The first step is to find the coupons. The second is to organize them. The third is to use them -- that's how you save money.
The Grandview Heights Public Library will host a couponing class next Thursday, Nov. 21, presented by money-saving master Lynette Rice. The Delaware resident said a grocery bill can easily be cut in half using those three easy steps.
"Who doesn't love a deal?" said Canaan Faulkner, director of adult programming at the library. "It's kind of a new world for couponing. There are deals through websites and there are a lot of ways to get coupons."
Rice started couponing in 2010 so she could save money to stay at home with her first child. Three years later, she now manages her website, CleverlySimple.com, and teaches classes on how to effectively use coupons and ads to save money.
The popularity of her classes is evident in next week's course at the library, which already has reached capacity and has a waiting list.
"I've never felt saving money should be complicated or take hours upon hours," Rice said. "I hope people can see the big picture and that coupons can give you financial freedom to reach your goals."
During the class, Rice will show where to find coupons and how to use them when items are on sale to maximize savings.
"I really teach the strategy of when to use coupons and the tools to do that, so you are not spending a lot of time on it," she said. "My goal is to teach how to use the tools on Cleverly Simple, make a grocery list, save money and move on with life."
Rice said she typically spends 30 minutes a week finding and organizing coupons. On average, she tries to save about 50 percent a week on her grocery bill.
Once, though, she was savvy enough to save 90 percent.
"That is not a typical week," Rice said. "Realistically, 50 to 60 percent is a great amount to save per week."
The keys to success are to start small and stay organized. Rice advises people to collect and use coupons for one store. As it becomes a habit and grows easier, couponers should start adding frequented stores, she said.
But staying organized is key. Rice said finding an organizing system -- whether it is an online file system, a binder full of coupons, or an accordion file folder -- may be the most-challenging aspect of couponing.
"If you don't stay organized, you get overwhelmed and then you stop couponing," Rice said.
CleverlySimple.com offers a database of more than 60,000 coupons as well as files to help users make a money-saving grocery list.