If You Go
What: Couponing Workshop When: 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 19
Where: Trinity Presbyterian Church, Statesboro, Ga. Cost: $10 at the door
Information: www.southernsavers.com Money-saving maven Necessity drives a young mom to be more inventive in stretching a buck
As a young mother on a budget, Jenny Martin learned to cash in on the savings available by clipping grocery store coupons.
She found that by watching supermarket ads and capitalizing on coupon deals, she could save as much as $400 monthly on groceries.
"The average family's coupon savings can equal a 10 to 15 percent raise," she contends.
Martin will share her expertise Saturday, Nov. 19, at a money-saving workshop at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Statesboro, Ga., to benefit Trinity Christian School.
During the approximately three-hour session shoppers can learn how to use coupons to drastically cut their expenses.
"The average savings after attending a workshop is $250 a month for a family of four," Martin said. "Learning how to save the money you already have is one of the best things you can do for your family in today's economy."
Originally from Florida, Martin and her husband moved to Hardeeville, S.C., eight years ago where she worked as a home health nurse in Beaufort, Jasper and Hampton counties.
After a stint in Bluffton, the couple moved to Columbia five years ago where Martin became the stay-at-home mom to three daughters.
"It was a low point financially," she recalled. "We couldn't afford health insurance and when we needed a new roof for the house that was the last
The financial crunch launched Martin on a
mission that would evolve into a new career.
"I'm a numbers person," she said. "I've always been that way."
Martin became so adept at scoring savings on store specials that she once bought $100 worth of merchandise for 25 cents at a CVS pharmacy.
Martin began sharing her savings savvy with friends and then started a blog about three years ago to trade information on the Web.
"I think we see couponing on the rise every time we're in a recession," she said, with surveys showing a 20 percent jump in coupon usage from 2009 to 2010.
"It started as a hobby," she admitted. "I didn't have any plans for it becoming any bigger, but it kind of took over our lives."
While there's a gold mine in savings to be found through couponing Martin said don't stress out about it.
"If you can't handle coupons don't — just buy when it's on sale," she suggested. "You can make that savings work for you."
Money-saving strategies from Jenny Martin
Eighty-eight percent of coupons are released in Sunday editions of your local newspaper. "Getting a newspaper is one of the requirements," Martin said. Another source — All You Magazine, which contains $50 to $70 in coupons in every issue.
"You have to know what a good price is for an item — you can't rely on the store to tell you that," she said. "I have to be a smart shopper and know what a good price is." Coupons are part of a grand marketing plan with a focus on driving sales in a store.
Brand loyalty is going to cost you more in the end. "What you're doing is putting on blinders in only looking for deals on that item," Martin said. She cites the example of two dishwasher detergents, Cascade and Finish. The lowest price for Cascade in either liquid or powder is $2.99. Not so with Finish. "If you wait for the right time and if you have the right coupon it's free," Martin said.
"The biggest part of teaching people to save money with coupons is first thing you don't need to be in a super center to save money, you just need to be in a grocery store," Martin said. Stores are reimbursed by the product manufacturer for the discount given to the consumer. "They're not losing money in the end so they love it," when shoppers use coupons. ."
Ruth Ragland is a freelance writer in Beaufort, S.C., and she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.