by Rebekah Wicke
Clip, clip. Snip, snip. Ca-ching, ca-ching. That’s the sound of saving money. For some Hanover area locals, couponing is not only a way to save money, but it’s also a thrill.
“Couponing can be a great way to get a lot of products for very cheap and donate to charity,” says Danielle Lewe, a former couponer from Hanover.
Couponing first gained national attention when the television show Extreme Couponing first aired in 2010. Since then, it hasn’t been all that uncommon to see people with overflowing carts lined up at the grocery store, binder of coupons in tow.
“Obviously couponing has been around for ages, but it first caught my eye when I saw some friends doing small hauls, saving money, and sharing on Facebook. Who doesn’t want to save money?” says Kristi Sentz, a local couponer.
From gathering inserts to clipping coupons to organizing them and executing a grocery “haul,” couponing, on any scale, is a major time commitment. According to Sentz, who teaches online couponing classes, the key is to start small.
“Get four papers each week to start building up your inserts and pick one store to master. Take a class, follow national bloggers, and join store specific Facebook groups. Never be afraid to ask questions,” she recommends.
Not only does couponing take a lot time and patience, but it’s also complicated. To be able to get the most out of their hauls, couponers have to calculate savings and plan their shopping trips around certain sales and deals. But, most of the time, the time and energy pays off.
“Anything free is a great deal! But my favorite is when I get paid to take the items or when I earn free gas! Not having to pay for gas is an added bonus in saving,” explains Sentz.
And in today’s economies, families and individuals alike can benefit from saving money in any way that they can. That’s what makes it so addicting, according to Danielle Lewe.
“Couponers get a big thrill when they go into a store and get $200 of products for a few dollars or even get paid to buy products,” she explains.
Lewe, who used to teach coupon classes, gave up couponing because, although it resulted in big savings for her and her family, many of the items that she would get with coupons were not always the healthiest.
“I used to coupon, but then I realized that it was all stuff for unhealthy things that were processed and about a year ago, I gave up 90% of processed foods and started eating a clean eating diet… which are things that are very difficult to find coupons for,” she describes.
Instead, now she focuses on being not just being frugal, but also making healthy decisions. Still, she understands the allure of couponing.
For some, couponing has been a godsend, allowing them to save a lot of money for their families in times of need.
And for others, it’s all about the rush, being able to walk out of a grocery store with hundreds of dollars of products that they paid only a few dollars for.