Extreme Couponer shares financial tips with students

April Blum, otherwise known as the Coupon General, has not only sweept local supermarkets for “Q–poning” steals, but also has super saving abilities to give back to the community.

Blum, who celebrated her couponing trade on TLC’s Extreme Couponing, spilled her secrets to Gannon University students Wednesday in the Waldron Campus Center’s Yehl Ballroom.

Blum revealed a bit of her own background and how couponing – as trivial as it seems – changed her life.

Blum explained that she hasn’t always been a “couponer.” In fact, she has only been couponing for two years, but she has already saved an astounding $70,000 during that time. With a family of 10, Blum and her husband faced financial difficulty after Blum had to leave her real estate job in order to home–schooled their children.

With only her husband’s income to provide for the family, Blum explained that it just “wasn’t cutting it at the end of the month.”

The Blum family was forced to turn to a food bank in order to make it to the next paycheck – which, at this point, Blum and her husband decided that some sort of action had to be taken.

Luckily for Blum, she was introduced to the idea of couponing, and, with Blum’s personality, she took this idea, made it work for her family, and perfected her method.

Although Blum admitted that, at first, couponing did not come  easily – she had to work out the kinks to her method – she    asserts that it is a great way to save money.

Blum offered a few myths vs. reality-type situations involving couponing. For instance, she explained that couponing doesn’t, as it may seem, require a person’s full-time attention. Instead, she said that once one has planned out the deals and the coupon usage, it will simply take an extra 15 minutes at the grocery store to make sure everything works out according to plan.

Another myth that Blum cracked was the idea that supermarkets lose money by people utilizing coupons. She not only explained that the stores do not lose any money, but they actually profit by the use of each coupon.

Blum also explained that, no, companies will not stop printing coupons if people use them more – instead, she showed statistics that support the idea that companies are actually issuing more coupons than before.

In addition to explaining the “Q-poning” game and its lingo, Blum offered a few tips for college students to save money. Recognizing that Gannon students typically do not have to support a family of 10, couponing may be a bit extreme.

For instance, she walked the audience through a couponing situation with Dawn dish soap that, although it had to be purchased in a large quantity, a few students could gather together for this deal, minimizing the cost for each individual.

Blum has not only appeared on the TLC program Extreme Couponing, but she also has a website – thecoupongeneral.com – that  lays out the weekly deals of local stores, the weekly coupon inserts, and the individual policies of local stores.

She explained that she and two other women post the deals as soon as they work them out for themselves.

With Blum’s tremendous savings due to her coupon usage, she finds a way to give back to the Erie community — donating food and other household products to the less fortunate and serving her church dinner each Sunday.



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