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Article updated: 12/4/2012 2:37 PM

Learn money saving tips from 'Super Coupon Queen' in Aurora

By

Nearly everybody agrees their income level could be described in two simple words.

Not enough.

Saving money by using coupons can ease that condition, much like a new revenue stream.

Think about it this way -- clipping or printing a coupon is the equivalent of free cash being handed to you.

Sure, that 75-cent coupon for a box of Cheerios doesn't seem like much. But if you plan strategically and use that coupon when Cheerios are on sale, that $3.99 box of cereal costs you just $1.14 (sale price $1.99 minus 75 cents).

Multiply those savings by all the items you buy regularly, and there's potential for hundreds -- even thousands -- of dollars staying in your pocket to be saved or spent elsewhere.

Coupons and a smart shopping game plan are as good as gold in today's economy.

Jill Cataldo will detail the secrets and strategies from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6, with a workshop at the Eola Community Center, 555 S. Eola Road, Aurora.

It's the first of two visits for the "Super-Coupon Queen," who will host an advanced workshop, "Super Couponing 2: Saving on Everything!" at Eola from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 10, as well.

Admission to either workshop is $5 for Fox Valley Park District residents, $7 for nonresidents. Preregistration is encouraged; call (630) 978-3595 or visit foxvalleyparkdistrict.org.

You may already be familiar with Cataldo, a married mother of three who resides in Huntley. The founder of Super-Couponing®, she's been featured regularly on network and cable TV shows across the country and writes a nationally syndicated newspaper column -- The Coupon Queen -- read by more than 20 million people each week. ABC's Nightline labeled her "Dear Abby" with coupons.

Each week, she reports the best grocery deals and coupon savings in Chicagoland on her blog -- which pulls in more than 30,000 readers -- and her DVD is selling like hot cakes.

It's been quite the ride for Cataldo, who began couponing out of necessity in 2008 when her third child was born and she sought out ways to cut her diaper bill and stretch her family's budget.

She saved $5,400 the first year she began coupon-clipping. Little did she know she was at the forefront of a new trend, about to become a national figurehead for saving money.

She now hosts hundreds of workshops each year that sell out regularly. Her 90-minute workshops at Eola promise to be fast-paced and fun, involving audience participation and prizes to boot. Cataldo gears her courses, DVD and blog toward those who have no idea how to do couponing.

It's nothing like the famous show on TLC -- "Extreme Couponing" -- much of which is staged.

"Couponing doesn't take over your life; it's how you take care of your household -- and you don't need to turn your house into a grocery store," said Cataldo, who describes herself as a "couponer for busy people."

"You can do this in 30 to 60 minutes a week and cut your bill in half."

As the cost of living continues to rise, consumers are becoming smarter shoppers.

"How can you turn down the savings that coupons offer?" Cataldo said. "You can save thousands per year -- not by buying crazy, but by buying smart. You're buying things your family needs, and saving thousands of dollars, tax-free."

Sounds as a good as a pay raise.

Jeff Long is the public relations manager for the Fox Valley Park District. Contact him at jlong@fvpd.net

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