Jamie Erickson teaches classes on saving money at the grocery store

Extreme couponing is becoming the norm for many

By Tina Snell, Staff Writer

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Jamie Erickson of Brainerd is an extreme couponer. She works diligently each week to reduce her grocery bill, by at least half.

Erickson has become so good at what she does, she started teaching others how to do the same. This past week she taught 35 local residents how to become an extreme couponer and save at the grocery store.

Jamie Erickson, Brainerd, taught a class on extreme couponing this past week through Little Falls Community Services. She is teaching others how to save 50 percent on their grocery bills.

“I have always used coupons, but have only been an extreme couponer for the last three years,” she said.

Erickson, the mother of four children with another on the way, got involved during a rock bottom moment in her life.

“I was at the grocery store, in the checkout line with about two carts full of groceries,” she said. “I only had enough money to pay for about a quarter of what I wanted. It was embarrassing.”

Erickson said she prayed that night for inspiration. She was watching a television program with the creator of the “Grocery Game,” and that’s when she began her research and taught herself how to fill her pantry for 50 percent off.

“With the economy in the state it’s in, so many people have found there is more time at the end of the month than money,” she said.

Erickson is a stay-at-home mom. She said her husband works hard to support the family and the least she can do is put in a few hours each week to help him out.

“Much of what I teach is common sense,” she said. “I look at coupons as currency. To me, saving money is the same as earning money, it stays in my pocket. I am helping people change the way they do things.”

Erickson said that many people say they don’t have the time to spend doing what she does, but she counters that a consumer can spend as much time as they want. There are no set rules. But, the more time they spend, the more they will save.

In her class, Erickson said she finds common misconceptions about saving with coupons. She hears:

• That people don’t have the time to do what she does;

• That buying generic is cheaper;

• People who utilize extreme couponing are hoarders; and

• Only unhealthy and prepackaged foods can be purchased with coupons.

Erickson said all that is untrue.

“I am teaching others how to use the tools that are available for everyone to reduce one’s grocery bills,” she said. “All those tools are found Online and in the newspapers.”

Erickson’s class on extreme couponing doesn’t end with coupons, though. She also teaches about the major types of stores, the schedule stores use to put items on sale and how to save money without the use of coupons.

“I am retraining others how to shop,” she said.

Erickson’s class was held through Little Falls Community Services, and was filled almost immediately. She said there is a waiting list for another class, and is waiting to hear when one will be scheduled.

For more information about her class on extreme couponing, contact Little Falls Community Services at (320) 632-7938.