From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/06/magazine/coupon-clipping-as-the-key-to-economic-rebirth.html
Coupon Clipping as the Key to Economic Rebirth
By AMANDA FORTINI
Published: May 3, 2012
Forty-five minutes before midnight on a wintry Tuesday evening, Cathy Yoder and Monica Knight, a pair of 30-something Boise women who run a popular coupon blog called Fabulessly Frugal, strode with purpose through the parking lot of their local Albertsons supermarket. It was the third and final night of “doubles” at Albertsons. This biweekly happening, during which the store issues coupons that double the value of manufacturers’ coupons, is to dedicated coupon clippers what the full moon was to Druids. Yoder and Knight, who are Mormon and have nine children between them (Yoder: seven; Knight: two) had spent the day working on their blog and then taught a three-hour couponing class — all without a drop of forbidden caffeine. Yet with the supermarket in sight, they grew visibly jazzed, like Vegas high rollers entering a casino. “We’ll have it all to ourselves, and we’ll know all the cashiers,” Knight said.
Within minutes, Knight — a part-time dental hygienist with glossy, nearly waist-length blond hair and enviable white teeth — had discovered a sale on StarKist tuna fish. “Oh, Cathy, the tuna’s a dollar right now!” she said, as she stood before a shelf containing shiny blue plastic pouches of chunk-light tuna. A bulging nylon binder, which she had seated like a toddler in the front of her cart, held six StarKist coupons for 50 cents off; paired with Albertsons coupons, they were worth a dollar each, the same price as the tuna. “So it’s free right now,” she continued. “And we haven’t even blogged about it!”
For “couponers,” as they call themselves, free product is the holy grail. Freebies are obtained by combining various promotions in ways that can seem laborious and arcane to the civilian shopper: waiting for items to go on sale and then using coupons to buy them; “stacking” manufacturers’ coupons with store coupons; shopping during “double coupon” days; or receiving, post-purchase, a “catalina” — a coupon from a company called Catalina Marketing that can be redeemed on a future transaction. These little papers, which are spit out by a mini-printer that sits near the register and look like run-of-the-mill receipts, usually meet an unceremonious end in the graveyards of shoppers’ pockets and purses, but couponers regard them as cash.
Rather than thrilling to Knight’s news about the free tuna pouches, Yoder, who has reddish-brown layered hair and hazel eyes, went pale. “My coupons are at home,” she said. She is not a thundering person in general — her affect is as soft and subdued as Knight’s is right-angled and intense — but now, upset, her voice was so faint as to be almost inaudible.