“A friend got me started in couponing,” Reis said. “The first thing I did was to pick one store and learn about their policy for coupons. The total bill for my first purchase was around $75, and after I applied the coupons, I only paid out of pocket $25.”
Reis has acquired many name-brand products free, including laundry detergent, dish soap, makeup, hair products, cereal, pasta, sauces, pet food and seasonal items. She gave most of them to local charities, including the McHenry House Family Shelter.
“One of the key reasons I coupon is not just to save money, but to give back to those in need,” Reis said. “Each week, I put in about eight hours of organizing and finding coupons and deals.”
This past week, she picked up packages of 12 razors with no out-of-pocket expense. By the time the cashier had scanned all her coupons, the store owed Reis money.
“The total retail cost of the razors were $1.97 per pack, and I had a $3 off coupon for each,” Reis said. “I made 86 cents back per coupon. After applying the tax, I was given back $13.80 at the register. I am planning to donate the razors to charity.”
Reis offers a 90-minute class to the public and has started a Facebook group, Coast to Coast Coupons. She asks a $10 donation from those who attend the class.
The first step she teaches is collecting coupon inserts, usually found in newspapers. She advises writing the dates on the coupons and filing them for future use. In addition, Reis recommends using coupon websites that will match deals with your coupons or the store deals.
Tracy resident Cheryl Rindt is among the alumni of the class.
“After taking the coupon class, I was able to use the tips I received to help me purchase items that cost next to nothing or were virtually free,” Rindt said. “I have started a donation closet at my home where I store my items and I distribute them as soon as a need is identified. To date, I have been able to help two families in need.”
Reis can be reached through her Facebook group, Coast to Coast Coupons.
• Contact the Tracy Press newsroom at 835-3030 or firstname.lastname@example.org.