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Entries in Extreme Couponing (4)

Wednesday
Jan182012

How to Save Money at the Grocery Store

George Doyle/Stockbyte(NEW YORK) -- Saving used to be simpler. Now, thanks to rising food prices and shows like Extreme Couponing, cutting and clipping has become an art form.

Teri Gault is the founder and CEO of The Grocery Game, a website that provides consumers with weekly lists of the lowest-priced products at their local grocery stores. Gault says her site helps people save up to hundreds of dollars per month. Here is a list of her top tips:

Stacking Sales -- or, combining coupons with in-store deals.

"Investing" -- buy in bulk when things go on sale, Gault says, so you won't have to pay full price later. In other words, don't wait until you run out.

"You don't even have to cut coupons to cut it [your monthly grocery bill] in half," says Gault. "You just invest. "But adding a coupon saves you about 67 percent on the average."

Timing -- Many people don't realize you don't have to redeem your coupons the same week they come in the paper. Coupons usually expire in three months, so you can play your coupons like a card shark.

Final Note: You can donate expired coupons to military families overseas, who may use them for up to six months past the expiration date. One place to do so is this Facebook page. StockpilingMoms.com donates all of their expired coupons to their local American Legion Auxiliary. Coupons must be clipped and bundled with rubber bands.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Aug112011

Newspaper Thefts on the Rise, Couponers to Blame

Glowimages/Getty Images(MOULTRIE, Ga.) -- Newspaper thefts are on the rise, thanks to extreme savers who want more coupons.

Moultrie, Ga., has seen a dramatic increase in thefts, especially of the Sunday edition that typically has more coupons than the weekday papers.

"There is like a coupon ring that they're doing. They want the coupons and get very obsessive with them," said newspaper carrier Michaelyn Blackwell who believes popular TV shows such as Extreme Couponing are to blame for the recent thefts.

Some thieves, she says, have started taking the entire newspaper vending machines that can each weigh as much as 100 pounds. Blackwell says she now chains the machines together to make them tougher to steal.

The report of rising newspaper thefts follows the arrest of an Arkansas woman on August 7, who stole approximately 185 newspapers, worth $231.25, to feed her coupon habit. Jamie VanSickler was charged with misdemeanor theft. She told officers she is part of a coupon club and that she did not know she was doing anything illegal, according to her statement on August 5. She claimed she was just trying to save money.

Extreme couponers behind the thefts who are preoccupied with price may want to consider the hefty cost of the crime. If caught stealing a newspaper, violators can face fines up to $1,000 over a paper that might have cost them 50 cents.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun302011

Extreme Couponer Temporarily Banned from Walmart

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NAMPA, Idaho) -- Extreme couponer April Cuevas says an altercation with a Walmart employee regarding coupon policies led to her temporary banishment from the company's more than 4,000 stores.

The penny-pincher claims that during a trip to a Nampa, Idaho, location a disagreement about competitor coupons -- which Walmart honors under certain conditions as part of its Ad Match policy -- led to an argument with a store manager at the Franklin Avenue Supercenter.

"I was going to Walmart like I usually do, and I only had a few coupons in my purse that I was going to use because I was only going for cheese, milk and candy bars," the mother of five told ABC News.

At the check-out counter, "I was trying to use a Target coupon and the checkout lady said, 'No, you can't use this.'" Cuevas, a daily Walmart shopper, asked to speak to a manager because "it doesn't say anywhere in the store [Walmart doesn't] accept competitor coupons."

"We are aware there was an incident that occurred at a store based on a coupon we should have accepted," Lorenzo Lopez, a spokeperson for Walmart, told ABC News. "We certainly understand her frustration. After gathering all information, we think both sides could have handled it differently. We have apologized to Ms. Cuevas and we have invited her back to the store. She has returned to the store since the incident."

During her quarrel with management, a separate incident took place at an aisle near Cuevas, and she began filming it with her iPhone.

"I saw four big men running toward me and I grabbed my iPhone and start recording because I thought they were headed towards me," said Cuevas. But the employees were headed to another aisle and she kept recording. According to a source familiar with the incident, the video obtained is from two isolated events.

Cuevas told ABC News that when a separate manager approached, he attempted to slap the iPhone out of her hand. After paying for her items and exiting the store, Cuevas says a woman began trailing her family through the parking lot.

"We unloaded the groceries into the car and I tried to tell my license plate number," says Cuevas. "She said, 'I already got it, and don't leave because you're leaving the scene of the crime.'"

While she was exiting the parking lot, says Cuevas, the employee began chasing the car on foot through the parking lot and the streets, frightening Cuevas enough to call the police to report the employee for chasing her family (her three daughters were with her). The dispatcher suggested the shopper pull into a nearby gas station and had an officer waiting once she pulled her vehicle into the station.

At the gas station, "the cop told me I was banned from Walmart for the rest of my life," says Cuevas. She said that when she asked the officer if it was every Walmart or the specific Walmart she recently visited, the officer stated the ban was for "all Walmarts nationwide and even Sam's Club."

The news was a surprise to Cuevas, who says she never had a similar incident with Walmart. The previous day, a store manager declined to a do an "ad match" but "they were very nice."

Cuevas says she has only returned to the store once and her ritual of buying 20 newspapers and clipping coupons with her older daughter has ended.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr072011

Stars of Reality Series Save $40,000 on Grocery Bill

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- In the two-episode premiere of TLC's Extreme Couponing, families reveal their money-saving tactics and coupon prowess by taking coupon-clipping to the maximum.

"Why pay for something tomorrow when it's free today?" Nathan Engels, who operates the website WeUseCoupons.com, said in an interview with ABC News.

The coupon clippers on the new episodes of the TLC series aren't lifelong coupon savers, but at the cash register, they often cut more than 90 percent from their grocery bills.

The strategy of free frequently forces extreme couponers to stockpile enough food and supplies to feed an army for years -- but it works. Tiffany Ivanovsky, a preschool director who appears on the first episode, said she has accumulated two years' worth of supplies for her family of nine, and it has saved her around $40,000.

Engels said his obsession with coupons began more than three years ago while merging finances with his then-new wife.

"We combined our finances and realized we were deeply in debt, so we started cutting up our credit cards," said Engels. While trimming their debt, the couple began looking at other ways to save, which included the grocery store, their second largest household expense after the monthly mortgage payment.

The basic goal of stockpiling is to remove items from your grocery list and shrink your weekly shopping list. Then, meals and other needs are planned around the stockpiled items. Since welcoming a daughter 14 months ago, Engels hasn't made a single stop at the store to buy a pack of diapers, thanks to his stockpile.

"My 11th commandment is, 'Thou shall not pay retail.' It's not necessary with the use of coupons," said J'amie Kirlew, who keeps coupons valued at $40,000 bound and sorted in her home.

Kirlew took to extreme couponing after her husband lost his job, leaving her to fret about their lifestyle and their three children. Living in an affluent suburb of Washington, D.C., she seeks to avoid the stereotype of an obsessed coupon user by getting dressed up for outings to the grocery store.

"My image is very important to me and I think it's very important to me when I'm shopping," said Kirlew. At the grocery store Kirlew believes her image projects money to the cashiers and store clerks. "That's totally fine because they're none the wiser," said Kirlew.

Engels, who has earned the nickname "Mr. Coupon" for his money-saving efforts, is less concerned with image. The father of one has found a way to save on the purchase of 5 to 10 newspapers by taking a peek inside dumpsters.

At times, he's only actually paid one percent of a $680 grocery bill. "It does take time but if you have the time and are willing to put the effort into it you can do it, too," says Engels.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio