Coupon Parties Big on Fun and Savings

Move over tupperware; there's a new party in town.

ByABC News via logo
January 27, 2009, 6:42 AM

Feb. 12, 2009 — -- Just a year ago, Chrissy Pate and Kristin McKee were two Kansas City, Mo., moms struggling to reduce their grocery bills. The two friends collaborated and managed to cut those bills in half. And today, they're sharing their new-found knowledge with others hundreds of others.

As they learned how to get groceries cheap or even free Pate and McKee started blogging about their biggest bargains.

Their families are similar -- husband, two kids, two dogs each. They laughingly admit that they competed with each other to see who could spend the least.

"Yeah, a little bit," Pate told "Good Morning America."

"Our husbands were more competitive about it in the end than we were, I think," McKee added.

They started telling other friends about the great deals they were getting and those friends told more friends. Soon, people were asking Pate and McKee to teach them how to save big on groceries and the coupon parties were born.

The women call them Be CentsAble Workshops. It costs $25 to attend, and they say their guests will make that money back in their first shopping trip.

How do they do it? By layering several savings strategies together.

"This is really important," Pate told about a dozen people at a coupon party in Lee's Summit, Mo. "You don't just take your coupon out of the Sunday paper and go use it because that's what the manufacturer wants you to do."

Instead, she said:

First you should look for sales.

Then check to see if there are coupons for those same sale items.

Better yet, go to a store that gives double coupon credit.

Best of all, combine the manufacturer's coupon with a coupon offered by the store.

Wal-Mart stores will match any price offered by a competitor within 60 miles. So, if you have limited time, one easy savings strategy is to look at the online circulars for local grocery and drug store chains, jot down prices for items you need and then make only one stop -- at Wal-Mart.

Hot tip #1: Pate puts her price match items in a different part of her cart, so they are all together and she can easily read them off to the clerk.

Hot tip #2: Wal-Mart will match other stores' sales on house brands by selling you its own house brand for the same price.

Target posts store coupons on its Web site for two weeks, but they are actually good for six weeks and often the same items will go on sale during those six weeks, so then you can double your savings by taking advantage of the sale and using a coupon.

So, how do you find the coupons once Target has taken them down? Coupon generator Web sites like and offer them for the entire six-week run.

Drugstores have the biggest potential savings:

Many drugstore chains offer their own store coupons and incentives. And many brands also offer manufacturer coupons on drugstore-type products. So, it's a chance to double your savings. Plus, often personal care and household products are pricey, and whenever a product is more expensive, there's more room to discount it.