Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

November 21, 2012

Woman uses couponing hobby for holiday mission

ASHLAND — Call Sabra Back a coupon lady. You may also call her Santa’s elf or a Thanksgiving angel.

After completing two Ashland Community and Technical College couponing classes under coupon guru Melinda Hester, the King’s Daughters Medical Center food services worker bonded with co-workers to start a Facebook page, titled “Coupon Club.” The guild of girls makes a difference at the holidays — and everyday.

Back, 54, is inspired, assisting local charities like Shelter of Hope. Snipping Sunday coupons allows her to set aside free sundries and groceries she gives to the penniless served by area charities.

What began in October as a few ladies meeting in the KDMC cafeteria to share manufacturers rebates turned into a team of 132. They ask folks to post family needs on the club Facebook wall — and they step up quickly to offer help in hardship.

The coupon calling garners constant donations to area food banks and aids organizations. On one occasion a KDMC oncology department staffer got a nice deal on Barbie doll outfits. Each friend purchased a Barbie and they dressed up the toys for little girls living at a shelter. Learning an indigent woman at Shelter of Hope would soon have a baby, they hosted a shower.

Chipping in with couponing finds, 21 underprivileged children will enjoy Christmas treats this yuletide — from clothes, to toys, to fruit and candy baskets.

“This is all about sharing,” Back said, adding she is “downhearted” when her discount isn’t at least 40 percent on provisions and bountiful bargains.

On Sunday, Back scoured local supermarkets eyeing the best Butterball deals after hearing three families didn’t have turkey for Thanksgiving feasts. Earlier in the afternoon she hit CVS Pharmacy — purchasing $49 worth of products. She didn’t pay a cent.

“I got my best deal ever today,” giggled the Ashland woman, a freebie shopaholic. Back says present good buys include Christmas-scented air freshener sprays and candles, as stores roll out the specialties for season stockup.

Back, who is married to David and a grandmother of two, tries to pass along her couponing prowess to others. She likes online shopping and is already buying grandkid gifts, making the most of current free-shipping promotions and buy-one and get-one  free sales at large toy retailers.

Black Friday should be re-dubbed “Back Friday.”

“I’ll be out early. Already know what I want,” she said with a smile. “But, you know, every Sunday, when I get those coupons from the paper, that’s Black Friday for me, too.”

She welcomes everyone to Coupon Club meetings held at KDMC Café the first Monday of each month at 5:30 p.m., where they trade coupons and offers tips reiterating Back’s mantra — “don’t buy it unless it’s on sale.”

Couponing is easy — and everyone should learn to be cheap, she said prudently.

“If someone would just teach someone in the White House to coupon, we’d all be just fine,” she chuckled.

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