Marine Corps Air Staiton New River, N.C. --
With gas price national averages upward of $3.71 and the economy still recovering, everybody is looking to stretch their dollars a little further.
Military families have turned to coupons to save a few bucks at the grocery store.
The Coca-Cola Company introduced the first modern coupon at the beginning of the 20th century. They placed a ticket in magazines and mailed them to potential buyers for a free glass of Coca-Cola.
The idea spread and now more than a hundred years later, coupons still offer savings on everything from hair spray and diapers to steaks and soda.
Americans saved $460 billion in 2011, $500 million more than the previous year, according to http://www.nchmarketing.com. According to its website, NCH is the global leader in business solutions for the redemption, settlement and analysis of promotional offers.
TV shows like “Extreme Couponing” have shown people going through extraordinary measures, like diving in dumpsters, to collect coupons.
The commissaries across the Marine Corps now offer a rewards card where people can upload their coupons, said Frank Heffron, Marine Corps Air Station New River Commissary assistant store director. The shopper can create an account at http://www.commissaries.com and choose which coupons they want to use.
Couponers do not need to search through numerous newspaper adds to find which ones they want to use. All they have to do is to hand the card to cashiers before they start ringing up groceries. Coupons are deducted automatically from the total.
Heffron added that consumers saved more than $22,000 at the air station commissary in March. That savings was on top of the 30 percent average saving Marines and their dependents earn by just shopping at the commissary compared to out in town.
Kristi Sobolewski just started couponing at the commissary with support and help of her friends. She uses a folder system where every section of the store has a section so she can separate and organize her coupons. She said that she gets all of her coupons from the Sunday paper and online.
“I am going to save $50 on this trip,” she said.
For people who do not shop at the commissary and their favorite grocery store does not have a rewards card, websites like http://thekrazycouponlady.com have helpful tips on how to start couponing, tricks to save money and ways to keep coupons. There are also two different types of coupons: manufacturer coupons and in-store coupons. Commonly a store will have its own set of coupons it releases and manufactures will put their coupons out with the Sunday newspaper.
Depending on a store’s coupon policy, the coupons could “stack” to cut a significant amount off the price.
The commissary coupon policy does not allow stacking coupons, said Heffron. The coupons they hand out are worked out with the companies, so it’s considered a manufacturer coupon even though it says it is from the commissary.
“I have seen the extreme couponers shop here all the time,” said Heffron. “They buy more than $500 in groceries and end up paying $200. It really pays to shop with coupons.”