News Column

Grocery Shopping Seminars to Save Household Budgets

April 11, 2013
save on shopping

If you hate to save money, read no further.

Saving hundreds of dollars on grocery shopping on a regular basis will be the focus of free seminars featuring the stars of TLC's "Extreme Couponing," being staged by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser next week and next month.

Jennifer Freeman and Shannon Jones, stars of the savings-themed cable show, will be joined by local resident Ashley Dougherty, whose Hawaii Shopaholics website also offers volumes of money-saving intelligence.

All will talk about how Hawaii consumers can save hundreds of dollars on groceries each month while shopping at their favorite stores.

Grocery spending is the most flexible part of most people's budget, but most people feel it is one of the most rigid parts of their budget, said Ryan Brown, director of the Star-Advertiser's couponing program.

"The gist of it all is, couponing is about timing and it's about opportunity-buying, versus needs buying," he said.

"If something is on sale for a dramatically reduced price and you use a coupon, that's opportunity-buying."

While the coupon always will have the same value, say $1 off Kellogg's cereal, "the coupon value is going to be constant until it expires," he said. "If you wait until that cereal at Foodland goes on sale for $1.75 a box" and use the dollar-off coupon, "your out-of-pocket (cost is) only 75 cents."

Or maybe the shopper has multiple dollar-off coupons and stocks up on multiple boxes at 75 cents each.

"It's not a complex concept for people to understand."

In the seminars, Freeman and Jones will use their personal appearance to explain how they do "Extreme Couponing" and engage with the audience.

Dougherty of "is an integral part of this program," Brown said. "She's the local expert."

While using the techniques that will be taught, "the only question is, 'would my family use that product?' instead of, 'are we out of that this week?'" Brown said.

It is about opportunity, rather than stocking up on items that will never be used, he said.

"Everything is cyclical in the grocery store," Brown said.

"One week it might be frozen foods. The next week it might be lunch meats and things like that."

Week after week, using the coupons and opportunity-buying techniques, "your pantry fills up with a huge variety of items" on which you have saved a great deal of money.

Brown is not a fan of buying at bulk stores.

"You'll spend a lot less on the same items if you get used to doing this at the grocery store," he said.

Seating for the Monday and Wednesday seminars in Honolulu and Kapolei are filled to capacity, but as of Wednesday afternoon, slots still were available for Tuesday's 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. seminars at Windward Mall in Kaneohe.

Because of the high interest, two more Kapolei seminars have been added. They will be at noon and 7 p.m. May 22 at the Star-Advertiser plant at 4545 Kapolei Parkway.

Reservations are required and can be made via phone at 538-NEWS (6397) or online at smartshopper.

The same, paywall-free website will launch online tools Monday that will show what's on sale at which store, as well as links to coupons to use on purchases of the on-sale items, that will maximize the coupons' effectiveness as well as savings for your household budget.


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Source: (c)2013 The Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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