Coupon clipping popularity growing

“I’ve been using coupons about six months,” said Allyson Sutton, “but I’m here to learn how to stack them.”

Sutton works two jobs — one as a bus driver and the other as a bookkeeper — so time is an issue.

Time is what it takes to save money using the coupon method when shopping. Still, she was at the coupon clipping workshop at One Nineteen Health & Wellness in Greystone.

Now, I’m a skeptic, the one who tosses all mailbox and newspaper flyers into the trash. Stack, she said? Seems saving money is a science, and has a formula.

More than 40 registrants gathered. The average age seemed to be thirty-something. Many appeared to be stay-at-home moms, people on fixed incomes, and jobless, a few carrying babies. What an attentive, serious group they were. Presenters Tracy Lyle and Brenda Coyle handed out coupon flyers.

“The sky’s the limit,” said Coyle. “Coupons will change the way you look at shopping. Don’t leave home without them.”

She showed off a shopping bag, and a pair of scissors on a string. Inside the bag is a tub of coupons.

These are a few tips I picked up:

uBuy more than one newspaper to clip more coupons.

uShop with a plan, menus made, list in hand.

uBe willing to stockpile.

uGet children involved, motivated by lower cost at the register.

uOrganize, alphabetizing coupons in a holder, keeping it in your car.

uConsider the driving distance cost versus savings.

uOnly buy what you might purchase without coupons.

uPrint coupons from Web sites.

uKeep a list of item sizes and colors in purse for unadvertised sales.

uStack coupons. Stacking means you shop stores who take more than one coupon per item. For example, you may use a manufacturer’s coupon, a store coupon, and a competitor store’s coupon for one item.

The result is a purchase at a reduced price. Publix at Lee Branch seems to be queen of the coupon game, offering BOGOs (buy one get one free), and recognizing stacking, plus regular discounts for seniors.

Go to their customer service to pick up flyers. Publix competitor stores are Target, Walgreens, Piggly Wiggly and Winn Dixie.

A few Web sites offering coupons are iHeartPublix.com, BirminghamMoms.com, Becentsable.com.

Some coupon Web sites charge a dollar to join. Given our economy all that’s on a family’s mind today, maybe the stores should save themselves time and trouble by just lowering prices for everyone?

Gladys Hodge Sherrer can be reached by e–mail at gsherrer@hotmail.com.