My Interview with Nathan Engels aka Mr. Coupon
First of all I would like to thank Mr. Coupon for giving me the opportunity to interview him and allowing my TightWadMama readers a chance to ask questions from the “Extreme Couponer” himself!
Mr. Engels started using coupons in September 2007, a little over 3 years ago when he and his wife got married. Combining finances and debt, they realized they were “over spending and under saving.” With that said they made a game plan: Using debit cards and cash instead of credit cards; eating more at home instead of going out to eat; and using coupons at the grocery (“why pay for something when you can get it for free)!?!?!
Aaron asks: “How much time do you spend a week preparing, finding and clipping coupons?”
Mr. Coupon: “5 to 15 hours depending on the sale and the coupons. If you have a good system it doesn’t take a lot of time. If it’s a bad sale week, I may go to one store, I may go to none. If it’s a good sale/coupon week I may go to all of the stores, maybe more than once. I stick to my list. I go to the store, get what I want and get out! I spend 25% to 30% more time than most people do.” He stressed to me how important a “good system” is, and I totally agree. It’s all about preparation and organization!
Michelle Asks: “Do you have a full time job and family? How do you find the time to devote so much to couponing?
Mr. Coupon: “Yes and yes” to the first question. He has a wife and a child under one. His full time job is making and designing the maps in the back of the Cincinnati Bell Yellow Pages. Also, if you go to a book store like Barnes n’ Nobles and find a book called, “Engels Guide;” he designs these maps. His other job is managing his website: http://www.weusecoupons.com/idevaffiliate/idevaffiliate.php?id=459 (which make sure to check it out…there are tons of deals every single day)!
“Time is money, so I consider a productive avenue for my time.” He has a system he sticks to, to make the most for his time. He laughed about watching his wifes shows with her while cutting out his coupons. He makes time for his family. He mentions that the number one reason in America for divorce is finances. This is so true. Therefore, he makes their finances and his family a “priority.”
Jennie’s Asks: “How long does it typically take you to get all your coupons together for a grocery trip? On average how much money do you save using coupons a year?
Mr. Coupon: Laughing he said, “I am good at Multi-Tasking.” “It depends on the sale/coupons that week.” (around 5 to 15 hours a week per other question). “I am not sure at all how much money I save in a year….it’s so much! I do know that last year we gave away $40,000 to $45,000 in donations alone. We buy extra to give away!”
Emily Asks: Where do you order all of your extra coupons? How much money do you spend on the coupons you buy?
Mr. Coupon: “We get about 2 to 3 papers a week. I dumpster dive in the summer and fall (it’s too wet/cold in the spring and winter). I also use coupon clipping services (more in the spring/winter months because I’m not dumpster diving). There is no shame in dumpster diving, “the more money you spend (like on newspapers), the less you’ll save.” The coupon clipping services he said he uses most often are:
-Coupons By Dede (www.couponsthingsbydede.com )
-Q Hunter (www.theqhunter.com )
-Whole Insert Coupons (http://wholecouponinserts.com )
*If you would like to see his “How-To” video on U-Tube on how to Dumpster Dive, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CI5qLtZY8H0
He also gives an example of how much money he spends on the coupons he buys:
-He purchased 500 Colgate Coupons for $0.06 each (=$30.00)
-He did pay the money out of pocket, but turned around and donated all of the FREE toothpaste he got with the coupons to his church.
-then he’ll just subtract the cost of the coupons, and use it with his tithe at church (he paid $30.00 for the coupons, but turned around and gave $500 in product back)!
What an awesome way to give back to people in need!
Camilla Asks: What is your favorite Grocery Store? What is your favorite Drug store?
Mr. Coupon: “KROGERS!” I love Kroger’s. My favorite drugstore and the only drugstore I shop at is Walgreen’s!”
He also stated that he will shop at Meijer, but his favorite is Krogers!
Camilla Asks: “I always have trouble with cashiers telling me that I am cheating the system because I am getting an item for free (not making money). Do you normally have this problem and what do you suggest I say back to them?”
Mr. Coupon: “My best weapon is a smile!” “I personally have found good cashier’s and I stick with them. I now consider them friends. I know their birthdays and anniversaries. I will go shop when they work.” He even spoke of a cashiers son, who was in the special Olympics that he will do raffles for.
He also, stated that he too, has encountered this problem, so it’s not just you.
This concludes my interview with Mr. Coupon. I do want to make sure that I add how awesome and important it is that “Donating” is a very BIG part of Nathan’s “Extreme Couponing,” and it can be yours too!