do get some occasionally in flyers but I don’t get a ton. I do feel that I have to be careful though because a lot of coupons are for the more expensive products rather than the store brand which usually is just as good. Anyway, good for you! You are super organized! My coupons are stashed in a little container and before I go groceries I just check them out and see what I can use….

    • I get my coupons in a Saturday flyer. I’m sure there’s more in newspapers, but I think they’re all in the Sunday paper. I agree that you have to be careful with coupons regarding the more expensive brands. I try to limit myself to what I would normally buy (with the occasional splurge).

  4. nancynurse86 says:

    Hey Pange! Wow that looks like a really good system that works well. You should patent it! ;). Or start a home business and make and sell them. We don’t really get coupons here! So I just check the weekly flyers…

  5. Ray says:

    The ‘How to Grill a Great Steak’ article clinches it for me. It’s a winner!

  6. Lora says:

    Wow Ange. I can tell you have an organized, logical math brain! I used to have a plastic little accordian file with categories for coupons.; Problem is that I always forgot it and the coupons always expired. Now I only go to the grocery store about once a month. The rest of the time I go to BJ’s but I always use their coupons and time my regular purchases to use the coupons. I also always write my lists out in the order of the aisles in the store (that counts for something right?) Ha ha…. Anyways happy saving!

  7. Sandra says:

    Wow, Ange, I’m really impressed! This system must surely save you a lot of time and money! My ‘system’ is much simpler. I plan my meals, write up a list (and not even according to the aisles!) and update anything to the list as the week goes on. Since I do my weekly main shopping at a discount store (25% cheaper than other supermarkets) I don’t shop sales, but do keep an eye out on sales at the other supermarkets for brand-name articles that I like or meat that is on sale. I think meal planning is probably the best way to save money and reduce waste. I rarely have to throw anything out, thankfully. Let us know how it’s going! And yes, I’ve missed your blogs…but ahem…can’t say too much over here!!

  8. Like you, I’m struggling to keep up with blog posts! I lean one way and then decide to go another & I get totally unmotivated. Lol.

    I’ve been working on a similar system for my food and groceries. I am beyond impressed with yours.

    Like most couples I’m the one who tries to save money in our house and I’m like ocd organized! However my husband is the cook and does all the grocery shopping. He doesn’t like to plan meals ahead but since I’ve recently learned about matchups (store deals + coupons), he was able to do it one week and saved a ton!

    Since our personalities are different (I think most men and women differ here) and our household duties are different (here’s where we are unusual – it’s due to my illness), do you have any suggestions on how to bridge the gap and bring both our skills to the table so that we can save money on groceries?

    His suggestions are well, a typical man for ya, lol. He doesn’t want to shop at more than one store & doesn’t like coupons but he does get them for me to cut & organize. He even said, “Just pull the coupons of the stuff you want me to buy and I’ll use that as a grocery list.” I’m sure you understand that that is problematic and won’t work in saving money. Lol. I’d love to hear any suggestions from your readers or from you! Thank you so much in advance! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

    Regards,
    Michele Kelsey

    • You are in a really tough spot. I’m not sure if hard-core couponing will work for the two of you since your husband does the shopping and cooking (which is awesome of him!), but is not organized enough and has no desire to coupon.

      In my opinion, the best way that you can save money is to menu plan. I’m not sure if your husband is an impulse buyer or has to run to the store a lot for missing ingredients, but menu-planning will save on both fronts. Also, I hope your husband realizes that a menu plan can be very flexible, swapping around days and even carrying some recipes to the next week if you don’t get to them. For my lifestyle, I like to have 4-5 solid meals planned for each week.

      As far as matching up coupons and sales, it wouldn’t hurt for you to clip some really good coupons, but I wouldn’t focus on smaller ones that might not be saving you money if the item is not purchased on sale. If your store has some kind of free rewards program, that might also be a good way to save money. I don’t mean to discourage you from trying to clip coupons and match them with sales, but baby steps are best and I think your best bet is having the two of you work on having a general menu plan.

      Just my 2 cents….take it or leave it. 🙂

  9. I also forgot to mention that you had so many great ideas I book marked this page so that I can come back to it for further research and review!

    Really really great job and please keep me informed of how the binder works for you!

    Thanks,
    Michele

  10. Pingback: Update on Grocery Shopping Binder | Life at Walnut Grove

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s