Call them crazy or call them extreme, just be sure to call them if you want in on a good deal.
Super couponers know how to get the best bang for their buck, even if others might view the practice as annoying or a waste of time.
"I felt a little awkward when I first started, going in with a binder but everybody was really nice and there were other people doing it," said Daphney Brewer, of Graysville, of her first couponing experience at Giant Eagle in Marietta.
ERIN O’NEILL The Marietta Times
Kenna Wagner clips coupons to put in her big binder Wednesday at her home in Lowell. Wagner has been using coupons for several years but only in the past year has she really become hooked on the money-saving trend.
Brewer began clipping and using coupons about a month ago at the urging of her father and with inspiration from the TLC show, "Extreme Couponing."
The series premiered in April and it follows shoppers who will go to extraordinary lengths to nab the deals of a lifetime, even if it means giving up their free time or whole rooms in their homes.
"I don't think I'm that extreme," Brewer said. "My husband makes fun of me though."
Where to find coupons
- Product packaging
- Online printable coupons
- Manufacturer's websites
- Free grocery coupon sites
- Grocery store websites
- eBay or other online auction sites
- "Junk" mail
- The phone book
- Direct mail
- Friends, family, neighbors
- "Extreme" couponing social groups
- While at the store, look for "blinkies" (red boxes), "tear pads," "peelies" (often stuck to the product), "wine tags," which can be found on any bottle type and Catalina coupons, which print out with the receipt.
Source: Times research
Get organized -Store in color-coded envelopes, a tabbed binder or even a photo album.
Collect a lot - Nab every coupon you might use; don't limit to those you just need now.
"Stack" coupons - Redeem manufacturer and store coupons at the same time.
Be smart online - Set up a separate email account for couponing.
Look beyond the supermarket -Check out discount stores, dollar stores and drug stores.
Get coupons for favorite brands - Sign up on Facebook or Twitter for exclusive deals.
Stay on track - Don't blow the cash you've saved. Instead, put it in a jar and watch the savings grow.
Source: Consumer Reports
Don't buy expensive products you don't need because you have a coupon
Coupons are free: Don't pay for coupons
Don't let coupons expire
Watch the size of the product featured in the coupon
Not taking advantage of redemption offers
Not using coupons with sale items
What started out as just a whim has now become a family affair for Brewer. Her mother and aunt have also joined in on the fun and Brewer goes every weekend to pick up extra newspapers at the Dalzell Carryout.
While she doesn't buy anything that she doesn't really need, Brewer has been able to start putting back some money through couponing, which comes in handy since the couple are building a house.
"My husband is a carpenter and I told him he's going to need to build me some extra cabinet space," she laughed.
It may sound simple enough to pick up a newspaper and clip out the coupons but there is an art form to using them to one's advantage that requires a good deal of patience and planning.
Kenna Wagner, of Lowell, has been using coupons for about eight or nine years but has been "super" couponing for only about a year. She even teaches a coupon class locally to help people learn about "stacking," "stockpiling" and store policies.
"Beginners will get something from my class and those who are seasoned pros can also take things from it," she said.
Wagner is quick to note, however, that, while it is an addictive hobby, she hasn't personally let herself get out of control.
"There's a reason (the television show) 'Hoarders' comes on right after ('Extreme Couponing')," she joked.
The thrill of a good deal is often made even better by knowing that she is able to help others.
"I like to help my family - they come and raid my stockpile - and we also give to the food pantry," Wagner said.
A?lot of the savings comes from buying items in bulk. Things like baby wipes, diapers, shampoo, and toothbrushes can be stored away indefinitely and at a cost of mere pennies on the dollar, the rush is hard to pass up.
"I think $2 is the most I've ever paid for a large box of cereal," Brewer said, explaining that she likes to shop at Giant Eagle, where coupons up to 99 cents are doubled.
Admittedly, though, Brewer is not big on stockpiling.
"I really don't like a lot of clutter," she said.
While she clips coupons out of the newspaper, Brewer has also recently discovered that the Internet is a good resource for getting coupons directly from the manufacturer and stores.
"I actually downloaded an Internet couponing toolbar that helps with organization," she said. "In the beginning I wasn't very organized at all but now I sit down and organize everything one day a week."
Brewer said that she prefers to shop locally at some of the smaller stores in order to help the community and, so far, the experience has been positive.
"Everyone is really nice about it," she said.
Couponing takes a certain kind of personality, as Wagner will readily admit.
"I was an organized person before I?started this but it definitely takes a lot of planning and organization," she said. "You just kind of need to figure out what works for you."
Collecting and redeeming coupons has even become so popular that many social media websites attract like-minded savvy shoppers.
Local groups can be found on Facebook, including "Coupon Group Marietta Ohio," "FREE Coupon Exchange page" and "Lowell Coupon Exchange."
Wagner also sends expired coupons to military overseas through the Overseas Coupon Program (www.ocpnet.org).
"They can use coupons up to six months after they expire on base,"?Wagner said.
The program accepts manufacturer coupons only and the coupons cannot be used in the states, only overseas.
Wagner, who can be in and out of a store in 20 minutes, also offers another tip:
"I have a rule of thumb that every day I?walk to my pantry and I?pull something out and call the 800 number or email them and tell them something about their product - good or bad - and they send me coupons and things," she said.
"It's a good feeling when you open the mail box and there are more coupons and free stuff than there are bills."