Tuesday, April 26, 2011

INTERVIEW: "Extreme Couponing's" Nathan Engels Answers Our Questions!

Whether you're a seasoned couponer or a couponing newbie, TLC's hit show Extreme Couponing is a must see. I'll be very honest with everyone, there are some participants with whom I have issues with either their couponing methods or their stockpiles. I dislike being judgemental of others when I haven't walked in their shoes. Let's face it, everyone has different circumstances they live with on a daily basis, so it's not very smart to pass judgement on how they conduct their couponing. However, there is one Extreme Couponing participant I was instantly interested in - Nathan Engels a.k.a. Mr. Coupon.

My husband says I have a couponing crush on Nathan {which is probably true ;-)}. I mean, what's not to love about him. He's a man, a family breadwinner, and a COUPONER!!! You don't see many men embracing couponing, but Nathan does so wholeheartedly. Not only does he coupon with enthusiasm, he shares the spoils of his hard work with others in his community as we all saw on his segment of Extreme Couponing.

I recently had the opportunity to shoot Nathan a few couponing questions {even his wonderful mom joined in on the Q&A}, and he was gracious enough to share his thoughts on our favorite frugal pastime...
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Hi Nathan,

First of all, congratulations on your stint on Extreme Couponing! As a couponer myself, I struggle to help others realize how financially liberating it can be to consistently coupon. It's wonderful to see how the program showed the viewing audience that couponing isn't just about saving money and stockpiling, but how couponers can make a difference in other people's lives through donations! Your care packages for the troops were amazing! What a wonderful thing to do with your skills as an extreme couponer. Of course, I have a gazillion questions for you, but I'd be more than satisfied with having you take the time to answer 5 of them. Here it goes:

Nathan, do you enjoy being labeled an "extreme couponer"? Is being an extreme couponer a good thing? Sure. People think the word ‘extreme’ is bad, but I look at it like this, would you prefer to be ‘extremely’ in debt? Would you rather be an ‘extreme’ spender. I’m happy I’m saving money and trying to live a debt free life, they can call me whatever they’d like!!

I know I and many other couponers in Florida struggle to achieve a 50%+ savings on our weekly grocery bills since we don't enjoy the benefit of doubling coupons. What tips could you give us to keep us from not getting discouraged when we see folks in other states saving 80%+ every week? You are right, on average I save 50-70% couponing on my grocery bill! It’s possible to save 80% but not easy! I consider 50% an achievement! Be happy and content because every dollar saved can be used for debt or other things! Saving is always an intentional act, so keep looking for ways to save!

Many people complain about not having enough space for a proper stockpile. Any advice for someone with a space challenge? Problem solving sometimes requires creativity. Get creative with space challenges.

What system of coupon organization do you recommend? Which one do you favor the most? I tell people that the binder method is perfect for newbies! Here is a forum on WeUseCoupons dedicated to the binder method: http://www.weusecoupons.com/upload/binders-unbound/. I currently use a different method and my method is shown in detail here: http://www.weusecoupons.com/upload/q-pon-chat/122991-my-new-organizational-system-bins-baggies.html

What can we do to encourage more men to become couponers? We need more testosterone in the couponing world, don't you think? WE DO!! Men want to provide for their families just like women do. It’s natural! Couponing is a great way to do that! I see more and more men couponing! A few weeks ago I saw a huge construction worker, he was probably 6 foot 5 inches, walking around Kroger with his coupon binder!! I was so proud!! LOL

I have a question for momma Engels:
Mrs. Engels, you must be very proud of the way your son has taken up your couponing mantle. As a mother myself, I would love my sons to not only understand the benefits of couponing, but also to enjoy saving money. How did you instill these values in your son, and what advice can you offer other mothers who would like to follow your lead? Thank you for the compliment. Nathan saw me couponing, going to garage sales (and in general trying to find great deals) from a very young age. That probably had an impact on him, but he really developed 'extreme couponing' on his own. Couponing is not just for women, more and more I have been seeing men with coupon binders - I think that is just awesome! I still couponing & love the great deals that I get due to internet help. So I guess that my best advice is that children learn by example - make sure your children see you coupon & talk to them about what great savings you get due to couponing.

Thank you, Nathan, for the opportunity to pick your brain a bit. Again, congrats.
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I hope you all enjoyed a peak inside Mr. Coupon's fun and frugal mind. Be sure to read more of Nathan Engels helpful insights on WeUseCoupons.com.

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