Karen Hellier is a freelance writer and eBay entrepreneur. She lives happily in the mountains of North Georgia with her husband and her dog.
For years before the show, Extreme Couponing was a big hit, and I have taught coupon classes in the community. Over the years, people asked me if I would teach them how to teach a class on this subject. I will share my tips with you now so that those of you who want to share your knowledge of saving money with coupons can teach others.
First, decide what your goal will be. Do you want to share your information with family and friends only? Or do you want to make money from giving formal classes? Here are two lists of where you can teach:
- For Fun: your own home, your friend's or neighbor's homes, at a church, a library, a Mom's Club, a MOPS Club, a La Leche League Group, a school as a program for parents.
- For-Profit: An Adult Education Enrichment Program, rent a community center and offer a class to the public, a state or government agency that will pay you as an expert, a locally owned grocery store, online.
Whether or not you want to make money at this is up to you. Some people feel so blessed by knowing how to save a lot of money with coupons that they share their knowledge for free. Others use coupons out of necessity, and teaching a class can be an extra way to earn money for their family.
Where to Advertise
Newspapers, church bulletins, library bulletin boards, post fliers on public bulletin boards, and the information desk or office where you are going to teach are good places to advertise. Send emails out to everyone you know and ask them to share the information with everyone they know; use Evite to send online invitations.
I find it helpful to have a set program in mind and to follow it for each class I do. I spend about an hour at home before each class getting prepared. I bring with me:
Store fliers, manufacturer's coupons, my coupon holder, 12–15 items I have gotten good deals on, one bonus prize, a list of tips printed out for each person, and a printed list of online sources for coupons.
How to Set Up Your Class
Here's how my class is set up:
I usually introduce myself and tell a little about my family: how many members, that I love shopping and saving money, etc.
The Game: Part 1
Before class starts, I have set out a group of approximately 12–15 products down the middle of the table around which everyone will sit. I put them in order on a list I have already made up. On the list, I number each item and write its name; then, I write how much it was originally, how much it was on sale for, what the coupon amount was, and what my total cost was.
After my brief introduction, I give everyone a lined piece of notebook paper. I ask them to number their paper from 1 to 12/15, and then as I name the product and tell the original price, I want them to write down their guess as to what I paid for it. I state the product's name and the original store price ( before the sale and coupon). At the end of their list, when they have all their guesses written down, I ask them to write what they think I paid in total for all the products. Some people add up all their guesses; others just write a value. I ask them to write a number value, not just the word "free."
Then I tell them to put their answers aside for now, and I hand out the tips sheet.
Teaching the Steps and Sharing Stories/Products
Everyone gets an outline of what we will go over. The outline is a series of tips, with just the title of each tip typed, so they have to take notes and not get bored just reading what you already wrote. Here is a list of tips you may want to use, but by all means, use the tips that work best for you. I have 21 on my list.
- Buy at least one Sunday paper each week (or the paper for whatever day the coupons come out).
- Cut and file all coupons from each Sunday in a coupon container.
- Have a large variety of sections in your coupon holder so you can find things quickly.
- Read all store fliers for the stores you will be able to go to.
- Make a base list of all the products you normally buy in each store and what the regular price is, so you'll know if the "sale" they are advertising is worth it.
- Circle all the items in each flyer that you think are a good deal or that you have a coupon for.
- Shop as many stores as possible.
- Try to shop when the stores are less busy so you won't hold up lines with a lot of coupons and things that can go wrong.
- Always bring your coupons with you to the store.
- Write a list for each store.
- Compare the sales to your coupons.
- Beware of store displays on end caps of the aisles that make you think items are on sale when they really aren't.
- Pull coupons for each store and put them with your list in an envelope for that store.
- *Use a coupon and a sale combined whenever possible.
- Stock up to save.
- Be willing to try many different brands so you can take advantage of every product on sale.
- Build extra shelves, and use a spare room, closet, garage, etc. to store your stockpile.
- Items go on sale in a cycle about every six weeks.
- Share coupons with friends, neighbors, and church friends and ask them to save theirs for you.
- Go online to get coupons. Get the latest apps like Ibotta to save even more.
- Make sure you have a store card for every store you go to.
- Know the store policy for each store you shop at so you're not embarrassed if you get to the cash register and they tell you that you're breaking the rules.
- Become friendly with cashiers and store managers so if there is a store policy problem at some point, they will trust that you weren't trying to take advantage of the store, system, or cashier.
- Don't get greedy and clear the shelves or argue with cashiers because it ruins coupons for everyone else.
- If you can get items free or for pennies, get them and donate them to charity. This is a great example to set for your children.
- Keep track of how much money you save each week, and then total it up at the end of the year so you can see how your hard work pays off.
Bring props so as you get through the tips, you can show them what you mean. Bring coupon fliers so those that are new know what you are talking about. Show them the dotted lines of the coupons and the dates, and remind them not to clip the bar code or date off when cutting. Bring some actual store fliers with the products you have circled. Bring your coupon holder and store cards to show them. Tell stories here and there to hold their interest, like a great example of how you stocked up on a product such as Right Guard deodorant and put it in front of you as you talk.
Then wow them with examples of how you got the item free and had ten coupons, so you stocked up on ten deodorants, etc. Bring in a picture or scrapbook of your stockpile to really wow and inspire them. Bring in your coupon container or binder to show them how a real coupon queen/king does it! Make a separate list of online sources for coupons and hand that out when you get to that point.
I find it's easier for them to hold all questions until the end because there's so much information to get through, especially for beginners that you don't want to keep getting interrupted. If you stop for every question, the class may drag on too long, and you want to make sure everything is covered in case some people have to leave early before the questions.
But that is just my style. You may want to address questions as they come up. The best way to do it is whatever is the most comfortable for you, and that helps get the information out to your students.
The Game: Part 2
This is the fun part. Then I go through each item, remind them of the original price, tell them what the sale price was, and my final cost. They are allowed to shout out their answer, and the first person I hear who got the right answer gets to keep that product (limit of two products per person, though, because some people are better at this than others and would take five or six prizes home).
I throw some freebies in there, of course, as some of your students will have never gotten anything free. In the end, I ask what they guessed for my final price. The person that gets the closest to that gets a special prize, usually something cute that I got free or cheap with a rebate, which leads me into rebates, Walgreens Register Rewards, Rite Aid UP Rewards, CVS, etc. If there isn't time to do that, I do it as a separate class and combine it with information on rebates.
During the wrap-up, I take questions, and for a while, I had a coupon group that met once per month, so I used to invite people to come to that and to share coupons and continue learning.
Teaching a coupon class, whether it's for fun or profit, can be fun and rewarding.
If you would like more tips on saving money with coupons, the Coupon Mom's Guide is full of great tips for those staring down the coupon road. I have this book and enjoyed reading it to learn more tips on coupons and saving money at the grocery store.
© 2012 Karen Hellier
Sara on September 17, 2018:
Is there some one like you in the area of Birminham Alabama that teaches how to coupon....Would love to same some money especially with five kids and nephews eating every thing in sight....
Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on February 08, 2018:
I don't buy inserts because if people keep doing that, the manufacturers will stop giving them to consumers. BUT I do ask friends and family members to save them for me once they take out what they don't want. I also ask students in advance to bring any flyers they may have that they have already gone through.
kathrynboyce380 on January 18, 2018:
Where do I start to get paperwork and cash for the classes and wat other information about saving coupons and money jobs can u let me know. Bout live in tip of the thumb in Michigan any help I'm on a low budget for income trying to save money this is a great idea thanks does anyone know where I can get help with getting a comp
Vickie on October 18, 2017:
Where do you buy your inserts, I am wanting to start my own couponing classes and needed to know where to purchase RP, SM, etc inserts in advance of the weeks of them being put in papers or hitting newsstand. Can you help.
Victoria Bradford on May 15, 2017:
I am scheduled to teach a coupon class for Manchester, TN on June 1st. I could use some pointers and hand outs. Thank you so much for any help.
Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on August 03, 2014:
It depends on where I am teaching the class. I don't do classes where I charge individual people. I have always taught through Adult Education programs or through agencies who pay me to teach their clients. My earnings run anywhere from $35 to $100 whether there are 2 people present of 32. I do know there are coupon ladies out there that charge by the person, either $10 or $15 each, and they put a minimum
amount of people that have to come before they teach the class.
Starrsha on August 02, 2014:
How much do you charge for your classes?
Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on July 20, 2014:
It's too hard to teach someone through email. I did write a hub about 15 tips from the Coupon Lady, which may help you. I will also say that different stores in different parts of the country have different rules. In the Northeast, we can't do what they do on that show because many stores have rules about only being able to purchase 4 of an item in one trip.
Leo on July 19, 2014:
I will like to know how to extreme coupon, but i need someone to teach me how. If someone will like to pass on there magic e mail me at email@example.com. It's a Zero not an O.
Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on December 01, 2013:
Sure, see if there are any other people in your facility who get the paper and don't want their coupons. Or will give you their fliers when they have taken out what they want. I know someone who lives in a facility and each week she collects all the coupon fliers left behind in the main dining area and gives them to her daughter. She gets at least 15 each week. And then see if the nurses/workers wills ave coupons for you when they are done taking out what they need. Also, do you know anyone who might be willing to trade coupons with you...through the mail? I had great luck with that. I asked a few friends, who actually lived in different states, and we swapped coupons with each other. They had a list of what I used, and I had a list of what they used, and every other week or so, it was fun to get an envelope full of coupons for things I actually use! Congrats on being a great example for your daughter to follow.
Barbara Hahn on December 01, 2013:
hi love your tips and advice. My daughter is a coupon queen, she did look, learn and listen to me although I was unaware!!!! I am now in a assisted living facility and have an iPad with no access to printing coupons which is frustrating, have 1 paper per week, any suggestions as to how I can garner more coupons??? Thanks , barbara
Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on August 27, 2013:
I have another hub called 15 tips from the coupon lady. I would read that, then read this again, and offer a class at your local library...start small with a few friends or at your local senior center, then go from there. Also, I have another hub about how to start a coupon group in your town. Once you teach a few coupon classes, get a group together and exchange coupons so everyone will have coupons for items they actually use.
JoAnne on August 27, 2013:
Economically, our town needs to learn couponing. Food share struggles to meet rising numbers of families who are needing assistance. Elderly are having to make the choice between their RXs or food. Young teen Mothers have no idea how to budget their money or buy healthy food instead of instant foods. I am overwhelmed, and have tried to get up interest, however everyone looks at me like..Hey its your idea.... Im 65 years old and still learning how to coupon I need help or a plan any ideas
Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on August 26, 2012:
Yes, it is possible to find those people who want to learn. I think if you went out of your current group of friends and acquaintances, and promoted it to the general public, through a church or social service agency who would help you bring in participants. Good luck!
Julie Z from North Central Florida on August 26, 2012:
I've been couponing for 25 years. Also been talking it to people who claim they do not have time, for the same amount of time. I've always turned down the thought of teaching a class, because of those who say can't, no time, too busy, kids. But you have proved there are more of us out there, where we use to be in the beginning. Love this article! :)
Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on August 20, 2012:
I found it was best to go start with the Adult Education programs i9n towns surrounding mine. I have taught in 3 different towns. Once you get that up and going, it's easier to set rates and offer classes at social service agencies, women's groups, etc. Good luck!
Lori Correa from Franklin, NC on August 19, 2012:
How do you go about getting funding to teach couponing in your area? Suggestions?
Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on July 26, 2012:
Yes, it usually is. Most people have no real clue about how to really use coupons to the true extent. One or 2 coupons clipped and turned in each week just isn't enough to make a real dent in a grocery bill. And while it's true that every little bit helps, why just save a little when with the right tools, you can save a LOT?! Thanks for commenting.
monicamelendez from Salt Lake City on July 25, 2012:
I love the idea of teaching a coupon class for profit. Very solid idea and would be so useful for the people who attended.
Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on July 17, 2012:
I am not sure I can venture into those 2 as an expert. Sorry!
Scarlette on July 17, 2012:
This helped me so much! If you have any idea on how to teach the WAGS and RR class that would be awesome!
Kris Heeter from Indiana on January 22, 2012:
What a great topic to write a hub on:) Lots of great tips here.
I fondly remember the days of helping my mom clip coupons (and saving those green stamps)!
Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on January 22, 2012:
The class ends up being so much fun. Mine take 90 minutes - 2 hours by the time people ask questions and although I am tired when done, it gives me a coupon high just having remembered and talked about all the deals I have gotten, and sharing the info. with others. If you aren't ready to give a class yet, try it out on a group of friends. They won't care if your presentation isn't perfect and will enjoy the info.
Shasta Matova from USA on January 21, 2012:
I hadn't thought about teaching a class on couponing. Yours sounds like a fun class to go to. Great idea about giving some things away to get them excited about the prospect.
Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on January 18, 2012:
Yes, coupons can be addicting and it's a great way for teens to learn budgeting skills. If you don't know about the website Couponmom.com, you should go check it out. It will let you check the sales/coupons available in stores in your state and tell you how much you will pay for the final cost. It not only lets you check on grocery stores but dept. stores ( Walmart/Target)and Drug stores ( Rite Aid/Walgreens/CVS) and lets you know the deals there too. It's a great site. I never shop until I get a chance to check this site out in advance now.
Anan Celeste from California on January 17, 2012:
I just discovered the joys of cuponing.Since my husband is now disabled. I am learning, but it so fun and I take my teenagers with me to help out. They are learning so much too, even my son. my last purchase I bought $89.67 of groceries with only $46 with coupons.I am hooked. This is a great Idea.
Karen Hellier (author) from Georgia on January 17, 2012:
Well, you can just start with a couple of friends or family members to practice and see how it goes. If you love coupons, and save lots of money, the excitement of sharing that will rub off on those you teach and you'll forget that you're actually teaching!
oliviaharrisbrown on January 17, 2012:
I like the article. I don't know and I have the guts to teach a class on couponing.