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January 21, 2013

Local woman takes couponing to the extreme

MT. VERNON — — They got the bargains. Now they want to share their knowledge.

Christine Kindledsparger of Marion and her mother, Karen Wood of Bonnie, are “couponers.” Perhaps not as ‘Extreme’ as those on the TV show devoted to the pastime, but couponers nonetheless.

Kindledsparger has been learning the ropes of cutting, printing and hunting coupons for the best deals for about a year and a half, and Wood has been joining in the hunt for about a year as well.

The pair have taught one class on the art in Mt. Vernon, and they plan to host a second course 1 p.m. March 9 at Antioch International Fellowship, 221 S. 9th St.

“I saw the show Extreme Couponing one day and decided to record it,” Kindledsparger said. “I said, no way. But my husband said I needed a hobby, so I learned.”

Her gear for the art of ferreting out the best deals — from paying only sales tax to actually receiving money back on items — starts with a well-organized binder of coupons from multiple sources. Kindledsparger clips coupons from local newspapers and free circulars, but she also seeks deals by regularly visiting websites with inside knowledge.

She even buys coupons off Ebay at times. Technically, she said, paying for coupons is illegal, but the fees paid for the coupons are for the hunters’ time and effort.

She said her time since beginning the hobby has decreased — when she first began couponing, she would spend as many as six hours a day searching. Now, Kindledsparger said, her knowledge has made her more efficient.

Kindledsparger’s hunting has paid off big in the past, she said. Her biggest get involved coupons for purchasing packages of pads. She received a $5 Target gift card per every three packages she bought, and she later used the gift cards to purchase a tablet PC.

Both Kindledsparger and Wood have rooms devoted to the stockpiling of their bargain goods, but they also regularly give away their items, to charities, friends and family alike.

“Shampoo and conditioner, I keep a decent amount,” Kindledsparger said. “I give (packaged noodles) to my sister-in-law, because her kids love to eat them. My husband and I are picky eaters. I also keep deodorant and items that won’t go bad.”

Whether shoppers are hunting for nonperishable food items or pallets of deodorant, Kindledsparger said organization is the key to success.

“You won’t save money with coupons if you can’t find them when you need them,” her informational packet for the course states. “A build-it-yourself coupon organizer helps you organize your coupons to get maximum savings.”

Wood said she and her daughter meet once a week to get lunch together and go shopping. She said the hobby has brought them closer together.

Admission to the couponing class is $2, portions of which will benefit Antioch International Assembly. The course will include an informational packet. Starter binders will be available. The class is reservation only — to make a reservation call 237-2702.

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