Trib tested: KouponKeeper
My first thought upon seeing the KouponKeeper was, "Why didn't I think of that?" This coupon organizer is a spiral notebook filled with clear-plastic pages with pockets. Some pages have baseball card-size pockets, but I prefer the ones with four pockets (usually for 4- by 6-inch photos) or with two (for 5-by-7s). The latter is best, because I can fan out a handful of coupons and slide them all into one of those big half-page pockets. All of my pet-related coupons, for instance, are in one pocket. Now when I buy litter, I can flip to that page and quickly see whether I have a Tidy Cat coupon. It beats frantically flipping through a stack of coupons. I'm not wild about the bright blue cover, because the organizer is conspicuous as it is. I guess the Keeper has "outed" me as a penny-pincher.
I am not using the included Velcro strips to attach the Keeper to my cart. Keeping the book flat to ease the page-turning isn't necessary for me. I tossed the provided "category" labels; I prefer my own system. The must-use coupons -- for products I always need, like my favorite yogurt -- go in the front. Coupons I will use only if the product goes on sale are in the back. Being able to see all my coupons so easily should mean that, from now on, none of my "must-use" coupons will expire before I remember to use them.
At first, I thought the KouponKeeper sounded like a lifesaver for me -- a mother of two with two on the way. As a mother, though, I quickly wondered where a child would sit, because the binder-size organizer straps over the child seat of a shopping cart. While organizing the KouponKeeper, I also found the size of the clear- plastic pockets -- the same size as a baseball card -- made for a tight squeeze for most coupons. I started folding my coupons to make it easier to get them in and out of the space. The problem I ran into, however, was that I sometimes folded back the discount portion, making it difficult to tell how many of something I had to buy or how much I was going to save on my purchase. The 12 basic sections that the binder was divided into were helpful, but not complete. I had too many items that fell under miscellaneous. This category was simply too full for my liking. Perhaps if the extra pages that were provided had a place to add my own label, it would have worked better. Overall, the KouponKeeper is a good idea, but just not well executed.
It's an interesting supermarket conversation-starter but, that aside, the bulky blue binder that is the KouponKeeper didn't make my shopping experience much easier or more pleasurable. Kudos to the easy-to-sort translucent pages, which will remind some people of the sheets used to store baseball cards. But, the dividers between pages could be better marked, and all the pockets and tiny gadgets in the accessory kit ($8.95) -- scissors, a miniature calculator, a key-chain holder -- seemed unnecessary. (Am I supposed to leave my cell phone, keys and credit card sitting on a shopping cart in an open book?) Worst of all, it's going to take a lot of coupon clipping to cover the down payment on this.
The claim: The KouponKeeper is the most innovative tool for saving big with coupons. The binder of clear-plastic pocket pages holds individual coupons that can be viewed at a glance while paging through. Velcro straps secure it to the child seat of your shopping cart. Velcro pockets hold your cell phone, credit card and shopping lists.