For The Independent
Saving money is something everyone enjoys, and good deals are always welcome, but with shows like “Extreme Couponing” on television, it may seem like saving money on everyday items is a full-time job.
In a class at the Fallsburg Community Center on Saturday, attendees gained knowledge about how to save money when grocery, retail and online shopping, along with information on homemade cleaning supplies and medicinal remedies using household items like vinegar and baking soda.
Debra Foster and her sister, Barbie Price, were approached by Lawrence County community builder Angie Chaney to lead the class. “Many people want to do it but need a little guidance on how to begin,” Foster said.
Foster said seven years ago she saw an interview on television with Coupon Mom, a woman who runs her own couponing website. After seeing the interview, Foster joined the Coupon Mom site and started her couponing journey.
Foster said the easiest way to save money is to organize food, cleaning and hygiene products. “I started getting organized and realized I had 15 cans of peas,” she said. “Who needs that much?”
Foster said if people realize he they have too much of something and are afraid they cannot use it all before it expires, donating those items is a great option.
Expired coupons can also be donated. The Daughters of American Revolution collect expired manufacturers coupons up to a year and send those to military bases where families can use them. The Fallsburg Country Store has a drop box for anyone who wants to drop off expired coupons.
Foster says it is her goal with each shopping trip to save at least half her total bill. She doesn’t keep track of how much she has saved in total, but Foster believes she has saved thousands of dollars with couponing.
“One shopping trip was a total bill of approximately $220 and I paid about $90,” she said. “I call that a success.” Foster says she will never be an “extreme couponer.”
“I don’t think that is realistic for the majority of us that do it. I work full time and don’t want to spend every free moment with couponing. I also believe in saving some for others. I don’t want to clear a shelf of everything and leave nothing for someone else trying to save.”
Foster said her best advice for couponers is to start buying Sunday newspapers. “I always buy at least two,” Foster said. “Watch the sales papers and buy items when they go on sale. It takes time, but you can slowly build your stockpile.”
Foster also advised her class to get gas at places that use rewards systems.
“I shop at Kroger a lot and always make sure to use my fuel rewards points to get cents off when I gas up,” Foster said.
“At times that’s 20 cents a gallon.” In addition to clipping coupons, Foster uses Ebates, a site that reimburses online shopper for a percentage of what they pay for items on certain websites. She says she has received more than $555 in payback from Ebates. Chaney has already put what she learned at the class to use, doubling her savings on a trip to a dollar store.
“The most interesting thing I learned was that you can get coupons worth more from other states where the cost of living is more,” Chaney said. “I also didn’t know that you can use manufacturer’s coupons at the Dollar Tree. Jackpot!”
Foster and Price also shared the recipe they use for homemade laundry detergent that only costs four cents per load. Foster will be leading another class for the Lawrence County community building group in the near future. The class will cover essential oils including natural ways to heal and prevent sickness.