I'm A Coupon Rockstar!

I recently got to speak with Elizabeth from couponsherpa.com and answer some extreme couponing questions. She has put together a series called Coupon Rockstars.

Coupon Sherpa has tracked down the true superstars of the coupon world to provide you with the latest tips and tricks. Our new friends tell you how and why they got started, how much time they spend on couponing, which stores offer the best coupons, and much more.

Below is the article, and you can visit her site and view the article here as well.

Thanks for the great questions Elizabeth!

1. How did you become interested in coupon clipping and when did you start?
I started couponing two-and-a-half years ago and I became interested because my husband’s employer was doing a round of lay-offs. I am a stay-at-home mom, and knew that if he lost his job, things would get REAL tough financially and I might have to get a job. I wanted to prepare for the worst.

2. What is your most embarrassing coupon moment?
Oh, that one...I was doing a major shopping trip and had probably 100+ coupons total. I got my final price down to under $5 -- It was like $3.45 or something -- and I had no money...for real. I had forgotten my ATM card at home, did not bring my purse since I was SURE I had calculated my totals correctly...but boy was I wrong. So after all that ringing up of my groceries, and my billions of coupons, I had to cancel the entire order since I could not pay....a mere $3.45. I had no payment source other than my coupons! :-(

3. How many hours per week do you spend coupon clipping, searching for deals, etc.?
15 to 20 hours

4. How do you organize all of your coupons?
I use the binder method. All my coupons are in two zippered, three-ring binders with baseball card dividers. One for food, one for non-food.

5. Where do you find most of your coupons?
The Sunday newspaper and an online clipping service.

6. How has couponing affected your family and friends?
My friends and family are often the recipients of many of my stockpile items and gift baskets. They have seen my couponing become as much a part of my life as breathing in and out. They are always asking, "What’s free this week?" or "What is your latest deal?" They know I will never leave home without my binders, and also know that if we are just "running in to a store to get something" that I might be a while!

7. What's the best tip you can give to someone interested in becoming a couponer?
The biggest tip I can give is to be patient. My stockpile was not built overnight -- It took two years. BUT, if you consistently are getting coupons week after week and are watching for the sale that matches up to your coupons week after week, and ONLY buying when items are at ROCK bottom with a sale and coupon combo, you will build a stockpile: So be patient and consistent.

8. What is the best shopping trip you ever had? How much were you able to get for what price?
The best shopping trip I ever had was while I was on vacation. Yes, I always bring my coupons with me on vacation too. I came across a grocery store that was going out of business and everything was 50% off and they were still taking manufacturer coupons and doubling them!! I ended up with $1,500 worth of groceries and non-perishable food items, and I paid only $145 for all of it. I still have some of the paper plates two years later.

9. What do you take into account when making purchases with coupons? (For example, do you try to combine deals, BOGO offers, etc.?)
I will only buy an item if it is something I would normally use within that category of products -- meaning laundry soap or deodorant etc. I never buy an item just because I have a coupon for it. When possible, I try to combine a store sale with a coupon, with a Catalina and sometimes even a mail-in rebate or two.

10. Have you ever reached a point where you feel couponing has consumed your life and become overwhelming?
No, but when I do feel tired from doing deals, I just take a break from shopping. That’s the beauty of having a stockpile. I can shop when I want to shop, not because I have to.

11. When did you begin teaching your children about couponing? How do you do this?
My son has been cutting coupons with me since he learned how to use scissors. He knows that we always use a coupon and, for the most part, we won't buy an item unless we have a coupon for it AND its on sale. He has learned to be patient too. I say teach them always when you are shopping and, even more importantly, before you go to the store, teach them to compare different store ads.

12. What is your favorite store to shop with coupons and why?
My favorite store to shop at is Shoprite. They double coupons, have AMAZING sales, and they have lots of Catalina promotions that I can roll into one another. I find the store layout easy and its location is VERY convenient to me, and all the staff are very nice, too.

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