A couple of months ago, I mentioned how I came across a book called The Lazy Couponer by Jamie Chase. Since we shared a similar background, Lazy folk from Massachusetts, I kindly asked her to do a guest post for me. Those tips became the article: Top 10 Couponing Tips from the Lazy Couponer.
I promised Jamie Chase a book review and finally, I’m making good on that. (Though admittedly, you’ll get more couponing tips from the previous aforementioned post.) The biggest thing that attracted me to the book was her unique approach to Extreme Couponing. Extreme Couponing on TLC is fun to watch because you see people get $600 worth of stuff for 12 cents and laugh a little bit at their hoard of 212 toothpastes. Just because I like to watch something on television, it doesn’t mean that I want to live that life. I’m okay with only having 5 toothpastes at any given time. I don’t want to spend hours collecting and looking through coupons to match up the best deals.
Chase’s approach is much more practical. She comes from an approach of needing a couple of items and figuring out how to get them mostly for free. For example, this can include combining a store coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon on an item at CVS along with a total order coupon like a “save $4 when you spend $20”, which is fairly common for CVS (we got two of them last night for example). Some, actually most, of the couponing scenarios are a little more complicated than that. As Chase explains the key is to start off small and not try to absorb all the deals and all the coupon policies from all the stores. It’s a recipe for disaster for a coupon newbie (like myself).
I learned a lot of things in this book. However, if I had to pin it down to three things that stand out, I’d go with:
- I learned that CVS, Rite Aid, and Kmart actually have value due to their coupon policies. I had previously considered WalMart and Target the best drug store alternatives. (Well, I like to use military commissaries, but this isn’t an option for most people.)
- I learned that for something that seems simple, handing a coupon to a person, there’s an awful lot of terminology to understand.
- Finally, I learned that there are a number of websites with databases of what coupons are floating around there. If you just collect the inserts, you can use these websites to search for the deal, the insert, and the combination to best make it work.
Despite the title of The Lazy Couponer, I have to be honest… there’s a fairly steep learning curve and it is a little overwhelming. I can see why Jamie Chase teaches a class in it. It seems like it might be best absorbed in small steps. For the frugally-minded folks, this book is probably worth more than its weight in gold. For those who are entrepreneurial-minded, you might find that learning to coupon effectively is a skill that distracts you from your main focus.