When it comes to saving money, experience helps.
But so do flexibility, networking and creativity.
“It physically pains me to pay full price for anything,” Jody Williams tells people.
She and Angie Green were teaching a couponing class to a dozen adults recently, sharing tips they learned from practicing out in the real world: Coupons2 Ca$h.
“We are going to show you where to go to get these things for free,” Williams told the class, as Green showed them a screen of full items they could get.
For example, both Green and Williams like to send greeting cards. Nice ones. But it’s been a long time since either has paid for one.
Besides the traditional sources of coupons like the weekend paper, the instructors said the Internet is a gold mine of savings.
Coca-Cola has a great rewards program online, Green said. When there are bonuses for double points, just getting the numbers off the inside of two refrigerator packs of Diet Coke can earn a free 20-ounce pop certificate.
Williams said the code number is on the part of the box some people throw away. Don’t throw it away.
In fact, that experience Green and Williams bring to the kitchen table are part of the value in getting to take a couponing class.
“Make sure the box says “Kellogg’s Family Rewards” on it,” Green warned about the Kellogg’s rewards program.
Green had purchased some Pop Tarts that didn’t have the label, and she received no points. She wants her students to learn from her mistakes.
The instructors also listed sites they found to be reputable.
And though they taught their students how to save time searching for savings, it seemed inescapable that there was going to be time required to save money.
“But it’s worth it,” said Lisa Lott of Ottumwa when the class had ended for the night, “because of all the money I save.”
The couponing student said even her husband has noticed less money being spent to buy groceries — the same amount of groceries.
“I only ever went to big box stores,” she said.
She would pass the supermarket half a mile from her house as she made the drive 10 miles to a big discount store.
“I thought I was saving money,” she said. “But I wasn’t. [From] as soon as we started [this class], I haven’t been inside a big box store.”
Sometimes, it isn’t fun to print off or cut out coupons, and there may be periods of time you just don’t want to do it, she said. You don’t have to. Just remember, she said, you can always start up again.
“My goal for this year is to pay nothing for holiday gifts — only shipping,” said Williams. “Take small steps toward your goals.”
She and Green say those taking their class will “recoup” the tuition cost in savings.
Coupons2 Ca$h class
The Coupons2 Ca$h class is being offered Indian Hills Community College, Ottumwa Campus, Mondays starting February 25. To register, visit www.indianhills.edu.
Starting Feb. 8, the class for novices will be available Mondays at The Vine coffee house on Jefferson Street. Call Angie at 641-683-3582 or Jody at 641-684-6105 and leave a message.