Rows of grocery items are shelved at Wendy Chenow’s Key Peninsula home. Chenow has started a Facebook page and is starting couponing classes to help others. Courtesy photo

For years Wendy Chenow made her living selling cars. But after being injured on the job in 2013, Chenows income switched to L&I. Following multiple back surgeries, money got tight. A single parent with three boys at home, Chenow knew she had to figure out a way to make her limited dollars stretch.

So Chenow started clipping coupons. She clipped hundreds, even thousands of coupons. She organized them in wide three-ring binders with tabs separating the various types of products.  She did her research on store sales and utilized the stores price-matching policies to save even more.

All that work paid off when Chenow started saving big on food. Once this past November, she spent $85 acquiring $2,300 worth of groceries.

Now Chenow is teaching local residents how to do the same.

First, she started a Facebook group listing store coupon policies, highlighting the best deals available locally, and showing people step-by-step how to acquire coupons and combine them with store sales to maximize savings.

The group, called KP Couponers, is growing quickly. Chenow is continuing to expand the information available online, and membership numbers are continuing to climb.

Along the way, someone asked Chenow to host a class on couponing. They had heard that she is able to “get a lot of things free or cheap,” Chenow said, and they wanted to do so too.

So Chenow put the word out about a couponing class. Interest built in her Facebook group.   Then at 10 a.m. on Friday, March 20, a dozen or so people gathered at the Red Barn in Key Center to learn her tips and tricks. Even though it was only the first official couponing class, it was a success and “everyone learned something,” Chenow said.

Chenow heard from several other folks who would have attended except for scheduling conflicts, so she is eagerly planning additional classes. She would like to host a regular coupon class but is still looking for a suitable location. Recently, she was also a guest speaker in her daughters budgeting class at Olympic College.

Among Chenows top tricks is the power of buying in bulk. When an item is on sale, Chenow buys lots of it. To Chenow, thats just logical. “If I find something on sale, it doesnt make sense to buy one of it,” she said.

Chenow also scours store sales to pick the best time to use a coupon. Recently a store had a popular brand of body spray on sale for $1.31. Chenow had coupons for $1 off that brand of body spray, taking the pre-tax price down to 31 cents. So Chenow stocked up on body spray.

Then she went home and wrote about the great deal on Facebook, linking to the $1 off coupon and how long the store sale lasted. Her Facebook friends followed the link, got the same deal, and posted their thanks online.

For information about upcoming couponing classes, contact Wendy Chenow at (253) 292-7440 or join the KP Couponers group on Facebook.

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