Columnist Diana Kuyper
Updated: July 3, 2011 1:06PM
I love using coupons to save money, but I am lazy about seeking out deals. I received a burst of inspiration to be a better couponer this week from Lake Villa’s Lisa McIntire, creator of the blog www.couponingcentral.com.
The stay-at-home mom of three young children has cut her weekly food budget in half by using coupons. Through her blog postings she passes on her wisdom and information about local deals and coupons.
Inspired by the national Couponing for Community to benefit food pantries, she initiated the first Couponing for Community event held last week to benefit Open Arms Mission Food Pantry, serving Antioch, Lake Villa and Lindenhurst residents.
“I challenged other couponers to go through their stockpiles of items purchased with coupons and donate them to the food pantry. An additional challenge was to take $10 and see how many items they could buy for that amount with the help of coupons,” explained Lisa, who was able to purchase 40 items. “Another couponing mom bought 81 items!”
She had five participants who donated 260 pounds of food and nonperishables like soap and toiletries.
“I am hoping to make this an annual event and get the word out and have it grow each year. As I get more contacts in the couponing world, I may actually do it more frequently. If I do it twice a year, the next one could be right before the holidays, which I know is often a time when organizations find their needs high and their donations low,” she said.
McIntire has been blogging for about a year. Like many former two-income families, after she decided to stay home with the kids she looked for ways to save money. “We had to get by with less money, so I started couponing and cut my $200 weekly food budget to $80 by using coupons.”
Her friends started asking her for couponing advice, so she started her blog that focuses on deals and coupons available from smaller stores and national chains in Lake County. She has about 800 monthly visits to her blog.
I plan to start visiting her blog site regularly, and maybe by the time she announces her next Couponing for Community event I can contribute some of my savings.
Diana Kuyper’s column appears Fridays. You can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.