Cabarrus

They teach secrets to coupon savings

Who doesn't like to save money?

Tamara Page and her friend Teresa Ross have studied the art of couponing to save money. Now they're teaching the techniques they've learned.

Page, of Mount Pleasant, is a mother of five: one biological, one adopted and three foster children.

Her husband works for the Concord Fire Department, and she stays home, so learning to save money on her food bill was a necessity.

Ross works part time, but her husband is in real estate, so when their income dropped by 90 percent after the housing market collapsed a few years ago, she also sought ways to lower their expenses.

Page and Ross learned about a website and a woman in Rock Hill, S.C., who could show them how to save lots of money with coupons.

Along with other techniques, she taught them to combine sales with coupons for maximum savings.

Page said that's the best way to get a good deal: clip a coupon for an item that's on sale.

She won't buy anything unless she saves at least 50 percent, and she usually does even better than that.

Another key to big savings? Buying The Charlotte Observer.

Page buys at least three copies every weekend, because the Observer has "better coupons" than other papers.

She said stores are making it harder to save, so she works harder to find the best deals.

Once Page and Ross were routinely saving big bucks on their grocery bills (Page said it's not unusual for her total to drop from $300 to $80 at checkout), they began to share what they'd learned.

Lots of people want to learn how to save money with coupons, and Page and Ross found themselves teaching a class at least once a month last year.

They've had groups of 20 to 70 people gather in churches and homes to learn how to save big on their food bills.

The two share a lot of information with their students; it takes at least two hours to cover everything.

They charge a small fee for the class, to cover the expense of the materials they provide.

Because there's so much to learn, Page and Ross try to make the class fun and involve their students in activities.

Page calls her teaching style "down to earth."

She emphasized that there are no dumb questions. She said couponing has to be fun for it to work.

She and Ross call it a "game" as they seek the challenge of finding new ways to save.

If you'd like to learn more about saving money with coupons, you can get in touch with Tamara Page via email at tambam99@yahoo.com. She can help you get into one of her classes, or answer any questions you might have about the art of couponing.

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