Even as she taught the many ways to find coupons in today's world, Katie Kitterman said one of the best sources is still the old standby: local newspapers.
"Of the coupons I use in a month, about 40 percent come from newspapers," Kitterman said.
Kitterman taught a short session on the benefits of couponing, how to find the best deals, and how to keep things organized at the Home & Garden Expo Saturday afternoon.
-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
Katie Kitterman shows the binder she uses to file coupons during her talk at the Home & Garden Expo Saturday. Coupons for some items are filed alphabetically, while others like these pages are not clipped out and stored by date printed.
Kitterman, of Grimes, has a blog and Facebook page called iowacouponing, and often leads classes to pass the savings onto others.
Kitterman said useful websites, such as coupons.com and smartsource.com, are listed on her website.
She also recommended coupon databases, such as weusecoupons.com, which help organize coupons from other sites and publishers.
If you go:
What: 2013 Home & Garden Expo
When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. today
Where: Iowa Central Community College, Career Education Building
Cost: $3 or two canned goods
"A coupon database is one of those things that not a lot of non-couponers know about, and this is probably the best, quickest easiest tool we have out there," she said.
For example, when making a grocery list, "I can type in "Folgers" and it will tell me, is there a coupon on coupons.com, was there one in an insert - and give me the date - is there one on their Facebook page, is there one on their website, and it will give me links to all this," she said.
Kitterman said people too often neglect coupons from store "catalinas."
"Those are the machines in the stores that give you coupons after you buy something, to use on your next trip," she said.
Each store is different; you never know what you'll get at Target, she said, but at Hy-Vee you can find out beforehand what coupons you will get, based on what you buy and how much you spend.
"Some people just throw those away," she said "This is money."
Can't find a coupon for a company? Write to the company, she said, and tell them how much you love their product; then ask where you could find coupons for that. Sometimes they will send coupons to you.
Many in Kitterman's audience were already coupon fans.
"I use a lot of coupons," said Myrna Christoffer, Fort Dodge. "The other day I bought $15 worth of meat for $1.88."
Christoffer doesn't use the Internet, but said she hopes the websites will be useful for her daughters, who learned the value of couponing from her.
Kay Luedtke, of Algona, was also happy to hear about the Internet opportunities.
"I think she was very informative," Luedtke said. "I can't wait to get home and check out her website.
"We get the Fort Dodge paper in Algona, and I noticed this workshop, and my daughter's very interested in couponing, so I'm attending for her. She lives up in Minnesota, so I hope she can use some of the sites."
Kitterman also showed how she sorts coupons, alphabetically by brand, and by expiration date. She stores them in a three-ring binder in baseball card sleeves.
She also warned her audience not to try to commit fraud.
"Don't copy coupons, or try to scan them," she said. "Whenever you print out an online coupon, it has a unique number on the front."
If someone tries to use two copies of the same coupon, companies can track down the IP address of the person who printed off the coupon, she said.