Getting the most out of your coupons -

Getting the most out of your coupons

Free groceries!?  Dedicated couponers know how to make it happen.

$3.00 packs of diapers.  Free shampoo.  Those that get the most out of their clippings can walk away with carts full of groceries at half the cost, and the savings can add up to hundreds of dollars. 

The U.S. Department of Education is expecting food prices at grocery stores to increase 4 to 5% from last year.  At a time when every dollar counts, it's more important than ever to find ways to cut expenses. Yet people are throwing tons of coupons away every Sunday - free money, if you ask people like Brandy McCain.  She has become a coupon expert, and is now teaching others how to score the best deals.

McCain's Cost Cutters coupon classes stay booked with people wanting to learn how to clip and save. "People are in debt, people are having a hard time making it," McCain explains. Her philosophy: Free is best.  Next best: Pay as little as possible. 

Couponing "student" Jessica Martin is a nurse, and loves to find the sales. "I have about 15 Gain right now, and I paid about $2 a piece for each one."

Savings like that come from what's called "stacking:" finding a good deal, and then stacking a coupon on top of it for optimal savings.  For example, finding a box of Colgate toothpaste on sale for a dollar, and then using a $1.00 off coupon: A free tube of toothpaste!

But in order to score the deals, you must be prepared, and organized.  A binder to store your coupons is key.  McCain keeps a binder full of coupons with a shopping list on the front and back.  She has a coupon for everything she plans to buy.  We went along on a recent trip to Kroger to see how it works. 

McCain had Covergirl coupons that say she must buy two Covergirl face tools in order to get $8.00 off.  Kroger already has a sale offering any face tool for $2.18.  Two face tools would come to $4.36 with the special.  But with the $8.00 off coupon, she actually made $3.64. 
That's called a "money maker." McCain had four of those coupons, which means she made a total of $14.56 on that deal.  Depending on the manager, Kroger will give her that money back.  But McCain opts to put it toward the cost of the rest of the items in her buggy. "Knowledge is power when it comes to the game of couponing," says McCain.

On the same shopping trip, McCain found just about everything on her shopping list, including 11 packages of Kandoo baby wipes - all for free, with coupons.  By the time she handed over her Kroger loyalty card and coupons, McCain paid only $33.67 for a cart full of goods that would have cost $237.13.  Total savings: 88%. 

Some couponers know the tricks and work them over and over.  It's the basis for the popular TLC reality show, "Extreme Couponing."  But McCain says the "reality" show is actually pretty unrealistic, featuring self-proclaimed "shelf clearers" who take hundreds of items of shelves just because they have coupons to make all of the items free.  "I buy enough for me and one other person and that is good enough.  You don't need to buy 60 things of mustard."

Copyright 2012 America Now. All rights reserved.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Fugitive Friday: Central Virginia's Most Wanted

    Fugitive Friday: Central Virginia's Most Wanted

    Friday, August 29 2014 10:04 AM EDT2014-08-29 14:04:54 GMT
    Fugitive Fridays tracks down Central Virginia's most wanted. Take a look at the photos and see if you can help police track down these suspects.
    Fugitive Friday helps track down Central Virginia's Most Wanted.
  • Six deadly foods for dogs

    Six deadly foods for dogs

    Every pet owner knows a dog can get into just about anything around the house. One woman found that out the hard way when her dog ate a bunch of grapes! Turns out, that's one of the most dangerous foods
    Every pet owner knows a dog can get into just about anything around the house. But these common snacks could be fatal for Fido.
  • Physicians warn against giving melatonin to children

    Physicians warn against giving melatonin to children

    Parents desperate to get their troubled sleepers to bed are turning to synthetic melatonin, which is a supplement sold over the counter. But expert warn it could have adverse effects on child development.
    Many adults turn to sleep aids like melatonin, but now more parents are giving them to their kids, too. We talked to physicians to see what they had to say about how it could affect your child's development.
Powered by WorldNow