Extreme couponing: East Texans push back on tough economy

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POSTED: Monday, November 14, 2011 - 11:15pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - 11:45am

People are doing what they can to save a buck in this poor economy.

Wile some are cutting back and buying less, other East Texans are buying in bulk and going to the extreme to ease their money woes.

Extreme couponer Rachel Stevens thinks "there are more people couponing now more than ever."

Research agrees. According to NCH Marketing, shoppers saved $3.7 billion using coupons in 2010. That's a billion dollars more saved by shoppers using coupons than in 2008 when the economy tanked.

And some people are in such a crunch for cash, they've even broken the law to save money. Reports of stolen newspapers and fake coupons have popped up here in East Texas and all over the country. However, stealing is something Stevens preaches to her students not to do.

Stores make money on goods with or without coupons.

This is how it works: Manufacturers hire a research company to deliver data, then the manufacturer makes new coupons according to that information. Then, people like Stevens use the coupons when they're shopping. The store sorts the used coupons and sends it back to the manufacturer for a refund.

During that process, other shoppers are sometimes left nothing when the shelves are cleared by extreme couponers. To counteract, stores have tightened up on couponers in this tough economy by limiting the amount of coupons you can use. Stores and manufacturers are trying to keep this from happening with coupon limits.

Mrs. Stevens warns to check your limits and "know your coupon policies."

Jennifer Deegan, an understudy of Stevens from Lindale, says most couponers are taking extra items they get by couponing to the needy.

But does extreme couponing hurt the local and national economy?

Someone has to get the short end of the stick right?

Stevens doesn't think so. She says "manufacturers want you to use their products." Marketing giant Advertising Age agrees.

They found 87 percent of all shoppers use coupons, making it an extremely effective advertisement for manufacturers.

And local stores support clipping coupons.

Kroger released a statement to KETK:

"We welcome customers to use coupons to maximize their savings when shopping with us."

Most of us don't have time to spend hours stockpiling coupons and going on shopping sprees. But, using even a few could add up to impressive savings.

According to Mrs. Stevens, "the average person who puts coupons with everyday regular prices...is gonna save about 19%."

For families like Mrs. Deegan's paying full price is not an option. With a household of five including an autistic son, therapy and buying specific foods for his special needs can strain the budget.

Using coupons, Deegan managed to saved $545 in one trip to the store, while Mrs. Stevens saved just under $1,000.

After couponing so long Deegan tell us there is no way she can even stomach paying full price for anything again.

And couponing isn't just for families with little to no money.

In fact, it's far from it. Studies show the average shopper using coupons has a household income of $70,000 and higher.

If you do decide to start couponing, just keep the band aids on standby.  You're bound to get a paper cut at some point.

For those interested, Mrs. Stevens teachers extreme couponing. You can find her information below. We also included a little sampling of her work.

Rachel Stevens:

903-571-0509

madmomof4@yahoo.com

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Another way I get great coupons is e-mailing the manufacturer directly and telling them how much you enjoy their product. You’d be surprised what they will send you in the mail for some positive feedback. I get "free samples" as well as money saving coupons through Printapons

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