WEBSTER CITY - Shaving money off your bill is always a plus. Knowing how to do it is even better.
Katie Kitterman, of Grimes, thought so. As a stay-at-home mom, she thought about getting a part-time job. But with the amount of money she was saving couponing, it equalled out to the amount she would make at a job outside of the house.
"I've always couponed but I started doing it more seriously after having my son," she said. "I kept it quiet for awhile, and would just let friends and families know about the deals I was getting."
So she started teaching them how to do it, which led to classes and the website iowacouponing.com and a Facebook group with more than 1,800 members.
"I've always liked shopping, but now I can save while doing it - so it's a win-win," Kitterman said.
Many people are familiar with the TLC's reality show "Extreme Couponing." But the stores and savings are sometimes not realistic or available to Midwest shoppers.
If you go:
What: Couponing class
When: 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday
Where: Kendall Young Library meeting room
"Those shows inflate the savings a bit," she said. "You are not going to go to a store and buy 400 bags of dog food."
But she does save quite a bit - approximately $300 to $400 in coupons per month.
"There are lots of places to shop," she said. Kitterman mentioned many chain stores, including Hy-Vee and Fareway.
"Office supply stores are another place to find deals," she added.
Think it's too hard to start couponing? Kitterman has a few tips.
"Start out slow," she said. "Use the coupons in your Sunday newspaper. Go to different websites and print off coupons. And build your stockpile week after week."
That doesn't mean devote one room in your home to a stockpile of goods.
"I have a stockpile, but it's not overly crazy," she said. "But there are some good things to put in it."
That includes beauty items like deodorant, toothbrushes, toilet paper, shampoo, conditioner and soup.
"Those are things that are going to last," Kitterman said.
Food items include cereal, pasta, pasta sauce, pop, prepackaged foods and soup.
Where are some places to find these good deals?
"I like different blogs and Facebook pages. Facebook has lots of savings, especially if you like different products," she said.
After subscribing to different products or coupon pages, you can scroll through your newsfeed to see what deals are coming up.
"Those companies will offer customers, who are engaged with their products, higher dollar coupons, giveaways and samples," she said. "Make sure you are contacting those companies, asking for coupons and newsletters."
Kitterman's Facebook group, Iowa Couponing, is a place where any member of the group can post deals from Iowa.
"What I tell people to do is keep track of the coupons they use every month," she said. "If I hand over a $2 coupon in a store, I write it down."
After finding how much money you save in the first month, it can serve as motivation.
"Every little bit helps," she said. "People watch and think, 'I don't have the time to do that.' But the techniques you learn in my class, you can do in your own time."
She will be offering a class from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday in the Kendall Young Library meeting room, sponsored by the library. In it, people will learn how to use coupons more effectively; how to use Facebook to save money; how to read, understand and organize coupons; four other ways to get coupons besides the newspaper; and how to shop in your local stores.
"It's a great class," she said, "and full of tips that people can use."
Contact Carrie Olson at email@example.com or call 832-4350