Joe the Coupon Guy teaches Heights residents how to save in hard times

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Heights residents are feeling the recession this winter as surely as the cold. Many wonder how to keep their budgets on track as expenses rise. Joe Daugirdas, also known as The Coupon Guy, has tips to share.

For starters, there are many sources of coupons. The Sunday Plain Dealer and the Heights edition of the Sun News have coupons nearly every week. The Cleveland Heights Main Library at Lee Road even has a coupon swap area, available to  all.

And, Daugirdas suggests people not overlook what comes in the mail: Valpak, JB Dollar Stretcher and other coupon books also offer free discounts.

The most important thing to do to ensure savings from coupons, Daugirdas says, is to keep them in the car at all times.

To skeptical new couponers he says, “Try it once. You'd be amazed how much you can save.”  How much does Daugirdas save? Just on groceries, he usually spends $100 a month at a savings rate of 70 percent off or more.

To Daugirdas’ claim that he saves enough to buy a car each year, the question is: Would it be a beater or a Beemer?  “A Beemer,” he says, grinning and using the nickname for the luxury BMW. 

Daugirdas tallies each category of savings for the year and says the result is astonishing. “If you add all those together, it is more than $30,000.” 

When asked how to get savings at this level, Daugirdas says, “Start forcing yourself not to buy anything until you can get it for 70 percent off or more. Then you will really start fine-tuning what you were going to purchase.”

The Coupon Guy's advice is to aim for items on sale at half price and then use a matching coupon to reduce the price even further.

Daugirdas spends an hour or two on Sunday preparing his coupon strategies. This is, he points out, “about the same amount of time it takes a couple to argue about money every week.” 

Daguirdas teaches classes at libraries and at local universities that cover many ways to save in addition to coupons. Interested Heights residents can visit Daugirdas' Web site at, and consult his schedule of appearances. It's also helpful to seek out coupon buddies online at says Daguirdas.

His “Savvy Shopper” book includes 151 pages of tips and websites offering more. One site helps people find cheap gas in the area. Other sites help readers slash vacation expenses. Daugirdas also sells the “Our Town and All Around Book,” which lists at least a dozen deals in the Heights area.

MartyAnne Kowalski is a graduate student studying for a Masters in Library and Information Science at Kent State. She is interested in meeting local "superheroes" and sharing their stories. Her other interest is sharing how to survive and thrive in any economy through financial literacy, "money knowledge," as the super-powered skill we can all learn more about.

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Volume 2, Issue 2, Posted 2:04 PM, 02.03.2009