In light of the recent economic upheaval in the United States, many parents are focusing on ways to spend less and save more money. Coupons have seen a resurgence as of late with much higher redemption rates than just a few years ago. Those same coupons have helped turn many Chattanooga parents into smart consumers.
Couponing in recent years has almost become an art form. Gone are the days of waiting for the Sunday paper, taking your coupon to the store and purchasing one item. Now it’s all about working the sales, finding the coupons and having a shopping system. There are so many websites, classes, and blogs on the subject that it has almost become overwhelming for a person who is just trying to get started.
Jennifer Gibbs, mother of three boys and resident of Hixson, delved into the coupon craze about four months ago. She says, “Before I started couponing I would buy everything at Wal-Mart. I always brought either generic or had to pay full price for items I needed.”
Since she started focusing on store sales and using coupons, Jennifer has been able to buy name brand items at many stores and pay the price that she wants to pay for them. Thought she was always a bargain hunter, Jennifer was never a big fan of coupons until a recent trip to the grocery store where she ran into a friend who mentioned the website Southern Savers to her. Having never heard of it, Jennifer explored the website when she got home.
She took tips from Southern Savers and made her first coupon trip to CVS. Coming home with $70 of merchandise and only spending $15 was what made Jennifer realize that she could save some serious cash by investing a little time and effort into using coupons and tracking store sales.
Jennifer says, “I buy items when they are on sale and pair it with a coupon for greater discounts. I love buy one get one free deals and stores that double coupons. Why pay full price for toothpaste when you can get it for free? When I see what I used to pay for items, I’m amazed.”
Sara McClure, a mother to a young son and resident of Soddy-Daisy, started using coupons in an effort to save more money so that she would be able to stay at home with her son. Her family reduced expenses but still found the grocery bills to be high.
In searching the web for tips on cutting grocery bills, Sara stumbled upon some couponing blogs. Though skeptical that it would make a difference, she took it to the test and after the first trip, she was hooked.
Of her early days of couponing, Sara says, “We probably saved about $300 a month easy. This year I have decided to keep track of my savings for each week to see how well I can do.”
She has set her allotted monthly grocery budget to just $200 and credits careful planning and stocking up on sale items with helping her to meet her goal.
She says, “One of my other favorite times was during the Kmart Double Coupon event. I got $100 worth of merchandise for 40 cents. The cashier couldn’t double my last coupon because it kept going into the negatives and the register would beep.”
Though not everyone will be able to match Sara’s sales savvy, there is no doubt that using coupons and taking better care of your money can help your family. In upcoming segments, this series will focus on some of the great benefits of using coupons (besides saving cash!), sort through some of the multitude of information available, and give you some quick tips for getting started. Stay tuned!
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