I am girl who loves a good deal—after all one of my favorite stores is TJMaxx. However, when it comes to grocery shopping not only do I hate to shop but I’m not very good at it. With couponing becoming all the rage I recently sat down with co-founder of Lowcountry Couponers, Leigh Ann Garrett, to find out whether or not couponing really saves you money.
Style Concierge: I’m busy, how can I save money without spending hours every week searching for coupons?
Leigh Ann Garrett: Searching is a key word. Many times there’s not much of a search–coupons are everywhere! In your Sunday newspapers, online sites such as coupons.com, manufacturer brand sites, grocery store  and even mobile coupons that you can download on your smartphone! An ideal situation is to match a coupon with a sale–with that said, sometimes sales alone can be great! I like to tell people to identify their weekly or monthly goal and aim for that, whether that be a little or a lot. If we put the time into it, we’ll get more out of it and vice versa. If you want to just save $5 each grocery visit, then great! If you want to save $55, that’s great too! Both can be done with some organization and focus. Time is money, so we like encourage keeping it simple & finding a system that works for YOU!
SC: Do coupons really save you money or just encourage you to “save” on items you don’t really need?
LA: I believe the individual has to make that choice. I’m always tempted by a sale, I won’t lie. BUT, I also choose to spend my money wisely. If I don’t need or use something, then I’m not going to pay for it. *The only exception to that would be if something was on super sale AND I had a coupon, making it very cheap or free. I wouldn’t hesitate to get that item then donate to a family or organization in need.
SC: What is your favorite story about how much money you’ve saved?
LA: I like to think that each of my grocery trips are memorable for one reason or another! I try to learn something from each visit. I will say, that one of my favorite stories was when I made a morning stop-off at Harris Teeter on my way to work one Friday, which I usually do in the afternoons once I’m off. I went through my list and when I got to the meat section I came upon whole chickens for just $1.14–no, not per lb, but the entire thing! Bingo. I bought all they had, which was 4! *A good reason to shop in the mornings for meat & produce markdowns AND to own a deep freezer:)
SC: Why did you start Lowcountry Couponers & how can someone get involved?
LA: My friend Pam approached me & encouraged me to share my tips & techniques with her–which then became she & the whole Lowcountry! Hopefully our experiences and tips allow others to have some financial flexibility with the savings they incur– saving money at the grocery store and drug store can be EASY and FUN! Head to our website & Facebook page at www.lowcountrycouponers.com. Sign up to join our mailing list & we’ll keep you in the loop as to savings, as well as our calendar of happenings. We offer free coffee chats and also ‘Couponing 101’ classes for the newbies or those who want to learn specifics about saving in the Lowcountry.
About Leigh Ann Garrett
Leigh Ann Garrett is co-founder of Lowcountry Couponers, a social group of like-minded, money-saving minds. Her full-time career is Events Coordinator with the Center for Women in Charleston, SC. Her family includes husband Matt and 9 month-old daughter, Mollie. Leigh Ann’s focus is to help people save money & help women succeed!

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