Wednesday AM January 6th, 2009

A combination of shopping at discount and warehouse stores, watching sales and coupon consciousness can make a big difference in helping feed your family. Ed Mayberry talked with the author of "The Coupon Mom's Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bills in Half."

Coupon Mom book coverIn 2008, more than 315 billion grocery coupons worth $400 billion were distributed across the country, but less than one per cent of those coupons were redeemed.  But shopping wisely goes beyond clipping coupons.  It takes a bit of planning and organization.  Stephanie Nelson says there are three different kinds of shopping personalities.

"The busy shopper, and that's the shopper who probably is not able to be organized or interested in being organized, whatever—they're just doing well to get to the store.  And then the second type of shopper is probably most people — I call it the rookie shopper.  They are interested in the idea of learning these strategies, and they're willing to be a little bit organized, maybe spend half an hour planning their grocery list a week.  And then there's the varsity shopper, who is the person who is super-organized with coupons.  They think it's a fun game.  They're like me!"

Nelson says nothing makes her happier than showing others how to get a jar of pasta sauce for free by combining sales and coupons.

"The key is looking at the store ad each week to see if there are any extra promotions—'Buy three boxes of Brand X cereal and you'll get a free gallon of milk.'  Do you know how many people ignore that ad entirely, walk into the store and buy the three boxes of cereal anyway because it was on sale, but they don't get the gallon of milk because they don't even know that they could get it free?"

Ed: "Have you ever felt like, you know, you've skirted on the edge of obsession with this?"

"I'd say probably way beyond the edge!  I've channeled it by teaching it to other people, so it's helping them."

Nelson's Web site is CouponMom.com.

Bio photo of Ed Mayberry

Ed Mayberry

Local Anchor, All Things Considered

Ed Mayberry has worked in radio since 1971, with many of those years spent on the rock 'n' roll disc jockey side of the business...