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Farmington High School Coupon Club is clipping for a good cause

FHS Coupon Club members include Molly Fauske, Dhoua Lee, teacher Sara Byers-Platt, Paige Schultz and Kody Lemke.

A little pair of scissors can do a lot of good if it's used correctly. At least, that's what one Farmington High School club is finding out these days.

The newly-formed Coupon Club aims to get students to understand just how much can be saved in their weekly budgets by simply clipping coupons. It's a concept that advisor Sara Byers-Platt knows well. As a former single parent, Byers-Platt pinched pennies whenever she could. Clipping and using coupons just came with the territory. It was a valuable lesson learned, to say the least.

"My students make fun of me because I will get my coupons out and gather them up in class every once in a while," she said. "But then a couple of students said, hey, we want to learn how to do that, so it just kind of grew out from here."

The club is small with only four or five members so far, but they meet every Tuesday afternoon. The parameters are still being formed, because frankly, Coupon Club doesn't have its own budget to work with yet. But the members do have a goal for the club: to be able to make donations to the Farmington Food Shelf.

Granted, right now, that means they're focusing on finding coupons for free items. So far they've been able to collect several boxes of rice, some shampoo and a few chubs of ground beef through finding the free item coupons.

Byers-Platt uses a website called Pocket Your Dollars, which is sort of a week-by-week directory of circulars from Minnesota grocery stores, convenience stores and so on. The from there, the club is able to see if there are any free items available for the week.

They also go into the coupon sections from Sunday papers. Once they have a working budget, they'll get into clipping more of those coupons and reaping the benefit of those savings.

In the meantime, Byers-Platt is helping them with concepts like categorizing, cross referencing manufacturer and store coupons, and so on.

"It's just a way to give them some control, especially when you're in dire straits and you don't know what to do to help yourself. There's nothing like 'extreme couponing' about any of it. It's how you can save your money," Byers-Platt said. "It's just a matter of perspective."

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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