Remember that TLC show "Extreme Couponing" I posted about last week? Well...Nathan Engels, aka, Mr. Coupon from the last segment generously offered phone or e-mail interviews, which of course, I quickly accepted! He is an everyday guy, who is just like most of us couponers. He has a family and just wants to provide for them. I'm honored to have had the opportunity to interview such an amazing person who not only values his family, but also his community. If you haven't heard of him before, you need to visit his site, Weusecoupons.com and join his community there. It is abundant with resources, plus you can ask him or Amanda Ostrowski (also featured on the show) questions too! Also at Weusecoupons are forums that are yours for the taking, where you have a support group that can help you with just about any dilemma regarding saving money. There is also a coupon database! Grab a hot cup of coffee or tea and read the incredible interview with Mr. Coupon!! After you read this, make sure you watch the show that is airing again tonight on TLC at 10:00 p.m!
What does your family do for fun?
We're pretty boring! We are money tight. We get creative. We go to the park with our little one. My wife and I do what we call Frugal Friday Dates where for the last 3 or 4 months we take a coupon and go out to eat for under $20-25. We have a little one, so she really keeps us active. Sometimes we use a coupon for a buy one get one free movie. The University of Cincinnati has a music department and sometimes the students give free recitals, which we call an upscale date, because we can still go to a movie or a restaraunt since our entertainment was free. The museums are often free on Monday evenings too.
Do you encourage buying product you have no need for unless it's a money maker?
Give it away. I used to buy Joint Juice, the cashier would look at me funny, like honey, I don't think you need this! But somebody does. Unless it's a money maker, I only buy like 2 if it's free.
What is the best advice you can give to someone who is new to couponing?
Don't give up! I liken couponing to a game of chess. Chess is a really complicated game if you don't know what you're doing. There are so many different rules and you're gonna feel like you're overwhelmed, so be persistent, don't give up. If you really wanna do this, you can. You don't have to be extreme to save your family thousands of dollars. I'm a pretty normal shopper. I don't usually get thousands. Almost the whole thing we bought for TLC was donated.
What is your "policy" on clearing the shelves of product and leaving none for others?
We are very much against clearing shelves. It's the one thing I wish the show had presented better. My entire order was waiting for me at the customer service desk. but that's not very good television, is it? I knew how many toothbrushes were in that container because I had pre-ordered that, even the small stuff. We had to actually restock the shelves. The show was a little more dramatic, but that's what they do. If you need lots of product, pre-order it. Most stores are pretty receptive to pre-ordering. I really wanted to get non-couponer's attention. They often have misconceptions and biases against couponing, and what I'm trying to do is break that. With the show, couponers are like, whoa! how did he do that! I can teach you to save thousands for your family every year.
Do you believe that some extreme couponers have an unhealthy addiction?
I think that you can take anything to the extreme. There's always a measure of balance. I also think that you can't judge somebody based on a 15 min segment on TV. I'll tell you what...producers can make things magical! Some things were designed and created to get results. They also came to our home for 2 days and I had to wear the same clothes both days! Imagine only getting 15 minutes out of it! Granted the show is called ex couponers. We're gonna be looking like we're a little extreme! Everything takes time. It just takes a little time to learn the rules. The money you save can be put towards debt. It's money saved for your family. This hobby is productive. Think about all of the nonproductive hobbies out there, like model aircraft building and playing video games, ect. This hobby is productive because it saves you money!
Again, Nathan, thank you so much for granting me this interview! I really enjoyed just chatting with you and getting your unique perspective in the world of couponing!
What are your thoughts? Do you have any questions? I also asked some questions related to blog networking and promoting. If you'd like to know more about those, just shoot me a comment!