Nathan Engels and his wife Lacy also go by the online screen names of MrCoupon and MrsCoupon and are avid couponers. Their love of getting items for free and their new found ability to reduce their grocery bill in half drove the creation of their website WeUseCoupons. Nathan also teaches free coupon classes and seminars throughout the Cincinnati area.
In 2010, the Wall Street Journal featured Nathan on their front page, he was interviewed by ABC's Nightline and recently appeared on two episodes of TLC's "Extreme Couponing."
1. How did you become interested in coupon clipping and when did you start?
My wife and I got married in 2007 and, after combining our finances, we realized we were deeply in credit card debt: to the tune of $18,000 and, yea, we were only 25!! We over spent and under saved. So we started doing radical things to spend less and save more, and that’s when we discovered couponing!
2. What is your most embarrassing coupon moment?
I hate hate HATE buying feminine products! I’m a stockpiler so, when I find something that is cheap or free, I buy A LOT! So it just so happened that a certain brand of feminine products was on sale and with a coupon it was virtually free. So being the good couponer that I am, I didn’t buy just one: No….I bought 20. But guess what: When I got to the register they didn’t ring up correctly. I generally go to young teenage guys when I buy feminine products because, well, I figure that they would be just as ‘embarrassed’ as I am. So this kid doesn’t know what to do, and he gets on the loud speaker in the store and goes: “Price check, Kotex pads, price check Kotex pads.” He couldn’t have been 16, and so I don’t think he realized what he was saying or what the product was. It was mortifying! But it ended well. I got them for the price that was advertised!
3. How much time per week do you spend coupon clipping, searching for deals, etc.?
I run a large deal website (WeUseCoupons.com) so, excluding the time I spend there, I would say 10-15 hours a week, depending. I shop generally on Saturdays with my 14-month-old daughter and we visit two to three stores.
4. How do you organize all your coupons?
I use a bin system. To read more about it in detail click here.
5. Where do you find most of your coupons?
Hands down, the newspaper.
6. How has couponing affected your family and friends?
It’s been amazing. I buy more, spend less and give abundantly to whomever is in need.
7. What is the biggest tip you can give to someone interested in becoming a couponer?
Organization. It’s critical to couponing. How many times have you said, “Darn, I left my coupons at home.” Organization and a little prep can translate to consistent savings every day!
8. What is the best shopping trip you ever had? How much were you able to get for what price?
The biggest shopping trip I did was on TLC’s Extreme Couponing. The subtotal was $5,700 and I brought that down (with coupons of course) to $240.
9. What do you take into account when making purchases with coupons? (i.e. Do you try to combine deals, BOGO offers, etc.?)
I look at all promotions when purchasing an item. If something is BOGO, often times I can use two coupons to drive down the unit price. My website specializes in empowering the consumer in the specific area!
10. Do you ever find yourself buying things you don’t need just because you have coupons?
No. I’m a frugal person and it would make no sense for me to buy something just because it’s discounted. It would be like buying formula if you didn’t have a baby; You wouldn’t do that. Frugality is about attempting to spend less for products you actually use. When they are heavily discounted, buy more! I write about stockpiling and why we do it here.
11. Do you use coupons to save on everyday activities, like going mini-golfing?
Sure! We love the Valupack that comes in the mail every so often. Programs like Groupon, Living Social and Eversave are growing more popular, also!
12. What things do you most frequently get for free by using coupons?
Toothpaste! I have so much toothpaste I end up giving it away to friends, family and my church!