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Meet Two of TC's Extreme Couponers

June 3, 2011
Meet Two of TC's Extreme Couponers

Free groceries? Kristen Hains of Traverse City gets them all the time. She’s a devotee of “extreme couponing,” a nationwide trend that’s gotten so popular, it sparked a television show on The Learning Channel (TLC).

“Four years ago I realized how the coupon world worked,” she says. “[I learned] it was possible to save huge money – not just 35 cents but 80 percent or more off. I was amazed when I realized that I could literally get stuff for free.”

Last month, for example, Haines walked out of Meijer with $125 worth of free baby formula. Often, she says the store will actually pay her to buy an item. How? She’ll trade in a “$1 off” coupon for an item priced for sale at less than $1.

The secret to her shopping success? Hains pays close attention to stores that allow the use of a store coupon along with a manufacturer’s coupon; used together, they can drive an item’s price down to pennies per item.

She also checks her catalinas: “Catalinas are those annoying coupons that print out at the register with your receipt,” she says. “They're not so annoying if you look down and see that one says something like ‘Good for $5 off your next shopping trip of $5 or more.’ That's free money.”

Alisa Kroupa is a Traverse City mom shopping for six. She doesn’t consider herself an “extreme couponer” but admits she puts forth a solid coupon effort in her once-a-month “big shopping” as she calls it. “I save about $2,000 a year, minimum,” she says.

Hard-core couponers typically bring giant coupon binders with them – inches thick – that hold dates of sales, coupons organized by type, and long lists of potential items. Hains has and uses one herself, but because collecting the coupons and watching for deals can be so time-consuming, even she says she doesn’t “extreme coupon” every time she shops.

“I try to take advantage of as many deals as I can – however, as a single mom I don't always have the time to be on top of it as much as I wish I could,” says Hains.

Interested in learning how you can extreme coupon? Our couponers recommend these websites: www.thekrazycouponlady.com, and www.dealnews.com


Most Recent Comments

 
Maria on June 23, 2011 7:37pm

Some stores let you use a store coupon with a manufacture coupon and paired with a sale =$$$$ Learn the policies, carry them with you as well as their customer service # and call them while in line if necessary. I am looking at teaching others and thinking of starting up a blog. It is a game and we need to be extra savy in TC. So call and email the stores and ask them for double coupons! Make your voice heard.

Maria on June 23, 2011 7:36pm

Sales always come back around and a stockpile can't be built overnight so please leave product on the shelves for others. Learn the store coupons policies and which stores allow overage. They can be found online. Some store policies are to reduce the price of the coupon. ie deorderant is .97 and coupon is $1.00 the register will beep and the cashier is supposed to reduce the amount of the coupon to .97. So you are able to use it and BINGO FREE item!

Maria on June 23, 2011 7:35pm

I can't eat processed food and coupons for organic items are available. Check out the organic forums on afullcup.com or weusecoupons.com for tips. Couponmom.com has several videos regarding saving on organic/natural items. Also write the companies telling them you like their products and eating organic and ask them if they have coupns. part 2

Maria on June 23, 2011 7:33pm

Buy downstate Sunday paper it is sold locally. Check and make sure that both the Red Plum and Smart Source Coupons are inside before you buy it because people are taking inserts out of the papers and selling them. Dollar Tree also sells the RE for a dollar. Some of those on EC use coupons illegally and have un-ethical practices. That is how they get so many coupons. This is not only illegal but immoral and retailers manufacturers are cracking down making it harder to find great deals. Please practice coupon integrity. People either want to do the right thing or they don't. 1 of 2

jeff on June 8, 2011 9:28am

Dollar general stores sell the Record Eagle on sunday's for .99 they also have the local free paper available that contains the miejer ads. Most retailers do not double or give money back because they are only reimbursed for the amount on the coupon or transaction amount. Coupon usuage is up 30% nationwide

TC MOM on June 8, 2011 7:03am

•'I think some of those TV coupon ladies are so successful because they get double coupons. Also in TC good luck finding good coupons. Downstate they get tons more in the paper. Up here you are stuck printing them online. I have never had a coupon not accepted because a sale price was less then the coupon. At Meijer's I have used coupons for items I didn't even buy or didn't buy enough of just depends on who the cashier is.

Kathy on June 6, 2011 9:08pm

Extreme couponing is great as long as you are willing to fill your pantry with lots of processed foods. I buy organic and foods free of artificial colors and preservatives. I guess it's just a matter of what you are willing to sacrifice for a buck.

Kris on June 5, 2011 3:59pm

Walmart is one in Traverse City that will pay an overage on a coupon.

Linda on June 3, 2011 10:44pm

We need stores to double manufacturer's coupons. This is when you really can see a savings. This is common all over the US. So, why not in TC? Come on Meijer, Glen's, Tom's, and the rest...offer your customer's something great!

joanna on June 3, 2011 1:37pm

you can't use a $1.00 coupon on a product that is less then the coupon,I know I have tried.Mejers is on the ball always woith coupons.

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