Have you ever saved $900 in coupons at the grocery store? Learn how on the premiere of TLC’s newest series, Extreme Couponing.
By Sheila Mulhern
Savvy shoppers flex their couponing skills for the premiere of TLC‘s new series Extreme Couponing. With over 367 billion coupons are printed each year, and an estimated $57 billion worth of coupons that Americans throw away, the shoppers of Extreme Couponing show how taking drastic measures to save can pay off big time.
One profiled savers on the show is Montgomery Village, MD’s J’aime Kirlew who has scored $1,900 worth of groceries for $103. She shares how Washington DC Metro area residents can specifically save in the area and how she gives back to the community.
Washington Life: How much do you think you save per month in Extreme Couponing?
J’aime Kirlew: I save approximately $1,000 per month. I have an average of 90% savings at the register.
WL: What are some of the extreme steps you take?
JK: Some of the extreme steps I take are collecting coupon inserts from around my community; spending hours a day researching sales for my local stores; spending at least one hour a day clipping coupons; there isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not clipping coups!
WL: What keeps you motivated to make this a daily part of your life?
JK: My motivation comes from knowing that I can shop with coupons and not cash. That I am benefiting my family financially but buying the most and spending the least. I am proud of my stockpile and know that it can provide for my family for a year without me needing to ever shop again.
WL: What are some basic savings tips you can offer for an everyday shopper?
JK: 1. Get a newspaper subscription OR purchase the Sunday paper.
2. Remove from the newspaper all of the sales circulars and coupon inserts.
3. Skim & scan through the coupon inserts. Skim & scan through the circulars. Find any coupons that match any of the sales items? Figure out how much you’d pay for that item. If its cheap or free, go grab it at the store!
4. Don’t get rid of those coupon inserts. Clip what you need and leave the rest in tact. Eventually a sale will occur on those items that have coupons and you can score more savings in the future!
WL: Are there certain days of the week or times of year when you can get the most savings at the supermarket?
JK: The best day of the week to shop at any particular store is on the first day of the sales cycle for that store. So if I want to shop at Safeway for the new deals and the shelves are fully stocked I will shop there on Wednesday, which is the first day of the new sales cycle, and it will end on Tuesday. Each month there are items in particular that go on sale. I keep a list I call “Sales Cycle Timing” that I provide to the guests at my workshops. It lists each month of the year and what historically goes on sale in each month (i.e., March is Frozen Food Month).
WL: What are specific items you save the most on?
JK: Toothpaste, cereal, yogurt, cheese, candles, razors, shampoo & conditioner
WL: Which DC Metro area supermarket offers the best savings?
JK: Safeway offers the best savings because they offer store coupons which can be “stacked” with manufacturer’s coupons! They also have electronic manufacturer’s coupons that can be uploaded to your Store Loyalty Card!
WL: Do your stockpiled items go to waste, especially perishable goods? What happens when you run out of storage space?
JK: Thankfully I will not run out of storage space because I donate half of everything I purchase. I have space to store more when the need arises! I have a family of five, so perishables are not often discarded – we eat everything up!
WL: Savings aside, why spend $103 on items when you already have them or don’t need them?
JK: It is worth it for me in the long run to benefit my family’s financial situation through stockpiling and donating. I receive a donation receipt from the charities where I donate. I keep a donation notebook of everything I donate and its value. Through stockpiling it may become necessary for me to not shop for a duration of time. Even if this is the case my family can literally survive on what we have, which is why my stockpiling will never cease!
WL: Have you ever worked with community organizations to give stockpiled items to those in need?
JK: Yes, I consistently donate to local shelters and food banks. I donate to my children’s schools each new school year. I donate to any organization that alerts me of a need and they know what I may have in stock or am willing to purchase. I donate to new Moms who are financially suffering. I donate to neighbors who have lost their jobs and have a family to feed. I donate to my church when they have a collection for the military or an orphanage. A huge part of why I shop the Extreme way I do is so that I can give. Before my husband lost his job we donated to many organizations by writing a check. I have learned that when I show up to a food shelter with multiple bags of food they can be put to use immediately where with a check, a volunteer has many steps to take in order for that money to finally be put to use.
Extreme Couponing premieres on TLC, Wednesday, April 6 with two episodes at 9 & 9:30 PM ET/PT. It will move to the 9:30 PM time slot the following week.