PARKERSBURG - In an effort to help people save money, The Parkersburg News and Sentinel is sponsoring a coupon class at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Parkersburg South High School auditorium.
Andria Alexander, a Pittsburgh mother of four and author of the blog simplyfrugalliving.com, will lead the class on how to get the most out of store coupons.
"In classes we take it to the next step and talk about different types of shoppers, sales trends or cycles, how to find higher value and how to track them and how to get the most bargain into everything you buy, to get rock bottom lowest price," Alexander said. "I only spend $200 a month for groceries and home products for a family of four, soon to be five."
Joe Tranquill, circulation director of The Parkersburg News and Sentinel, said the program will be beneficial to the community.
"In these economic times, many people are looking for ways to save their hard-earned money," he said. "Our class will remind people the newspaper is not only the best source of news and information, but also a tool for saving money."
Alexander said couponing is back and is bigger than it was in the 1980s. She said with today's technology it is possible to get more value from coupons. The current trend in coupons started in 2008 with the crash when the economy bottomed out after that.
"Couponing is bigger than it was in the1980s with the advent of electronics and applications and databases to search for specific items and where to find them," she said. "There are resources available that are far beyond what we had back then. Come to class and learn so much more."
Alexander will teach about specific policies of the stores in an area and how to do different transaction scenarios at those stores. She said her class will not teach anyone how to be like the extreme coupon users shown in some television series.
"I'm a typical mom that does not have time to do couponing like a full-time job," she said. "There are many out there like me."
Alexander said the examples on the shows are great, but sometimes not really possible for the average person.
"For those shows, they looked for extreme stories. They went to areas with stores with amazing policies, most of what they do is dependent on the store policy," she said. "You can't do what they do in some areas, you have to take it with a grain of salt."
Alexander said her classes use the same principles, but vary depending on coupon policies. She said anyone can find what is needed to feed a family well for less. She began the classes in February 2011 and later started the blog simplyfrugalliving.com in October 2011.
Alexander said she welcomes those who may not think it's possible to cut their costs at the grocery store with coupons.
"Lots of people, especially older women, are very skeptical about this," she said. "The thing is today there are resources out there that were not available before," she said. "This class will get you up to date on different resources for matchups."
Tranquill said light refreshments will be served, and there will be door prizes and gift bags with some very nice items inside. Tickets will be sold for $12 at the door.
Jeff Saulton contributed to this article.