GREENCASTLE, Pa. — Times are tough for just about everyone, but two stay-at-home moms have learned how to stretch a buck in today’s tight economy.
Judy Chatterton of Greencastle and Millicent Frick of Cascade started clipping coupons about five years ago out of pure necessity.
Since then, their pantries are overflowing, and they are sharing their secrets with others.
“We basically were trying to make the most of our money because both of us live off one income — our husbands’ income,” Chatterton said.
Frick’s husband had just gotten out of the military and began commuting to the Washington, D.C., area when gas prices started to skyrocket.
“That was a really good encourager for me to try to figure this out because we were paying so much money in gas for him to go to work,” Frick said.
At about the same time, Chatterton had a turning point in her family, too. Her sister was going through a divorce and she moved to Greencastle with her children.
Chatterton said she was taking care of her children and her sister’s children, and didn’t have enough money to go around.
“I remember overdrawing our bank account, and that’s when we both taught ourselves how to do couponing,” she said.
They started couponing in 2008, and the women have it down to a science.
“We start with sale fliers and target what we consider a good deal, then we go to a coupon data base like hotcouponworld.com and look for coupons to go with the deal,” Chatterton said. “We think a good deal is 50 percent off to free.”
While Chatterton and Frick are coupon-savvy, learning the tricks of the trade can be overwhelming at first.
Chatterton said shoppers shouldn’t chase deals because sales cycle every six weeks.
“One of the things we tell people in our classes is to start small,” Frick said. “Choose the store you already shop at on a regular basis and start learning to save money at that store, and then branch out and pick another store.”
Another option for the novice is to use Chatterton and Frick’s website, www.2couponmoms.com.
They outline all of the specials and deals by grocery and drug stores on their website.
“We do this because we love to save money, and we love to tell people,” Frick said. “We really try to focus on local deals. We try not to put anything on our blog that you cannot find locally. We just hope to make it a little easier for people to save money, and we enjoy doing it.”
So far, they have taught about 500 people the secret to couponing success.
Normally, they do not charge for their classes. Both women said they consider sharing their knowledge a ministry to others.
“A woman who had twin babies and was reusing diapers came up to us after one of our classes. Another girl came to a class because she had overdrawn her bank account and had no money. Another woman had just started couponing and found out that her husband was diagnosed with a brain tumor,” Chatterton said. “This is what motivates us to help families who are struggling just by sharing knowledge.”
Chatterton and Frick plan to hold another class in the next few months.
For more information on couponing or classes, go to www.2couponmoms.com.