Friday, June 21, 2013

The Coupon King of Columbia Heights: how can you save lots of money with coupons?

The other day I saw an article in Bloomberg News about Edward Daniels, an actor and DJ who lives in the neighborhood and who has saved tons of money with coupons -- they call him the Coupon King of Columbia Heights.

This isn't just your usual $0.50 off coupons though, Daniels has learned how use coupons on top of coupons, resulting in deep discounts when buying in bulk. For example, Bloomberg reports he recently bought $2,800 worth of merchandise for less than $100.

It's pretty cool and similar to the couponing reality shows out there. He reached out to me on Twitter. I asked him a few questions about couponing, where you can do it in the neighborhood, and more. Here's what had had to say!

How did you get into couponing?
I was home just before Thanksgiving last year and caught a few episodes of Extreme Couponing and was very intrigued with the show. Customers were making purchases upwards of $500-$600 and only paying around $10 or so. I wasn't aware of so many facets of couponing (using coupons on sale items, BOGO deals, stacking manufacture coupons with store coupons, using your store card, etc) order to save tons of money. I returned to DC and attempted my first coupon run at a Rite Aid and it was awesome. I scored a few high priced body wash items for only .50. I've been couponing since then and have used it as a way to save money on groceries, household, and personal items.

Are there local stores where you do it?
YES, CoHi is a prime location because we're in between 4 CVSs, 3 Rite Aids, Target, Harris Teeter, and Safeway. Those are my hotspots.

How can somebody in the neighborhood get involved with this idea? 
You have to be highly organized, follow the coupon blogs, other couponers on Twitter, keep up with store sales, and have the time to actually hit up a few stores. I am an actor and run a small business, so my schedule allows flexible time to do this. Again, you have to be organized. You have to keep the Sunday coupon inserts and know where to print coupons online for the best deals. Since this thing has blown up, nationally, I'm going to be planning a few dates to offer couponing seminars for those looking to start and save money.

Do you ever have trouble using the thing you buy in bulk?
Using the item that I buy? No. I only spend money on anything that I am going to use or that will add to my supply. So, if I have a year's supply of a product that's only costing me .13 a pop, then I'm getting it because I don't need to purchase it later...or don't need to pay retail for it. If an item is free and I don't use it (ie, feminine products), yes I'm still buying it because it will be donated to family, friends, or a local shelter or food bank. I gave my family a huge donation when I went home for Mother's Day recently. I'm planning a donation locally as I type this. So, yes, everything goes to good use. I never pay for anything that I wouldn't ordinarily buy at some point.

[He recommended some local groups for donations: Bread for the City, Capital Area Food Bank, Calvary Women's Services, Martha's Table]

And finally, what stores aren't good for couponing, but you wish were?
Honestly, the local Target in Columbia Heights is horrible for couponing because the cashiers are completely unaware of the store's coupon policy. I just had yet another issue there yesterday and ended up calling corporate AGAIN. Coupon fraud is a huge issue in the retail world. I'm a very honest person and also know that it is illegal to photocopy coupons, sell them, etc. Also, as most retail cashiers and managers are unaware of, if you photocopy and use a coupon it MAY work, but most likely it will NOT scan twice. Also, you can print a coupon twice from each computer that you're using. Each coupon prints a separate digital code on the coupon for redemption. IF you are photocopying coupons, when they arrive at the manufacture for redemption and they are seeing duplicates from one computer code, they can block your pc from printing further. So, yes, I do everything by the book.

Target is the only place where I've had major issues with my coupons, but I rarely find 'amazing' couponing deals there anyway.

If you'd like to learn more, Edward is @edwarddaniels on Twitter and his site is


Anonymous said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who's had problems using coupons at that Target. I printed one out from the manufacturer's website, and they wouldn't accept it because they claimed it wasn't a manufacturer's coupon. They only seem to want the ones from the newspaper or the site.

Anonymous said...

WAY. Too. much. free. time.

Life is much too short to be spent cutting coupons for materialistic crap no one needs. What a waste of fine actor's talent.

Jacqui said...

In response to the June 23rd Anonymous:

People have hobbies. If he likes to do this, which he obviously does, who is anyone else to judge?

He says, "I never pay for anything that I wouldn't ordinarily buy at some point." And it's food, so how exactly is a necessity materialistic?