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July 19, 2013

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By Yaffa Klugerman SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (JTA)--Anita Batt's weekly grocery shopping goes something like this: First, she checks several online coupon blogs, which offer guidance about the best sales and coupon combina- tions in stores such as CVS, Kroger and Target. Next, Batt prints the sev- eral dozen coupons she will use and places them in her organizer sorted by store. Then she visits about six stores, sometimes perform- ing multiple transactions at the same location to maximize savings. Her purchases are stored in her basement, where stacks of toilet paper and paper towels are piled to the ceiling. About 20 shelves hold items like 34 bottles of barbecue sauce, 18 boxes of coffee packets, 20 bottles of shampoo, 16 bottles of salad dressing and about every type of cleaning sup- ply imaginable. "It looks like I don't need all that stuff," ac- knowledged Batt, 43, who works full-time and keeps kosher. "But I get it when it's on sale, so I never have to buy something that's not on sale." When the economic downturn and the success of TLC's "Extreme Coupon- ing" bolstered the popular- ity of clipping coupons, many Jewish consumers struggling to cover their own big-ticket items--like day school tuition or sum- mer camp fees--discovered coupons could help them make ends meet, too. "There used to be a cer- tain stigma within some circles of Jewish people who would not coupon because there's a feeling that we shouldn't have to do that," said Lesley Zwick, 36, a self-described shopaholic who lives in Huntington Woods, Mich., and created her own couponing and bargains blog about a year ago, ShoppingWithLes. com. "But I don't see that so much anymore. Now people think differently about couponing." Mara Strom says interest in couponing in the Jewish community is growing. Her blog, KosherOnABudget. corn, receives more than 125,000 hits per month, she says. Strom hosts online webinars with hundreds of students from all over the United States and Israel, and has lectured about couponing to Jewish com- munities throughout the country. "While we may not get coupons for our kosher meat and cheese, we can save a fortune on the rest of the items in our grocery cart," said Strom, who lives in Kansas City, Mo. "These savings create margin in our total budget, which means that the $12.99-a- pound cut of kosher bris- ket is less of a financial burden." Jodi Samuels, co-creater of the New York-based JDeakcom, also has seen the appeal of coupons HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JULY 19, 2013 For extreme kosher couponers, it's aoo, tt the money and the thrill throughout the Jewish community - and not just among those who keep ko- sher. The site has a database of 85,000 names and offers more than 30 deals a month on products and activities, most of which have Jewish themes. The most popular deals, Samuels says, are those involving charities or food. Such coupons can spur hundreds of sales in one day. "The old saying that Jews never pay retail is true," she said. "They are happy to have a deal." Batt agreed. "I see more and more of my friends couponing than they have done in the past," she said. Meanwhile, Orthodox coupon bloggers are help- ing to dispel the notion that keeping kosher and clip- ping coupons are mutually exclusive. "I hear a lot of incorrect assumptions that there aren't coupons for the kosher products people use," said Miriam W., the 23-year-old founder of a Philadelphia-based blog, TheKosherCouponLady. com, which launched in May and gets about 2,500 views each month. "People just need to know where to look. Even with the biggest food restrictions, you can always focus on saving money on non-food products like toiletries and paper goods." Serious couponers say the savings can add up to a lot more than a few pen- nies. Miriam, who asked that her last name not be printed, recalls with pride the time coupons whittled her $255.88 bill to a mere 11 cents. Batt, who buys only items that are on sale and have coupons, says she typically pays 70 percent to 80 percent less for each item--and that's if she pays for them at all. "I never pay for tooth- paste and dental floss," she said. Combining coupons and store sales often can yield free merchandise--or even a profit. Batt spends about $100 a week on groceries for her four family members living at home. Before she started clipping coupons, her typi- cal weekly groceries cost three to four times as much. She said the savings have allowed her to dramatically reduce debt and save toward a family trip to Israel. The impact of serious couponing can go beyond one's own household. Batt's stockpile, for example, has benefited many members of the Detroit Jewish commu- nity: When a young couple gets married, she invites them to take what they need from her supplies. "I let them take four to five shopping bags full of medicine, toothbrushes, sunscreen or whatever they need to help them start their life," sh said. "That's my favorite part about do- ing this." Miriam does something similar. "Real 'kosher' coupon- ing," she said, "is about giving, not about taking." Extreme couponer Anita Batt showing off her stockpile. Yaffa Klugerman i00iscover lll[aism I/ Taught by Senior Rabbi Aaron D. Rubinger Beginning Monday, August 5, 2013 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. If you would like to strengthen your Jewish Spirituality or are considering conversion to Judaism, this course is for you. This 18-week survey course distills the essence of Jewish faith, beliefs, customs and traditions from the perspective of the Conservative movement, and includes basic Hebrew reading for synagogue use. Class topics include: Jewish Views About God & Concept olMitzvah The Difference Between Torah, Bible, and Talmud Jewish View of the Messiah and the Afterlife High Holidays: Bul, Rash Hashono, Yam Kippur The Meaning and Observance of Shabbot The True Meaning o] the Dietary Lows Festivols:Sukkot, Pesach, Shovuot, Hanukoh, Purim & OtherlmportontJewish Occasions Jewish History I - Origins ol the Jewish People until Destruction of 2nd Temple Jewish History fl - Rabbinic Age until Modern Time Life Cycle h Brit, Naming, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, and Weddings Life Cycle Ih Divorce, Death and Dying and Rites of Mourning What ore Tzedakoh, Talmud Torah, and Ma'osim Tovim? Structure & Meaning ojf Our Prayer Service Comparative Judaism: Orthodoxy, Conservative, and Reform - What does it mean to be Conservative Jews What Every Jewish Home Should Have: Preparation]or Conversion Upon completion of this program, those considering conversion must meet traditional requirements. For fees and registration information, please call Susan Sparrow at 407-298-4650 or email: 4 Congregation Ohev Shalom Founded in 1918 Member of The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism 613 Concourse Parkway South, Maitland, FL 32751 * (407) 298-4650 Please view our Website: