Learn how to use coupons to your advantage
'Crazy Coupon Chick' enjoys craze

Wanda English Burnett

Strategy and organization are needed if one is to succeed at the coupon game.

Kerri Eckstein of the St. Leon area, has both. She is determined to get the best deals for her family. She even goes beyond her family and strives to get the best deals for the Sunman Food Pantry.

What is a good deal? “Well, I like free,” Eckstein answered as her eyes lit up. She’ll settle for 89% or 99% of the total bill as she demonstrated in a shopping trip recently.

Eckstein and her husband, also named Kerry, have a combined family of seven children and now a grandchild and daughter-in-law to add to the growing brood.

“I love couponing,” Kerri told the Osgood Journal as she displayed her massive binder filled with coupons of every variety that she has carefully organized. But, it’s not something new for this mother. She’s been doing it for about seven or eight years since her last children were born. “I just realized I needed to cut down on the grocery bill and this was a way to do it.”

About the extreme couponing show on television, Kerri says she’s watched it but has no desire to do what they do. She doesn’t believe in hoarding groceries, but maintains a well-stocked pantry for her family, something she’s always done. She does this by getting really good buys on her purchases from grocery stores, and doing a lot of her own home-canning. The family also purchases a beef every year to add to their stock of food.

Kerri has other reasons for doing the couponing. She wanted to be a “stay-at-home-mom” and this has allowed her to do that. She typically doesn’t shop for groceries during the months of November and December, but takes that money instead and buys Christmas presents.

“Clipping coupons has allowed us to take a family vacation,” noted Kerri. They have also been able to try products she wouldn’t have otherwise purchased so the family has had new dishes, thanks to her coupon efforts. She noted that food and consumables are a large part of any family’s budget.

Kerri said she started out slowly building her pantry. “It didn’t come all at once and I didn’t see the savings I do now when I started,” she noted.

Known on Facebook as the “crazy coupon chick” from Brookville, Kerri has a desire to not only save money for her family, but to help others. You can go on her Facebook page and click on “like it” and find her suggestions for good deals for the week. “It’s my way to help others,” she told the Osgood Journal.

Another way Kerri helps people is to teach a class on how to find the best deals. Her next speaking engagement will be June 11 at Speaking of Women’s Health, a program sponsored by Margaret Mary Community Hospital. She also has a tentative date to teach a class at St. Andrews Health Campus in Batesville, but gives her email address for a definite time due to recent surgery she had. She is also available for in-home parties where friends can gather for an informal class and learn how to get the best deals with their coupons. You can call her at 812-525-1213 or email her at k_lyn3@hotmail.com to find out more.

At the class, attendees find out how to get coupons for free - even buy coupons that are needed, and use them wisely. They will have the option to purchase a binder at cost and really get started on the road to savings. They will learn how to take store fliers and match coupons to get the best deals, some even free.

Personally, Kerri would like people to know she’s a Christian woman who has a desire to help others. She has just recently become involved in helping get supplies for the Sunman Food Pantry. “There are just so many people in need,” she noted, sadly.

Clara Ann Zinser who works with her cousin Sandy Wagner at the Sunman pantry, said they are very thankful for Kerri’s generous spirit. She happened to be checking out at the same store as Kerri last Friday night and was rewarded with a cart full of items such as bars of soap, body wash, toothbrushes and more. “These items are hard to come by and are in need at the pantry,” Zinser told the Osgood Journal.

With coupons in hand, Kerri Eckstein is pictured above with her binder ready as she begins her shopping trip last Friday. She had 99% savings with a total of $156.10 worth of products.