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      KHQA puts couponing to the ultimate test

      Have you seen the Extreme Couponing trend and wondered if it really works and can really save you that much money?

      With the current status of the United States economy, extreme couponing is extremely popular. Many people are seeking out different avenues to save money, but the real challenge is making money saving tactics work for you and your family.

      KHQA put the couponing challenge to the ultimate test, buying groceries on a budget.

      For us, the new experience seemed overwhelming so we sought out the professional assistance of Couponing Expert LeAnn Moyers with County Market.

      LeAnn says the first step to couponing is building your coupon stash. Getting organized and learning a technique that works for you can take some time, but LeAnn says that she does not spend more than an hour and a half a week couponing and shopping. Another important tip is to always try to save more than 50% every time you coupon. She shared with us one important way to accomplish this goal. The secret is to pair a store discount with a manufacturers coupon. This technique, referred to as coupon stacking, works because you get two discounts simultaneously. Start by finding your grocery stores weekly discount ad and then matching manufacturers coupons to the already discounted items. Popular couponing sites such as and are the great resources to find manufacturers coupons.

      LeAnn also cautions you to be patient, "I would say you need to allow yourself 90 days to learn couponing, make sure that it is second nature to you. That you are always saving 50% each week at the store. Making sure that you are picking up the newspaper coupons and all of your other coupons and goodies online. So it is going to take you a good 90 days to really feel like you know what couponing is all about and that you are good at it."

      County Market offers couponing classes where you can trade coupons and learn about new techniques and upcoming deals. LeAnn says "an important step in learning the tricks of the trade is to attend a monthly couponing class. These ladies trade coupons and learn money saving tactics such as coupon stacking.

      County Market offers classes every Thursday at over 30 locations. Contact your local store to find a class location and time that works best for you. For more couponing advice, visit LeAnn has a couponing blog that she updates with news, ideas and strategies.

      Tegan and I attended a couponing class and with LeAnn's help put the couponing challenge to the test. In order to really put the pressure on our challenge, we went shopping with a 50 dollar budget. So did extreme couponing really pay off? Our total before coupons was $120.14 and our total after coupons, $54.91. We will not make you do the math, we saved $65.23. Not bad for first time couponers!

      Even though we know couponing saves you money, couponers often find themselves making a common mistake of overbuying or purchasing items you and your family do not consume.

      LeAnn says, "You need to make sure that you are not over buying, so you are not buying things that your family won't consume. And then making sure that you can plan for yourself. How much does my family need? How long will it take us to use those food items."

      So if you find your eyes are bigger than your stomach when it comes to buying food for you and your family, do what we did and donate to your local food pantry. We found Community for Christ Assistance Center in Camp Point. They serve more than a hundred hungry families in rural Adams County a month and the growing number of hungry families is on the rise.

      Wayne Aden works in the food pantry at Community for Christ Assistance Center and sees the need first hand. Wayne says the need has grown to the point that there is a reeducation on how much food is distributed to each family. Regardless of how much food is donated to the center, the reality is the need still exists and if they do not receive enough food donations, the center must purchase the food. So if enough donations do not come in the door, then money goes out.

      So instead of letting your overbuying pile up in the cabinets, do what we did and donate extra food to your local food pantry. We want to continue reaching out to local food pantries by donating food and clothing. If you'd like to help us, you can drop off your donations off with us, here at KHQA, and we will do the rest for you.

      Bring your donations to the KHQA lobby on 36th street in Quincy or call (217) 222-6200 for more information on how to donate.

      We want to know more about your experiences with extreme couponing ... what's the most you've ever saved? Let us know some of your tips and stories on our Facebook page here.