DALLAS TWP. — Coupons are like money, and when a a group of Misericordia University students put its members’ coupon clipping and thrifty shopping skills together, local charities benefited.
A new student club on the school’s campus was officially created at the start of the semester with the goal of cutting coupons and trying to get the most items for the lowest amount of money and then donate those goods to food banks, shelters and other charities.
After the first month, the Campus Clippers made their first deliveries. Products from toiletries to Pop Tarts were dropped off at the Back Mountain Food Pantry, the Catherine McAuley House in Plymouth, the Noxen Food Pantry and Ruth’s Place, an emergency shelter for homeless women.
They split the first month’s bounty that totalled 749 items worth more than $1,772. The group, which shopped at Wegmans, Weis, Price Chopper, Target and CVS, spent just $9.40 after coupons for the haul.
Aaron Orchard, a student from Belvidere, N.J., was one of the students who came up with the idea. Though he wasn’t a coupon clipper himself, he watched TV shows such as TLC’s Extreme Couponing, and read Internet blogs.
He did a trial run over the summer as part of the United Way’s Christmas in July program and wound up buying $835 worth of items for about $50 and donated the products to the Weinberg Food.
“I realized we could do this,” Orchard said.
While some in the club were avid coupon clippers prior to joining, some, like Orchard, learned as they went.
Nicole Mirra, of Dallas, said she’s been pleasantly surprised by how easy the process actually is and how much money can be saved.
“I thought it was a lot harder than it is,” said Mirra, whose sister Megan is also in the club.
The students have clipped coupons from Sunday newspapers plus created drop boxes on campus for other students and staff members to drop off their unwanted coupons each week.
Assistant Director of Admissions Kristen Andrews, the club’s adviser and a coupon clipper herself, has one of the drop off bins in her office and joked that she loves leaving her office and returning to a stack of coupons that have been dropped off.
“It’s like the Coupon Fairy showed up. I love the Coupon Fairy,” Andrews said.
While the newspaper glossy inserts are still a key part of a coupon clipper’s arsenal, thanks to technology, online coupons that can be printed and redeemed have also become popular. While most of those sites, including coupons.com, limit each computer to print up to two coupons, the benefits of a large college campus with plenty of computers and computer labs means than students are able to really get a lot of the really good coupons.
“Show college students the power of coupons, combined with the power of college students and what we can achieve together, and this is what you get,” Orchard said as he stood in front of a large display of all the items purchased thus far by the club.