So let us look at the resources that I am going to use.
1. My Menu
ProTip: Buy enough to make a meal and a half. When you are cooking dinner, you want to make enough for everyone to eat tonight and then to have some leftover for lunch on another day. When you do this, you aren't just knocking out one meal, but 2. Also, instead of waiting till everyone is finished, then putting the rest away for tomorrow, take the "leftovers" out before serving. This works better because modern humans eat to fill the container they are. So when you make a lot for dinner, you tend to eat a lot for dinner. When you take out for tomorrow right after cooking, you are storing your food at optimum temperature and inhibiting the growth of bacteria, in addition to controlling your portions, which is super helpful if you are attempting to manage your weight.
2. Couponing Binder
- Binder - Price: $7.99 to $16.99
Ask yourself: How into this do I want to get? Do I just need something to get by for an occasional couponing trip of do I want to prep for the Apocalypse? If it is the former, the cheapest zipper binder I've found is, surprisingly, at Kmart for (currently) on'y $7.99. It's called the "Everyday Zipper Binder" and is perfectly adequate for all of your couponing needs. It has three rings, one interior pocket and one zipper to keep all that loose junk from falling out.
If it is the latter, the best value you can get Walmart's Case-It zipper binders, which run about $15. I prefer this type because they tend to have extra storage, be bigger, and have a handle or a carrying strap.
Be aware that these are not affiliate links. I don't get anything if you buy these binders. These are just the lowest prices I've found after scouring Amazon, office supply stores, and the like. Don't feel that you always have to buy retail. Binders are often donated to thrift stores at school year end. The one I use came from a Jimmy Hale Mission thrift store and cost $2 and it has everything I need.
- Pencil Pouch -Price: $1
If your binder doesn't have one included when you buy it, then go buy one. They cost a dollar. You can do it. In that pouch you need...
- Scissors - Price: 2/$1
A pair of dedicated couponing scissors. Do NOT loan these out to your kids to cut stuff up for a project or use them to clip something up in the kitchen or whatever if you are a person that forgets to put things back. I am one of those people. The second those scissors leave my binder for anything other than couponing, I may as well head back to dollar tree to pick up another couple of pairs. You will need these for trimming edges off messy coupons and for relieving individuals from their inserts. Some people go all out and get a paper cutter. Whatever floats your boat. For me, there's not enough of a convenience factor to justify the cost.
- Writing Utensil - Price: $1-$2
Don't underestimate the Dollar Tree. They have pretty good quality clickable pens that are only 8/$1. Permenant markers are 2 or 4/$1. Like the scissors, the second I use this pen for something else, it is gone, so I recommend one (or 8) just for your kit. I also recommend a sharpie. When I am price matching something at Walmart, I will write the pm price on the item so I don't forget it as it rolls towards the register.
- Sheet Protectors - Price: $5
You can get a 50 count pack for $5 at Walmart. Depending on how many you want, you can get a lower price per unit, but a higher out of pocket cost. For me, 50 was plenty. I use these to store whole inserts, coupon flyers that come in the mail, sale paper, and my couponing booklet, which contains copies of the coupoing policies for the stores that I shop at most frequently.
- Trading Card Pages - Price: $4.98
Trading card pages (35/$4.98) can help you keep track of coupons that you have already clipped, peelies, CATs, etc. Some people prefer to use 4x6 or 5x7 photo pages (10/$3.47) so they don't have to fold their large or oddly shaped coupons. There are also pages created specifically for coupons that are about $7.98 for 40 sheets of varying storage capacity. I prefer a mixture of both, but if you are creating a kit on a budget, the trading card pages give you most storage space for the lowest cost. You can always pick up the other types later.
- The Fancher Education "Sensible Savings and Rational Rewards" couponing booklet - Price: $5
This booklet contains all you need to know to get started couponing. You have pages on grocery store math, which mobile apps are a must, detailed guides on CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Publix, and Kmart, and store policies for the most commonly shopped at stores. A full listing of included topics and page previews are found on the Couponing Kits Page. The best part is, when I update the booklet, you get a free copy of the updates. This will be important when Walgreens' acquisition of Rite Aid is complete and they change policies.
- Store Policies - Price: Free
If you choose to not buy the booklet, then you do need to have the store policies for your favorite retailer printed out and on hand. I keep mine stored in my page protectors, just to keep it easy. No hole punching for me! You can find links to most of those stores on the Resources page. This is a must. Cashiers are just people. Not all of them are experienced. Not all of them care. Some of them are simply mistaken. At some point either you or the cashier will make a policy error. When this happens, if you have your policies on you, it will be no big thing to flip over to the correct page and review where the problem is.