ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Former Belpre resident Lisa Craven draws attention every time she checks out at the supermarket.
Craven's scene happens at the register, where stacks of coupons translate into dollars saved every month. She buys fresh meat, vegetables and fruits for pennies on the dollar, and her family enjoys the savings for other activities.
When Craven relocated about a year ago to St. Petersburg, Fla., she took her love of couponing to a new level: the Internet. Her website can be found at www.couponcoachlisa.com.
Lisa Craven in her Florida home with items she purchased using coupons.
According to Craven, her couponing approach focuses on savings without requiring the lifestyle sacrifice that other couponing methods demand. And she said she doesn't use a coupon on a product she doesn't need.
She said she is excited to be able to help people save money in these difficult economic times.
"People are trying to make ends meet with coupons," Craven said.
Known locally for the free couponing classes she provided to others while living here, Craven has taken her quest to save money to the world through her website.
Her website is known as one of the most popular how-to couponing sites on the Internet today.
Access to her website information requires a monthly subscription cost of $5. This cost is used to help pay for the website hosting, Craven said.
Classes on couponing held in person in St. Petersburg are still free, said Craven.
The website features information for saving at local stores, including CVS, Kroger, Walgreens and Wal-Mart.
Using Craven's couponing technique requires learning several skills. These skills are taught to website subscribers and include:
* Making multiple trips through a store to use multiple coupon combinations.
* Shopping the same sale at both the beginning and end of the sale's duration.
* Keeping thousands of coupons organized in binders or boxes.
* Obtaining and using rain checks.
* Locating different coupon types in magazines, on the Internet and from manufacturers.
* Stacking multiple coupons together in a single transaction.
* Understanding individual store policies regarding coupon use.
The information needed to learn these skills is available on Craven's website, as well as on Facebook.
The Facebook groups that Craven hosts are Coupon Coach, with more than 12,000 members, and Coupon Coach Chatter, with more than 4,000 members, according to Facebook records.
Membership at Craven's website is not required to access the advice in the Facebook groups, Craven said.
Website users report savings of 60 percent or more on their grocery bills, stated testimonials on Craven's website.
The information provided to website subscribers teaches them how to get some items for free from local stores, and how to earn money while shopping.
Craven said some stores have policies that pay consumers any overages that remain once the checkout is complete. These overages result from using coupons that have a value greater than the cost of the items bought.
On her website, Craven has claimed personal savings of up to 129 percent for a single shopping trip.
Buy one get one free sales are handled differently in Ohio and West Virginia than in other parts of the country, she said.
In Ohio and West Virginia, buy one get one free items are handled so that each item rings up at only half price, Craven said. This permits a person to purchase only one item for half the price.
This process can complicate some buy one get one free coupon strategies in this part of the country, Craven said.
Website subscribers are given access to a list of current deals available at local stores. Anyone who visits the website can access other websites that offer free coupons without subscribing to Craven's service.