Special Report: Max Couponing

By Zaneta Lowe  - bio | email

The mission is simple, to save as much money as possible.  There's planning, strategy and these shoppers are down right serious.  "How do you do that," I ask?  "I can't tell you, 'cause I'll have to kill you," says Kelly Pressy jokingly.

Actually, these super savers are sharing their secrets, coupons.  "It's like printing money, but it's legal," says Glenda Tuel.

"I can get generally between like $170 for about $14," Pressy says.   "I can save at least $200 a month using coupons," says Tuel.  "I saved a $100 and I think I only spent $6," says Amanda Farris.

Farris is a military wife and mother of two.  "I really like that adrenaline high that you get when you save $50 on something and you're only paying $30 for like two weeks of groceries."

Farris started couponing about two years ago to help slash her family's overall budget.

Now, she has a stockpile that includes more than 30 boxes of pasta, dozens of rolls of paper towels and toiletries galore...enough to last at least a year.

So, how can you score the same kind of steals?

We go shopping with Glenda and Kelly to find out how to maximize your savings.  A self-described addict, Kelly teaches classes and goes all out to save.  "I'm just a little bit above the crazy!"

For these shoppers, work starts long before they reach the store, first, they have to find coupons.  "I get 7 papers on Sunday," explains Kelly.  The newspaper is just one source for coupons, there are also online sources, and clipping services.  "Now, if I find an excellent coupon, I may buy a second one," Tuel says.

Once they have the coupons, the key is to match them with a sale.  Kelly sees a deal for buy one get one free on mustard.  It costs $1.99, but she has two coupons for $.30 that will double to $.60 each, which means she'll end up paying less than $.80 for both bottles.

Another way these shoppers max their savings is by knowing the stores' policies.  For example, some double coupons, others allow stacking.   That's when you combine a manufacturer coupon with a store coupon, or even one from a competitor.

At Kroger in Auburn, Glenda, who has even turned her daughter in law onto couponing, takes advantage of store deal.  You buy four items for $10 and get a $5 gift card toward your next purchase.

Glenda's cereal and cereal bars would cost $2.50 a piece, but she's got coupons too.  "So, it should end up like $3, a little less than $3 for all of those."

Couponers like Glenda and Kelly also keep their eyes out for high value coupons, those worth a dollar or more.

Stores won't double them, but you get a lot of bang for your buck.  Glenda picked up some name brand popcorn that was on sale for $1.50, but a $1.00 coupon made it $.50.  She got an even better deal on the medicine aisle.  A bottle of Advil was on sale for $3.84 and she only paid $.84 after a $3.00 off coupon.

In the end, Kelly's grand total before coupons was $131.74, after her Winn Dixie rewards card and coupons, that shrinks to $54.36.  A savings of nearly $80.

Glenda's total before coupons was $75.85, afterwards it's $46.51.  She shaves nearly $30 off her bill and gets the $5 gift card.

"If you don't use coupons, it's like throwing money away," adds Tuel.  Kelly keeps track of her overalls savings.  All three women, Kelly, Glenda and Amanda Farris also donate some of their stockpiled goods.

Couponing 101

How Do I Get Started Couponing?