NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Kasey Trenum saves $10,000 a year. It's a remarkable feat for the mother of two children in Cleveland, Tenn., but her husband and she spend up to $90 a week on groceries and pocket 30% in the process.
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"A $1 coupon here and there quickly adds up, but the key to effective couponing is buying enough of an item when it is on sale with a coupon to last about 10 to 12 weeks," Trenum said. "That way you don't run out and have to pay full price."
Trenum is one of the 48% of American consumers who say they use coupons proudly as a symbol of their savvy shopping skills, according to a RetailMeNot.com study.
"Ten is the minimum number of coupons we use on an average shopping trip," Trenum continued. "I also use coupons for gas, travel, eating out, household decor, gifts, making purchases online and family entertainment."
Meanwhile, the 2013 Valpak Readership Survey ranked vacation, a growing family and a new home as shoppers' top reasons for saving money long-term.
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"Consumers equate couponing with short term savings, but a consistently mindful approach to shopping also presents opportunities to save for an education, a home and even retirement," said Michael Vivio, president of Cox Target Media's Valpak.
For women shoppers, it's all about the experience. Only 57% of men compared to 69% of women receive emotional satisfaction from using coupons.
Sami Cone rarely goes grocery shopping without searching for coupons online first.
"Before couponing, I'd spend up to $600 month on groceries and personal care," said Cone who lives in Fairview, Tenn. with her husband and two children. "Now, I spend between $160 and $250 on organic and natural products by using coupons and combining them with sales." To boot, she only buys clothes after looking for an online coupon code or printable coupon from the store's website.
About 35% of consumers use coupons to save for a vacation and 22% feel victorious after using coupons.
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"I strive to save at least 50% off regular price on every trip and if I'm really good, I'll save up to 90% off," said Cone, who founded Savings.com. "If you're new at this, start with paper products and toiletries. You never have to pay full price on these items anymore once you discover coupons."
The RetailMeNot.com survey revealed that deal-seekers are most prevalent in the Northeast with 63% of consumers saying a deal influences their purchase decisions.
"More and more people are refusing to buy anything unless they find a coupon or at least free shipping," said Loren Bendele, president of Savings.com. "The 2008 global financial crisis created a whole new generation of budget-conscious people who now think it's cool to be smart with money."
The report further found that shoppers in India and the U.S. rank the highest at 76% when it comes to the importance of saving money compared to only 15% of consumers in Sweden.
However when it comes to buying expensive brand name items, high rollers in India don't hesitate. About 52% of Indian consumers prefer branded items even if they cost more compared to only 20% of Americans.
--Written by Juliette Fairley for MainStreet