By Ms. Helen Tesfai, IMCOMSeptember 5, 2012
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany -- It is half past noon at the Java Café on Rhine Ordnance Barracks. The smell of fresh brewed coffee fills the air as sounds from the espresso machine and milk foamer mix with the blender crushing ice.
A few ladies, who arrived for U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern's couponing class, order their blended coffees and white chocolate mochas. All those who attend the couponing class, sponsored by Army Community Service Financial Readiness Program get 10 percent off the original price -- a special offer from the garrison's directorate of Families, Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
They grab their cups and head to couches in a cozy corner.
Waiting there is Tedy Washington, 45, from Omaha, Neb., who remembers vividly the day she started couponing.
"On April 1, this year, I officially started couponing," Washington said. "I quit my job on March 29, thinking that we were (moving) and the orders didn't come down, so I had to start figuring out where to cut some expenses."
Now, she's a successful so-called "extreme couponer," who spends roughly 40 hours each week organizing her coupons, shopping all three area commissaries and volunteering to share experiences with community members.
"I save $300 to $400 a month, compared to what I used to spend on groceries," Washington said, emphasizing her point with a nod and a smile.
Lori Sweazey, of St. Louis, Mo., read about the class on ACS's monthly email. In the first few minutes, she was excited about the program.
"My husband is deployed right now and my daughter and I keep ourselves busy," Sweazey said. "So, this is something that we could do together."
To make sure everyone was off to a good start, Charlene Sanchez-Liccardi, a garrison financial readiness assistant, explained where to find coupons, how to organize them and discussed local coupon policies.
"We want to promote savings; we're trying to show people how to save money, how to find extra money in their pocket," Sanchez-Liccardi said. "We want to make sure that the Soldiers are mission ready. If you're not financially ready, you're not going to be mission ready."
The ACS Financial Readiness Program offers a couponing class on every second Tuesday of the month. The next class is Sept. 11. For more information call DSN 493-4015 or civilian 0631-3406 4015.