Once again, it’s time for the annual Cheap Issue. This issue is especially big for City Pulse because it is not only the paper’s 16th anniversary, but it’s an opportunity to give City Pulse readers some of the best deals in town.
To get some knowledge about retail savings, I spoke with Kelly Gibbs, who you may recognize from the TLC show Extreme Couponing. Starting Aug. 28, Gibbs will be touring Michigan giving seminars on how to save. Although she won’t be visiting Lansing, she still took the time to answer a few questions about some of her shopping habits.
1.) When did you first get into couponing?
I first started Couponing back in 2009. I had a cousin post on her blog about all this free stuff she got with coupons, and I thought to myself, hey! I want to be able to do that too!
2.) Do you think anyone can learn how to coupon?
Absolutely! Couponing is much simpler than everyone makes it out to be. If it's a matter of space, start small. If it's a matter of diet restrictions, coupon for those items. Everyone needs toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, toilet paper, etc. Why not save money on those items?
3.) I’ve noticed that sometimes you’ll buy in bulk in order to get larger deals, how do you plan out which products to buy in bulk?
I actually recommend buying in bulk! Sales tend to go in three month cycles, so I recommend buying enough of something to last that three months until it goes back on sale.
4.) Which stores are your favorites to get deals at and why?
I love the drug stores! CVS has an excellent program called ExtraBucks where you get cash back on certain purchases. This is the key to getting that free toothpaste and shampoo! Target is another favorite because they have Target store coupons that can be used the same time as a manufacturer's coupon on one item. It's like double the savings!
5.) Now that you’ve become so good at couponing, do you ever have trouble going into a store and buying an item if it doesn’t have an included deal?
Of course! Now that I know I can get certain items free, I don't ever want to go back to paying for it! That's another reason why I'm an advocate of buying in bulk. It hurts to get something free, run out of it, and go back to the store and pay full price for it. When you can get something free, why not get a few?
6.) What are some tips you’d give to someone to change their shopping habits so they can start saving?
Start picking up items when they are on sale and adjust any meal plans around the sales. Using coupon match-up pages like the one I will discuss at the couponing workshop will do all of the work for you, telling you what coupons to use to pair up with the sales. Other than that, be patient! It takes a little time to see the savings add up when you first start, but once you have accumulated a little bit and aren't going to the store as often, you'll really see the savings.
If you are interested in seeing Gibbs at any of her upcoming events, the links are below:
Bay City – Monday, Aug. 28
Flint — Tuesday, Aug. 29
Grand Rapids — Wednesday, Aug. 30
Kalamazoo — Thursday, Aug. 31
Ann Arbor — Friday, Sept. 1