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Issue Date: January 2008

Dough Know-How

Tori Woods
Cutting coupons isn’t sexy.
It’s hard to look cool toting an accordion folder packed with meticulously trimmed squares of shiny newsprint. But Joe Daugirdas, aka “The Coupon Guy,” knows how to knock 70 to 80 percent off a grocery bill. How does spending $49.41 for $444.10 worth of merchandise grab you? Feel like reaching for the scissors now?

“Most people go shopping just for whatever they might need,” explains Daugirdas, who offers a glimpse into his deal-divining expertise at and teaches a savvy shopper class at Lakeland Community College in Kirtland. “I changed my habits and timed shopping with the sales going on.”

The cornerstone of the Willoughby Hills resident’s philosophy is pairing double coupons (offered locally by Giant Eagle and Dave’s Supermarkets) with items that are already on sale. Daugirdas’ magic number for maximum savings is finding items on sale for 50 percent off their normal price.

“Coupons are 10 to 20 percent off [the original price],” he explains. “With doubling, that’s 20 to 40 percent.” Apply that to an item that’s already on sale for half price and “that’s the 70 to 80 percent [savings] range I tend to purchase items for.”

But his strategies only start there. He knows tells you where to find the cheapest fuel and that coupon-packed Sunday newspapers are sold at a discount on Monday. No savings is too small.

Last year, Daugirdas spoke to more than 70 groups — libraries, schools and family organizations —abouthowto stretch each dollar.

“I see how tough it is,” he says. “It’s not easy for folks to get by. ... I see people struggling with money. There’s a need. I have a knowledge of how to help some of these folks, and I’m glad to be able to.”

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