Fort Jackson's Army Community Service welcomed Cassandra McNeal-Harris as she taught military Families how to save hundreds or thousands of dollars using coupons in a workshop on Sept. 10. She even taught a few handy tricks on how to double or triple savings using not only paper coupons, but digital coupons and smartphone apps as well.
"It takes a lot of practice and depends on the store and cashier," McNeal-Harris said. "It gets easier but they have more guidelines than they did before."
Those guidelines she spoke about are essential to maximize savings when using coupons. She explained how each store has it's own policy regarding the number of coupons that can be accepted for specific items at one time and whether or not a certain store offers double or triple coupon values on certain days.
"Couponing requires time, discipline and organization," she said.
McNeal-Harris said how coupons are available from a variety of sources that include the internet, friends and Family members, newspapers, tear pads found in the grocery store and "peelies" which are coupons that are found on products provided by the vendor.
She passed a large green binder throughout the class to demonstrate her organization technique for coupons she frequently uses. One attendee, Kimberly Henry, was gifted a new coupon binder of her own for being the first to take her seat for the workshop.
ble you get with it," she said.
McNeal-Harris also talked about building a stockpile. While the term stock pile may sound familiar to TV watchers and disaster preppers, she encouraged to start slowly building a stock pile of items a household uses daily. This can include paper products such as toilet paper and paper towels, cleaning supplies and pet food and treats. She encouraged the class to buy for the future and know how much product the household uses and when too much has been accumulated, donate it.
She spoke about school supplies she had stockpiled throughout the year and how she then donated them to her extended Family members and her local church.
McNeal-Harris explained how easily it is to be fooled while shopping by store promotions such as 10 for $10 deals and bigger is not necessarily better. She said it can be easy to get caught up in a savings deal by purchasing 10 of certain items for $10 when the items are normally only a dollar when purchased alone and that buying a larger size product is not always cheaper than purchasing a smaller version of the same product.
She also encouraged shoppers to make sure and check your receipts for any errors or over charges.
After couponing for more than 10 years, McNeal-Harris said she and her husband are able to travel throughout the year using the savings she gets from coupon shopping. Her adventures include traveling, purchasing
"I don't pay full price for anything (when using coupons and store deals)," said McNeal-Harris. "It's worth it."