Are coupons really worth your time? Denver Post interview with Jen Freeman

11:03 am

by Jennifer Freeman

Are coupons really worth your time?


Interview and Article from The Denver Post

There’s a strategy to “Extreme Couponing,” says Las Vegas mom and blogger Jen Freeman: No clipping.

Instead, Freeman perfected a search-and-find Internet system that allows her to compile all of the coupons she needs for a trip to the grocery store into one handy computer printout.

“I’ve couponed for over 20 years, and I have learned through trial and error what works and what didn’t work,” says Freeman. “I have tried every method you can possibly think of.”

That is how Freeman, the author of and a couponing expert who returns to Colorado on Oct. 16 for her second Denver Post-sponsored “Grocery Smarts” workshop this year, arrived at her best practices for saving money on her family’s food bill and saving time wrangling all those discounts.

Couponing devotees may know Freeman from the popular TLC show “Extreme Couponing,” which taps into “Americans’ fascination with saving a buck, particularly during uncertain economic times,” says Alon Orstein, the network’s vice president of East Coast production and development. “The series also introduces viewers to extraordinary everyday people who’ve built their lives around getting more for less.”

The 2010 premiere of the show, which is now in production for its fourth season, attracted 2.1 million viewers.

During one of Freeman’s appearances on “Extreme Couponing,” the mother of 7-year-old twins applied her no-clipping strategy to $1,000 worth of groceries, trimming that bill down to less than $100.

How did it all start? Freeman’s husband is career military. Freeman got into the couponing game when she learned how difficult it can be to stretch a military paycheck.

“When you’re young in the military, there is literally no money to stretch,” she says. “I realized after paying bills that I would have $25 left for groceries for the next two weeks. I had to figure something out.”

The backbone of Freeman’s strategy is simple: Apply manufacturer coupons to products that are on sale, then stock up. But Freeman has developed additional tricks.

For one thing, nearly every coupon she uses is electronic, and she stores those coupons in a searchable database on her website (

“Use (the coupon) when you want it, and don’t spend time clipping and sorting,” she says. “Once your eyes are opened to the savings, you realize there are savings all over.”

“We were spending between $1,100 and $1,200 a month on groceries,” Morris recalls. “That was our WalMart/Costco bill.”

Morris says that after getting more savvy about couponing, she cut that expense nearly in half.

“Couponing is easier than it was before,” she says. “There are so many resources online that can do the work for us… When I realized I could free up $500 a month from my family’s budget just by couponing? Please! At that point, there’s no reason not to.”


“Extreme Couponing” expert Jen Freeman’s savvy, money-saving strategy

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