Coupon trend growing, learn how locally

Published 12:04 am Thursday, May 12, 2011

Locals can now learn how to properly and functionally organize clipped coupons for easy access at the store at an upcoming workshop. | Courtesy photo

With two infants at home, the Caraway family of Florala knows every penny counts. So to make their dollars stretch, they’ve turned to using coupons.

And a new survey by Inmar, Inc., shows they’re not alone, thanks to the recession. In 2009 consumers used coupons at a faster clip than they did the year before – the first increase in coupon redemption in 17 years, stated the company that processes coupon transactions. Businesses issued 367 billion coupons last year, and buyers redeemed 3.3 billion – a 27 percent increase from 2008’s 2.6 billion and the highest usage since Inmar began tracking trends in 1988.

Rebecca Caraway said she uses online coupons and those from newspaper inserts to save big on baby items such as diapers and wipes.

“Personal care items, too, like shampoo, body wash and toothpaste are what we look for, too,” she said. “Now, I look for everything that I can get for free or as close to free as possible.”

To help others break into the world of coupons, the Covington County Extension Office will host a coupon organization program on Tues., May 17, from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.

“You know what using coupons is like,” said Bridgette Griffin, county extension agent. “You get a coupon, you throw it in your coupon pile, and when you are ready to head to the grocery store, you put them into your bag. When you get ready to check out, you’ve got crumpled mess of coupons that you have lost count of, and have no idea what they are for. “

Griffin said the class will teach people how to organize coupons at home before starting a market trip.

“By organizing before you shop, it can not only save you time and stress, but it can also save you money a lot of money,” she said.

“Although organizing coupons can seem like an overwhelming and difficult task, the hardest part is starting out. Once you get the system that works best for you in place, you will be able to add to it and re-organize it easily. It will wind up saving you time and money, and in the long run you will be thankful you took the time to do it.”

If you are interested in attending the program, call the extension office at 222-1125 or 334-714-1248.