‘Coupon Diva’ Helps Consumers Maximize Savings

‘Coupon Diva’ Helps Consumers Maximize Savings

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PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- Some consumers are turning to Joyce “Coupon Diva” House when it comes to maximizing their savings.

House has perfected the use of coupons, rebates and free offers for food, clothing, toys, household items and automobile services.

“What I say to people is everybody can create their own little stimulus package,” said House, a retired registered nurse who hails from West Philadelphia.

“It’s a way of thinking. We as consumers have pretty much given away a lot of our power. I believe that as consumers we should decide how much we pay for goods and services and we don’t.

“The biggest thing I want to get people to see is if you spend a small amount of money on the things that you need, you’ll have more money to spend on the things you want,” added House, who hasn’t paid for essentials such as deodorants, toothpaste, toothbrushes and women’s sanitary products in over 30 years.

House has numerous items that’s she managed to procure for free.

She wants consumers to realize that coupons are not trash. According to the Promotion Marketing Association Coupon Council, shoppers have saved approximately $2.6 billion by utilizing coupons for packaged products.

“I want people to see that coupons are money. They’re made out of paper just like $5s, $10s and $20s,” said House, who saves 90 percent on her grocery bill due to coupons.

“Pretty much every company has incentives for you to utilize their products. You just have to figure out how to utilize them.”

Due to her frugal lifestyle, House was able to provide for her family of three children, while pursing a nursing degree.

“We decided what we were going to eat by what was on sale,” said House, who started using coupons after the birth of her first child.

House routinely utilizes coupons printed in circulars and newspapers. She’s rescued discarded coupons from recycle bins and the seats of El train.

One reason why House is successful at netting good deals and free items is because she’s not brand specific.

She knows the importance of learning a retailer’s policies inside-and-out, which could translate into more savings if something is incorrectly scanned. By paying attention to store policies, House has utilized one particular supermarket’s coupons at a competitor.

She routinely conducts seminars or private consultants for her clients on topics including as navigating through circulars, matching coupons to the shopping list, knowing store policies, learning the true worth of a coupon and unit pricing. She also conducts shopping trips with her clients. House makes herself available to clients for 30 days after the initial consultation.

“I spend a lot of my time in the supermarket re-shopping for people and I try to show them that you can get more for your money,” House said.

She has noticed people who have Access cards are not utilizing coupons.

”People who are using Access cards don’t realize that they can use coupons too and when they shop they are (buying) convenience foods, whereas you can get vegetables or fruits for free or under a dollar,” she said.

“I want people to pay attention. You can’t keep saying how hard it is if you’re not utilizing what’s out here to help you.”

House has appeared on the “Strive to Survive” consumer segment of NBC 10, The 10! Show, The Today Show and TLC’s Extreme Couponing.

House presents a workshop on Jan. 17 at Noon in Philadelphia. For information about the upcoming event visit the Coupon Diva’s Facebook page.