Atlanta No. 1 in coupon savings

Atlantans know their stuff when it comes to saving money. We clip, print and download coupons better than any other city in the country. That’s the word according to Coupons.com, the coupon Web site that released its Top Cities list this week.

At the top of the heap is Atlanta and its 2009 average of $531 a year saved per household using the site. Rounding out the top five are Tampa, Cincinnati, Saint Louis and Minneapolis.

“I’m not surprised,” said Nicole Salmons of McDonough. “I’ve seen more women in stores with coupon binders and holders than I’ve ever seen.”

But don’t think for one minute that women, though dominant in the coupon market, are doing it alone. Men like Matt Park, a 33-year-old married father of two, are in the game and playing to win. Park, who works in sales, says he saves an average of $125-$150 per week shopping, including coupons and sales. He spent $200 at CVS last year — and saved $2,000. On a recent trip to Publix, Park spent $29 and saved $67, including using $22 worth of coupons.

“It has become a hobby,” he said. “The goal, really, is to spend as little as you possibly can.”

He admits his devotion borders on fanaticism, but don’t look for an apology from the man who uses a spreadsheet to keep track of his savings.

“The way I look at it is for every hour I spend doing this, I make or save $50.”

His motivation is not unique, said Jeanette Pavini, a household savings expert for Coupons.com. In the 18-24-year-old age group, use of the site jumped 275 percent in 2009. Along with Sunday newspaper coupon circulars, coupons have become more accessible through technology like mobile applications and downloading capability on savings cards. Pavini said economic conditions have thrust this shopping strategy into the forefront, but ease of use and financial rewards will sustain it.

“It comes down to free money,” she said.

Salmons, 38, spends about three hours a week collecting coupons. She uses a variety of sites, including Southernsavers.com, which does most of the work by matching store sales with coupons. In the end, it amounts to a saving of at least $120 a month.

“I get a rush when I look at my grocery receipt and see how much I’ve saved,” she said.

Countless coupon sites have flooded the online marketplace, so it helps to know which are best. Among the industry leaders, in addition to Coupons.com, are Retailmenot.com, CouponMom.com, Eversave.com, Couponcabin.com and Smartsource.com. For more on each site and why the experts prefer them, click here.

Said Salmons: “Even if the economy was normal, every penny helps. It’s important to keep in mind that one never knows what financial set-back may be around the corner — especially now.”

How much have you saved using coupons? What’s your coupon shopping strategy?

Follow me on Twitter @atlbargains or on Facebook at AJC Atlanta Bargain Hunter

15 comments Add your comment

HawkFan

January 8th, 2010
5:45 pm

My wife started “couponing” & finding deals only about 3-4 months ago to help our family while temporarily carrying a 2nd mortgage. She’s cut our grocery bills by 75% (!!!) and is taking advantage of SaveBucks type programs to get lots of stuff from the likes of CVS, Walgreens, etc.

She is starting to share her new found knowledge via her http://www.centsablelady.com blog. she can also be followed on twitter @centsablelady.

Ted Striker

January 8th, 2010
6:46 pm

I appreciate your columns, Rana. You offer some sage wisdom.

Ilov Coupons

January 8th, 2010
7:12 pm

I love couponing. It’s almost as fun as video games It’s true that women are not the only ones doing it. I go to this site called http://www.downwithsaving.com/blog. It’s a dude that runs it and it is a pretty good site.

luke

January 8th, 2010
7:21 pm

how do you get coupons mail to you ??????

T.R.

January 8th, 2010
7:30 pm

My favorite couponing/savings sites are http://www.southernsavers.com, http://www.iheartpublix.com and http://www.totallytarget.com. They are great places to find bargains and tips. Get your weekly grocery sales flyer, sit down with it and see what things are on sale that you have a coupon for. Then stock up!

GWB

January 8th, 2010
8:18 pm

I love couponing, especially the zero coupon type!

Lisa

January 8th, 2010
8:41 pm

I have been an “Aggresive Couponer” for over a year now and am teaching others how to do it on my blog and in classes. I use the no-clip method which takes less time and encourages more folks to try coupons. And the world of coupons also includes freebies and samples too. Who knew there was so much available! Check out my site and see what you think….http://www.thespottosave.com.

Matt

January 8th, 2010
8:46 pm

Luke, you can get coupons mailed to you buy contacting vendors of products you like and emailing them that you love their products and would like some coupons. Some of the most valuable ones you will get come this way and the best thing about them is they typically have expiration dates FAR in the future. A great site that I use that combines all the information is http://www.hotcouponworld.com

Farkonias Schmidt

January 8th, 2010
9:32 pm

I absolutely love couponing! In fact, I always use coupons on my first dates. Some women, get really turned off, but this weeds them out. I have always found that I have great relationships with women who enjoy couponing. It leads to a real bonding experience and many hours of discussion.

One of my best dates ever, was completely free with coupons (except the wine of course, but it was a BYOB restaurant, and I brought a bottle of two buck chuck). For years after that, we would exchange coupons with each other on Valentine’s Day and give each other our favorite coupons for birthdays, etc.

I recommend searching other peoples recycling containers (the paper section) for good coupons. People waste the best ones. I go out early each morning on our neighborhood recycling day with flashlight, and always come back richer.

A great use for the coupons that you don’t need is to stuff them into pillow cases and use them as pillows. When they get old or smelly, just dumb it out and use fresh coupons!

Anyway, happy coupon dreams everyone!

Robert

January 8th, 2010
10:38 pm

Rana. I’ve enjoyed your posts. I ran across a new web site that is great for finding new places to eat, plus get coupons from them! http://www.eluncher.com

You should check it out.

Boo Yah

January 11th, 2010
2:30 am

“Couponing” isn’t a word, you mouth-breathing morons.

BongWater Slurpee

January 11th, 2010
8:03 am

Lets all get together for lunch and discuss different ways of “couponing” and then perhaps write a book and all get rich! Yeah…thats it!

Then we could return to 5th grade for grammar and spelling refresher courses.

Anon

January 11th, 2010
9:52 pm

Tinytam

January 12th, 2010
10:34 am

I have been clipping coupons for years and even share them whenever I can with other shoppers. I’ve been amazed at how much I could save on my grocery bill but think what Matt Park has done (creating a spreadsheet to track his savings) is tremendous as well. I always kick myself when I forget my coupons and now use a ziploc bag to store my coupon book and the receipts. Thanks to everyone for sharing something so helpful and informative. Happy Couponing!!

[...] was reading a post in the Atlanta Bargain Hunter on this survey and one woman interviewed said she makes or saves $50 for every hour she spends [...]