National Coupon Month, Day 3! 5 Ways to Change Your Money Mindset with Miss Coupon Diva

Recently, I got the chance to talk coupons with Joyce House, aka Miss Coupon Diva, a Philadelphia native and coupon mastermind, who’s appeared on TLC’s Extreme Couponing, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Nate Show and more.

Joyce started couponing as a young mother, when one simple purchase taught her the value of a dollar and the power of the consumer – all in the same day. 36 years ago, after Joyce bought a box of diapers for her daughter, she realized that many of the diapers had brown spots and were unusable. She couldn’t afford to throw them away and her store wouldn’t take them back, so she wrote the diaper manufacturer and complained; they apologized and sent her coupons for free product. She’s been hooked on coupons ever since and she treats those little pieces of paper like cash that can take care of almost all of her groceries – as long as she strategizes and plans ahead.

Talking to Joyce, I was totally struck by how confident she is. And then I realized that confidence is characteristic of anyone who knows how to create abundance with coupons; they literally have the word at their feet. Because she can buy food and toiletries for next to nothing, Joyce has no debt, pays cash for cars, and stockpiles enough free food to feed the less fortunate in her community.  She’s a living, breathing miracle!

If you’re new to couponing, before you start snipping coupons, the first thing you’ve got to change is your mindset. (It’s easy!)

Here is Miss Coupon Diva’s Creed for Thinking Like an Extreme Couponer:

1. Coupons are Money

Think coupons are just pieces of paper? Guess what? So are dollar bills. It’s the significance you attach to a piece of paper that makes it mean something, so start treating your coupons with the respect they deserve. A dollar off coupon for a product you need and regularly buy is a dollar in your pocket, plain and simple. (Although it helps when you can mobilize your paper coupons with your smart phone!)

2. Never Settle for Less

Unhappy with the product or service you received?  Tell the manufacturer/restaurant/etc.  You are the consumer and they want your business, so, nine times out of ten, they will rectify the mistake by sending you coupons or gift certificates. It’s extremely easy to communicate with manufacturers: Twitter, Facebook, and email are all great options. In today’s transparent consumer climate,  anyone can review a product or service online, so retailers are extra sensitive to maintaining the standards their customers expect to receive.

3. Coupon Your Needs, Afford Your Wants

Think of couponing as a part time job (one you only have to work an hour or two a week), generating an extra source of income. The money that you save at the grocery store on milk, bread, and shampoo translates into fun money you can spend on your wants. If you’re diligent and keep records of the money you save with coupons, you can very easily see how its possible to afford that vacation you’ve been wanting to take or that new car you’ve been wanting to buy.

4. Treat Credit Cards like Cash Generators, Not Money Suckers

If you use your credit cards responsibly and pay your whole balance each month, you can make them work for you. Research a credit card’s incentive system before you decide to go with one over another. You can finance entire vacations with bonus air mileage and cash back rewards.

5.  Don’t Shop When You Need to

It’s counter intuitive to everything we’re used to thinking about shopping. We think: “Need milk? Go to the store and pick some up.” But if you buy groceries, clothing items, and cosmetics according to your coupons and what’s on sale (instead of what you’ve recently run out of), you’ll stock up ahead of time for a whole lot less. You’ll save the difference between the full-price and couponed purchase, plus all the gas, time, and energy it takes to make frequent trips to the store.

Got questions? Visit Joyce at her website or email me at!

Happy Birthday, Coupon! 5 Facts About How We Use Coupons, 125 Years Later

It’s almost September!  As we usher in all the yummy goodness of Fall, we’re also celebrating National Coupon Month!  It’s such a fitting celebration for September, since we’re all getting ready to open our wallets for the holiday season.  Get to know the coupon during September!  The more you learn now, the better shape your bank account will be in come January.

What happened 125 years ago?  This:

The very first coupon, created by the Coca-Cola company in 1887.  The offer was good for a free fountain soda, and great for skyrocketing Coca-Cola sales into today.

To celebrate National Coupon Month, Valpak conducted a survey across social networking sites, to see how coupons have evolved and why we like to use them.  Here’s just some of what they found!

1. It’s totally okay to use a coupon on a date. When asked about men who use coupons for dining out and special occasions, about 60% of women responded, “That’s my kind of man.”

2. You’re mailbox is full of money.  According to Time, the average American receives more than $1,677 per year in coupons. That’s without having to go look for them!

3. Couponers have more fun.  About 76% of women surveyed said coupons and daily deals help them afford new tastes, travels, and experiences.

4. The coupon is here to stay. More than half of consumers increased their couponing in the last few years, which means coupons are getting bigger and we’re getting better at using them.

5. Paper is popular.  80% of those surveyed use paper coupons from mailers and local newspapers. 34% use social network offers, and 19% use mobile/text coupons.

The future is bright for the coupon!  Here’s to another 125 years… and beyond!