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How The Coupon Clippers Became The Secret Weapon Of Extreme Couponers

November 2, 2016

The Coupon Clippers clips and hand sorts each customer’s order of coupons. (Photo credit: Rachael Woodard, The Coupon Clippers) Anyone who has seen the TV show Extreme Couponing has likely marveled at how the featured shoppers can buy $1,000 worth of groceries for under a dollar. The key, you may have noticed, is stacks and stacks of coupons. Where in the world do they get all of those coupons, you may have wondered. The secret for many of those shoppers, affectionately referred to as “extreme couponers,” as well as for the more typical coupon-clipping families, is a coupon clipping service. One of the largest, if not the largest, is The Coupon Clippers (TCC), based in Dade City, Fla. Founded by Rachael Woodard in 1996, TCC serves approximately 250,000 customers, shipping between 1,500-2,500 orders of coupons per week. “We helped people save more than $10 million in groceries last year,” says Woodard. Started as a way to provide food for people who were financially strapped, TCC has mushroomed into a business with $1 million in gross revenue, supported by 20 workers – a mix of employees and independent contractors – focused on buying, clipping and mailing out vast amounts of paper coupons to consumers who want to save money. Also On FORBES: Why Pay for Coupon Clipping? The average coupon-clipping consumer, who tears or clips coupons out of their weekly newspaper insert, may be perfectly satisfied with saving a few bucks on their groceries. For others, however, that single newspaper insert isn’t enough. When they see that their favorite laundry detergent is on sale for 99 cents this week at the supermarket and then spot a $1 coupon in the coupon insert, they aren’t satisfied to get one bottle for free (99 cents-$1 = a free bottle of detergent). They want to stock up on laundry detergent to last a few weeks or months. That means finding more coupons. And that’s where a coupon clipping service comes in – they can provide tens or hundreds of a particular coupon to allow shoppers to take advantage of sales at their local stores. While selling coupons is illegal, according to the fine print on most manufacturer coupons, Woodard explains that she isn’t selling them. She charges a handling fee for finding, clipping and packaging the coupons that customers request, but that fee is not...

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