Secret Savings: Coupons

November 6, 2008 4:44:00 AM PST
The coupon queen and local mom Jill Cataldo shows you ways to save big bucks. Cataldo teaches the average consumer how to stack coupons and how to maximize your savings through coupon websites. Her class is called "Super-Couponing." Tips:
  • Save all your coupon inserts

    If you only cut out the coupons you think you'll need, you will be throwing away coupons for items that will be free later.

    (An example I use in my classes is to hold up 3 coupons for $1 off pasta, $1 off frozen vegetables, $1 off soap -- and ask people "What happens when these items go on sale for $1? They're FREE. The point here is that if you cut only the coupons you need in a particular week, you may have thrown those 3 away -- and essentially thrown away free items.)

  • Coupon value increases as you get closer to expiration date

    The week you get your coupons in the paper is not necessarily the best week to use the coupons in the store. Their real value increases as they get closer to their expiration date.

    Stores know which coupons are coming out in the paper each week, and they also know most people are inclined to cut them out and use them the week they arrive. So, those items are rarely at their lowest rock-bottom sale price the week the coupons are in the paper. Their real value increases as they get closer to their expiration date.

  • Stack coupons for bigger savings

    Many stores will let you combine a store coupon and a manufacturer coupon for bigger savings. (For example: if you use a $3 Target coupon and a $2 manufacturer coupon for the same item, you get $5 savings.)

For more information visit supercouponing.com.

Jill Cataldo's Bio

I became a serious coupon user in September, 2006 when we found out we were going to have another baby. I started using the internet to track store sales and learned the best time to use coupons from the newspaper and internet in conjunction with those sales. This system completely changed the way I shopped. I had been a "typical" coupon user that would look at coupons each week, cut out the ones I thought I'd use, and then throw the rest away. It quickly became clear why that was a bad idea.

I learned that grocery stores have a 12-week cycle in which everything in the store is at its lowest price point. When that happens, that's the best time to swoop in and buy that item for an even bigger discount using the coupons and store discounts that are available. I also learned that most stores will let you combine a store coupon with a manufacturer's coupon -- this is called "stacking," and it's a big component in bringing your total grocery bill down. Fast-forward almost two years... I have saved thousands of dollars on groceries. I am astounded at how many items you can get for free by matching high-value coupons to low-priced sales. And I love spreading the word about how easy and fun it is to save money with coupons. With the economy worsening and prices rising, many people are looking for ways to cut costs and trim budgets.

In June, the Chicago Sun-Times asked readers for tips on how to save money on groceries. I wrote a short email explaining that I used a couponing website to track sales and match them to the coupons in the newspaper -- a system that is easy for anyone to follow. That turned into a feature piece on me, which resulted in six (!) follow-up pieces in the Sun-Times, appearances on numerous Chicago radio stations, a recurring segment on the Jonathon Brandmeier radio show Tuesday mornings in Chicago, and several television news features. Many local papers continue to share my story, as what I'm doing seems to resonate with a lot of people looking to save money in this current economic state.

I decided to teach a couponing class through our library in August, 2008. The library anticipated 20-30 people would attend. However, the local buzz for the class rapidly grew... the class was moved to a church, and ultimately 162 people registered, breaking the library's record for the most participants for an adult program! Many more libraries have followed, and even more are in the works. And www.supercouponing.com was born!

It reached a point where it seemed almost everyone I spoke with insisted I start a blog. Initially, I wasn't sure I needed a blog, but now it's taken on a life of its own with weekly deals, a regular base of readers, and a place for me to post my thoughts on couponing in general. So come along with me and enjoy this crazy coupon ride..!

Inquiries? Contact me at jill@supercouponing.com.

For more information on Jill visit her website at JillCataldo.com.


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