She has enough to keep her busy: Full-time college studies in the School of Business at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and its Experiential Learning Scholars Program. Resident assistant. Part-time job. And now Lauren Beauchamp is a blogger.
Like most bloggers, Beauchamp has an agenda: To help fellow college students sort through the sometimes confusing, but potentially rewarding world of couponing.
Blogs, websites, even TV shows are devoted to the fine art of couponing, but they speak primarily to families with children. Beauchamp, on the other hand, writes College Couponer for her peers. Her posts at couponing4college.blogspot.com are chock full of tricks and tips, links to couponing websites, online coupons and more. She even suggests places to find the free stuff always dear to a college student’s heart.
“Couponing for a college student living in a dorm or apartment is different than for the mom with two kids and a four-bedroom house,” she says.
For example, one trick of the couponing trade is stockpiling — finding a sale, using coupons to buy as much of the sale item as possible and stashing it away until it’s needed.
“Some ardent couponers have entire basements and garages stockpiled with groceries. I live in a small dorm room, so I can’t do that,” says Beauchamp, a college junior.
Instead, she says, be choosy. Pick one or two things you use all the time, and keep a small stockpile of that. Besides, she writes, it’s rude to clear out the store shelf of the entire supply of a particular sales item. Somebody else might want to buy a few, too.
An even better strategy is to get inside the marketer’s head and anticipate what they plan to do next.
“The industry standard for coupon and sale cycles is 3-4 months,” she writes. “But most stores shorten that and sales have a 6-8 week circle. So the item you want is likely to be back on sale in the near future. Buy enough to last you until the next sales cycle, then grab your coupon and buy some more.”
“Saving is truly a lifestyle,” she says. “You can find savings on just about everything — groceries, clothing, household items, toiletries. I usually save between 50 and 75 percent on basic items, and I’m not happy unless I’ve saved more than I’ve spent.”
Beauchamp usually even saves 20 percent on movie tickets and restaurants.
“Cutting corners on a first date may not be such a good idea,” she admits, “but I’ve been with my boyfriend for five years, so saving money works great for us!”