September is National Coupon Month and if you think you might be the only person in America who doesn't spend Sunday afternoons clipping and snipping you may be right. Statistics compiled by the Promotion Marketing Association's (PMA) Coupon Council show 89 percent of the overall population uses coupons when shopping at supermarkets.
What company issued the first coupon?
Way back in 1886, Atlanta pharmacist John Pemberton created the recipe for Coca-Cola. He sold Coca-Cola for just 5 cents a glass at his pharmacy. In an effort to increase sales and visibility, Pemberton and his bookkeeper decided to pass out free drink coupons to people passing by on the street. Unfortunately, it wasn't a huge success.
In 1888, Asa Candler bought the rights and the secret formula from Pemberton for $2,300. He liked Pemeberton's promotion idea but he took it a step further and published coupons in magazines for broader distribution. Candler's plan worked.
In 1886, Pemberton sold just 9 glasses of Coca-Cola a day. Now, Coca-cola sells more than 1.7 billion servings each day, all thanks to one little coupon.
The first “cents-off” coupon was introduced in 1909 for one penny off the purchase of a box of Posts's Grape Nuts cereal. Now, a typical Grape Nuts coupon offers the consumer $1 off each purchase.
The average value of a grocery coupon today is $1.25 per coupon and the typical family uses coupons to save from $5.20 to $9.60 on their weekly grocery bill.
Manufacturers offer more than $250 billion of packaged goods coupons every year yet, while coupon usage is growing, only approximately $2.6 billion of those coupons are actually redeemed at the check-out.
The average shopper spends 20 minutes a week clipping coupons and saves $7 at the check-out stand. That amounts to $21 per hour for those who like to look at couponing as a source of income. In fact, it's estimated that for each hour a person spends clipping coupons and organizing their shopping trip they will actually save approximately $100. Not too shabby when you consider minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.
So break out your scissors and start clipping. September is National Coupon Month and you could be saving money every time you go to the grocery store.
Donna Anderson is a frugal grandmother. She and her frugal daughter, Jessica Crowe, spend just a few hours to save hundreds of dollars off their grocery bill each week. Visit them at TheHappyCouponer.com for weekly coupon match-ups and coupon alerts.
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- 7 tips to save money before you even start clipping coupons
- Can you really save money with a coupon clipping service?
- Coupon etiquette: Mind your manners while you save
- The low-down on double and triple coupons