Teach a Coupon Class for Fun and Profit
For years before the show, Extreme Couponing was a big hit, 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 at the information desk or office of 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, 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 name of the product, and what the original store price was ( 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 is 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, 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, 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 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 paid off.
Bring props so as you got 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 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. 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.
Have you ever taught a coupon class before?
© 2012 Karen Hellier