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‘You’re able to afford so much more’: San Antonio group builds community through couponing

via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, at-home food prices fell 3% from February to March. But that doesn’t mean grocery store prices feel any less expensive.

Luckily, San Antonio resident Brenda Anz knows how to stretch a dollar by using coupons.

“By couponing, you’re able to do so much more. You’re able to afford so much more,” said Anz, who got her start in couponing 13 years ago while looking to save some money as a stay-at-home mom of three.

Once she mastered the craft of couponing, she wanted to pass the knowledge throughout her community. In 2016, Anz created SavingOurWay, a digital hub where she teaches coupon classes and policies, as well as how to use coupons with the latest deals.

Jennifer King, the lead admin for the SavingOurWay Facebook group, says there are two days Texas couponers should be aware of: Wednesdays, when stores like H-E-B and Kroger publish their new sales, and Sundays, when coupons come out in the newspaper.

“So Sunday mornings my paper gets delivered, I’m there with my cup of coffee in my bathrobe and I’m looking through – okay, what do I need?” King said. “What does the community need?”

King said shoppers should also learn about the different types of coupons available: These include digital coupons in addition to the manufacturer coupons that arrive in the Sunday paper.

“Another term we talk about a lot is bounce-back coupons. So those are coupons that the store gives us at the end of a transaction with our receipt and we can use it on a future purchase,” King said. “Target does them in gift cards. H-E-B does them in what they call Catalina coupons. CVS does them in Extrabucks.”

For those with dietary restrictions, finding coupons for necessary grocery items may be limited. But King says that couponing non-perishable items such as toothpaste or shampoo can make room for those pricier items.

“So if they have, you know, allergies, if somebody is gluten-free, if somebody is vegan, they can customize that budget to work for them,” King said.

So far, Anz’s efforts are paying off. The SavingOurWay Facebook group has over 50,000 members, and Anz also has a deal with local papers like the San Antonio Express-News and the Houston Chronicle where her members can receive discounted newspapers to get coupons.

But for Anz and King, SavingOurWay isn’t just about clipping coupons – it’s also about empowering people to try something new to save some money.

“I feel that no matter who you are – if you have a lot of money, keep it in the bank; pay with coupons,” And said. “If you don’t have a lot of money, you can still feed your family. You should be able to still get so many things that you need using those coupons.”

King said she hopes to bring a new perspective of what couponing looks like in 2023.

“You don’t know if you’re standing behind a couponer in line anymore because so much of it is being done on apps,” King said. “You can make lots of great changes for your family and save like legitimately life-changing amounts for your family without getting a thousand bottles of mustard.”

When King and Anz have coupons for items their family doesn’t need, they may swap them with another couponer, or seal the deal and donate the items to local organizations. For them, building a community through couponing is the ultimate reward.

“I’ll never stop couponing,” Anz said. “There’s no reason to do that. Why go back to full price?”

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