Saving money has always been one of my hobbies.
It started out as a necessity during my penny-pinching college years. Then I never grew out of it.
Why would I pay full price when with a little research, patience and masterminding, I can pay a fraction of the cost?
For a period of time, I got super into couponing. When I first started to ramp up my coupon game, The Krazy Coupon Lady was my savior. I quickly learned the tricks of the trade and my friends started calling me the Coupon Queen.
Thanks to KCL, I was able to snag a pair of $120 Sorel boots for $10. A $40 cast iron pan for $16. I learned how to save 97% at CVS. I even learned how to stack coupons, shop sales cycles, roll offers and use rebates to make money couponing.
Here’s why I love KCL and why you should check out the site if you want to learn how to save an impressive amount of money on almost anything.
1. Find Freebies Galore
Because so many companies want you to fall in love with them and become a loyal customer, the Internet is littered with products free for the taking. All you have to do is give them your email and mailing address. But who has time to find these freebies? Or knows how to? KCL does.
The KCL team scours the web for freebies and posts them on their blog. Recent freebies they’ve posted include free address labels, light bulbs, coffee and dog treats. They always let you know the fine print, like if you have to pay for shipping or cancel a membership at a later date to avoid a subscription fee.
To get the scoop on all the freebies they post, like Krazy Freebies on Facebook.
2. Go from Newbie to Pro
The world of couponing can be crazy overwhelming with confusing lingo, coupon policies and restrictions. While it is possible to pay next to nothing (and oftentimes literally nothing) at grocery stores, drug stores and online, you need expert coupon know-how that takes time to cultivate.
To help get you started, KCL has an amazing beginner’s guide. The simple step-by-step guide breaks down different aspects of couponing and teaches you how to get yourself organized and avoid mistakes. Anytime someone asks for my best couponing tips, I send them straight here.
3. See Only Deals You Care About
Most coupon websites post several times a day, making it tough to keep up with all the deals and promotions. Some of the deals are regional or may not be relevant to you. KCL posts just as frequently — in fact, perhaps more than other coupon sites — but they make it easy to narrow down the deals to only ones you care about.
Since I’m not as aggressive of a couponer these days as I once was, I limit my coupon wizardry to one store: CVS. I love KCL’s comprehensive CVS section and don’t need to look anywhere else to find deals. They’ve also got sections dedicated to other drug stores (Walgreens, Rite Aid), grocery stores (Trader Joe’s, Publix, Safeway), clothing stores (Old Navy, JCPenney, Kohl’s) and more.
4. KCL Does All the Work
You get the best deals when you stack a coupon from the Sunday circular with a sale. But it’s unlikely this Sunday’s coupons will match up with this week’s sales. You might need to wait a few weeks for something to get discounted, creating a prime time to use a coupon. You also need to remember to use coupons before they expire.
It takes a ton of time to scour every store’s sale ads and match them up with the coupons you’ve got on hand. Fortunately, KCL does all that work for you. Each week, they’ll post what’s on sale at each store and which coupons will score you the best deals. If a coupon expires mid-week, they’ll let you know to take advantage of that deal before then.
You’ll have to keep each week’s circular organized and learn to read how KCL lists the deal combinations (For example, RP 5/31 stands for the Sunday Red Plum insert that came on May 31), but once you get the hang of it, it’s easy peasy. They even post the final price you’ll pay so you know exactly how much you save.
I still can’t believe how much work must go on behind the scenes at KCL to match up all the coupons and sales, but I definitely appreciate how much time it saves me!
5. Deals Come to You
Saving money isn’t just about coupons. KCL also posts promotions, discounts and limited time offers from online retailers. I’ve scored great discounts that I wouldn’t have known about otherwise if I hadn’t seen them on the blog.
How do they manage to find so many great deals? KCL not only has a team that scours the web for them, but also a huge following of fellow coupon and deal fanatics. If one of their fans sees a great deal, they’ll share it with KCL, which then broadcasts it for everyone to know about.
The downside is that these often go fast. Exceptionally sought-after products might sell out in a few minutes just from traffic from KCL. Sometimes you get the deal, sometimes you don’t. But I’ve been lucky enough times to appreciate that they broadcast these deals.
6. Honest Recommendations
Couponing comes with a stigma, which is unpleasant for anyone who plays by the rules. People see you with a stack of coupons and think you’re gaming the system. Unfortunately, many couponers are dishonest and pull not-cool tactics to save an extra buck.
For example, some people photocopy printable coupons, which is illegal. This is not something KCL encourages. If you want more printable coupons, they’ll tell you how to do it legally. They also discourage their community from being greedy and clearing out the shelves.
Though saving money is one of my absolute favorite hobbies, I don’t want to do so dishonestly. I appreciate that KCL takes the same stance. They stick to each store’s coupon policy and never recommend anything shady to get a deal. I trust that any deals they post won’t get me into trouble or make me feel queasy.
7. A Story of Creating Something Out of Nothing
Since I’m a natural-born storyteller and entrepreneur, I can’t help but love the story about how Krazy Coupon Lady came to be.
Founders Heather Wheeler and Joanie Demer were friends and young moms in Boise, Idaho who wanted to save more money on groceries. They began to coupon before it was cool, then started a blog in 2008 to share their tips and tricks. It picked up so much steam, they were able to quit their jobs and make Krazy Coupon Lady their full-time gig!
These women started couponing out of necessity and were able to make it work. I especially love that Heather became the sole breadwinner of her family and paid off more than $50,000 of debt in two years. And when Joanie’s husband lost his job and insurance, then her daughter was hospitalized, she was able to keep costs low through couponing while her family worked to pay the medical bills and get out of doubt.
Once upon a time, I visited KCL multiple times a day. Thanks to the website, I was able to get many of my necessities and few fun non-essentials at a fraction of their full-price cost.
Even though I still love a good deal, I’ve scaled back on my couponing these days. But I still have the coupon knowledge I gained from my dedicated KCL days and know exactly what I’ll need to do if I want to get serious about couponing again. When I’m ready to dive back into extreme savings, I know KCL will be there waiting for me with deals galore.
Your Turn: What’s your favorite couponing site?
Betsy Mikel is a Chicago-based freelance copywriter. She loves biking all over every city she visits to find its best taqueria.