BOSTON (CBS) – Coupons have been around for over 100 years (since 1909). The first coupon was a penny off CW Post’s Grape-Nuts cereal. And you can still find coupons for Grape-Nuts cereal.
And September is National Coupon Month. I know I should have brought it to your attention earlier in the month.
The Promotion Marketing Association is behind coupon month! They claim that consumers saved close to $3 billion last year by using coupons. That is not pocket change and it doesn’t get lost on the companies that issue coupons.
There is a TV show, Extreme Couponing on TLC. I admit I have not watched it but I have chatted with a few of its critics. Many of the people featured spend 30 to 35 hours a week and they save hundreds of dollars each week. I don’t have an extra 30 hours a week but you can still do very well spending a couple of hours a week.
To get started with coupons invest in a coupon guide, The Coupon Mom’s Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bills in Half: The Strategic Shopping Method Proven to Slash Food and Drugstore Costs by Stephanie Nelson. $3.99 on Amazon. Use her webpage for extra help.
Get yourself a notebook and keep track of what your family eats and uses on a regular basis. So you have a reference as to what you pay for your family’s favorite foods
A reader also recommended another website The Grocery Game, which at first glance looks very good, but they charge for their services. For me to use their system they wanted $10 a month and it covered only four stores.
The internet is a good source for coupons. Just type in the word “coupons” and all kinds of coupons are yours for the taking from groceries to furniture. Many of the chain restaurants also have coupons and specials on their websites.
Also visit the website of the manufacturer of the products you buy. They often have coupons as well.
Don’t forget magazines, food packages, the mail as well as the newspaper. This past Sunday I clipped $10 worth of coupons from the paper. $4 came in the mail. Another $16 from the internet, $2 from packages (usually hidden inside the packaging) and still another $4 from magazines. I also had several coupons for free items that were sent to me by the manufacturer.
I also got 15% off a Gardener’s Supply order on line with free shipping and I used a 50% off online coupon for a Boston market dinner for four on Labor Day and several 20% off coupons for Bed, Bath & Beyond that came in the mail. Saving me $76 for things I needed and was going to buy.
Then I shopped the specials at the grocery store, stocking up on Poland Springs water at $3.88 a case, 16 cents a bottle. We have water now if there is a power outage and for the times we want to take water in the car. Bought six cases enough for the fall and winter, saved over $4 a case. Another $24. Then the sale items I purchased amounted to another $27. I saved a total of $135 last week. I spent less than 2 hours clipping coupons.
One more thing: From Ed: I love your segment on WBZ and I just wanted to pass on a tip that you might be able to use in your Money Matters segment. I found out about an online coupon code website called Keep Cash that has coupons to all the popular online stores like Target, Dell, Sports Authority, etc.
I think it might be useful to some people out there when shopping online during the holiday season. They also have a link up to the Black Friday ads where you can sign up and get the ads early. Anyway, I hope this helps. Keep up the good work.