Local bloggers share secrets to couponing


Three local moms are on a mission to sell couponing, a cost-clipping measure turned national rage at the register, to the Las Vegas masses.

The women blog separately but are united in their fervor for savvy shopping. They have 11 children among them and hundreds of stockpiled purchases netted from clipping coupons and matching deals, online promotions and rebates. They have been known to hand over more coupons than cash and push cartloads of freebies.

"Couponing is a game," said Jackie Landy, the force behind myvegasmommy.com. "Some people call it an extreme sport."

The TLC network has even chronicled those who take it to the max for its series "Extreme Couponing." One Ohio woman couponed her way to a 40-year supply of toilet paper and a spot on the show.

But Landy and her fellow couponers, Jen Morris and Latasha Sams, have no interest in the extreme side of their hobby.

And the women agree that it's not much of a hobby anymore.

"This is what I consider my job," said Morris, manager of the Southern Nevada division of grocerysmarts.com and founder of grocerygeeks.com. "My husband makes the money, and it's my job to make it stretch as far as I can."

Landy estimates that she spends about 40 hours a week with her blog and deal matching.

Sams, also known as the mind behind thedealfanatic.com, quit her job to care for her family and blog full time.

"I do grocery matchups when there are super awesome deals to be had," she said. "I purchase things when they are the lowest price, not when I need them."

The women's blogs are a supplement to the several online forums about coupon matching. Landy, Morris and Sams find the best local deals and advertise them.

The gist of the game is to clip manufacturers' coupons, good at most any store, and match them to local grocery ad deals. For instance, if Smith's is selling Ragu sauce for $3 for two this week and the company put out a coupon for half off a jar of Ragu, the final fee is $1.50 for two. Sometimes, a similar matchup will yield a freebie.

The women collect and clip or print several coupons at a time to bring home items at rock-bottom prices. They have variations in their approach, which Sams said can help a new couponer.

"I recommend following a blogger that best fits their style," she said.

For those who need more of a boost getting started, Landy and Morris offer assistance.

At 2 p.m. every second Saturday of the month, Landy hosts Couponing 101 at the Clark County Library, 1401 E. Flamingo Road, and strictly covers grocery stores and drugstore couponing. The two-hour class is free and open to the public. The next class is planned for April 9.

Morris manages a team of Grocery Smarts consultants who do free, in-home workshops on how to clip coupons.

The regional service was started by a Utah man who wanted to offer an option to services where shoppers pay for compiled coupon lists. Grocery Smarts equips shoppers with the know-how to clip and organize on their own using its website.

"I compare it to a Tupperware or Pampered Chef-type of thing, but we teach people how to save money," Morris said.

To schedule a party, call 948-7200.

In addition to knowing how to match up coupons, the women encourage shoppers to familiarize themselves with the individual store's coupon policies to avoid issues at the register. Landy and Sams shop around to get the best deals. Morris opts to find the store offering the best deals and make one trip.

Landy and Morris also shop at non peak times when their extra time at the register doesn't inconvenience other shoppers.

But it's not always other shoppers who are wowed by their couponing ways.

"Some of my favorite experiences are when the cashiers get just as excited as I do," Morris said. "I hand out my card to more cashiers than I do people shopping."

Couponing also involves a lot of stockpiling.

Landy has rows of goods in her home and three freezers. She figures that had she been serious about couponing when her three children were in diapers, she could have saved $3,000.

Watching for expiration dates on the coupons, and the products themselves, is part of the game.

If Landy knows she's not going to use something, she donates it. For instance, her husband has a year's supply of high-end razors, so her latest haul of the product probably will go to a family member.

"There are so many deals, you could get lost in a sale," she said.

Morris, a mother of five, slashed her grocery bill in half and made new family routines based on couponing.

"I look at the store sales every week and look at meat and produce, and I create my meals off what I purchased," she said. "It has paid off quite well."

She added that couponing has been addicting and that looking for rebates, special offers and charting trends has affected all of her spending.

"Once you are aware you don't need to pay full price for something, it trickles down," she said.

Sams said reading the fine print and consulting online forums and blogs helps keep couponing safe and fun for everyone.

"I encourage people to do ethical couponing," she said. "If (shoppers) don't, it'll ruin it for everyone."

If everyone plays nicely, Landy expects the game to reach extra innings.

"It's an evolution of our society," she said. "Even with all the publicity extreme couponing is getting, I expect it to be around."

Contact Centennial and Paradise View reporter Maggie Lillis at mlillis@viewnews.com or 477-3839.

 

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