Remember when Extreme Couponing hit the air on TLC and we all watched in fascinatingly jealous horror as women across the country filled their minivans with toilet paper for 25 cents. I, like many Millenial Moms, saw half an episode, ran to the gas station and bought every Sunday paper, bought a giant binder, baseball card sleeves (had to order those) and knew I was going to conquer the world.
I still have that binder. It is still filled with that first batch of coupons. While the women on TV made couponing seem like a natural talent, there is actually a lot of work that goes into each and every purchase -- a scientific equation that allows tampons plus toothpaste plus this buy-one-get-one coupon plus the in store special equals enough free tampons and toothpaste to last you until you no longer need either item.
It wasn't for me. I dreamed of the day I could stand confidently at the checkout of Walgreens with three carts full of toiletries and know that my total wouldn't be $500 and I would have to cancel the order. The pure lack of confidence sent me into a sweaty spiral that ended my coupon excursions dead in their tracks.
So, who are these women who slip on their Toms, slap the seats down in their Caravan, flip open their coupon binders and conquer the world one sales flyer at a time?
15"Crazy Coupon Chick" Panics If She Doesn't Have A Coupon
By now, we have realized coupons flow through some mom's veins. One self-proclaimed "Crazy Coupon Chick" from Connecticut says it is her worst nightmare not to have a coupon.
“Now I’m like terrified I’m going to run out of Q-Tips and will have to buy something at full price. They’re like 4 dollars,” Missie Morris said.
Morris is like many extreme couponers, her basement is a full-blown stockpile keeping her from ever running out of toiletries in her lifetime.
Morris says her key to great deals is not using coupons the week they come out, wait it out since most retailers are aware of what is in the Sunday circulars and don't want to lose money on products. Then, if you can get something free, get it.
“If it’s free and I have the coupon for it, I’m going to get it. It then ends up over here in my donation pile,” Morris added.
14"Coupon Queen" Made A Robot To Help Her Find Deals
She calls herself the original "Coupon Queen" and, after 40 years clipping, she may reign supreme when you hear about her savings robot.
Susan Samtur has been writing books and articles about savings for decades, but her pride and joy is her invention: her coupon robot -- which she just types in the coupons she wants each week and her robot retrieves them for her.
Though we have seen many extreme couponers come and go through the years, Samtur is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to savings.
"Her weekly grocery bill you'll have to see to believe," said Kris Van Cleave, a reporter for WJLA who saw firsthand Samtur shopping for a week's worth of groceries for her family of six and only spending $9.43.
After America witnessed Samtur's bedazzling coupon usage, she has appeared on almost every major talk show in the country -- including sitting down with Oprah to talk savings.
13Coupon Mom Gets Knocked Out In Checkout
Coupon moms have a vehement desire to save. Most of the time, we are in awe of their stockpiles, as well as their type A personalities and endless patience. But, one Tennessee couponer lost a little bit of her shine when she got in a physical altercation while checking out.
Megan Wilson had her giant binder of coupons in the checkout line at Kroger when things went wrong. Apparently, Wilson was in the line for over 20 minutes holding up other customers as she tried to sort through and calculate her haul.
The gentleman behind her was getting fed up with waiting and told her to hurry up -- from there, Wilson through her drink on the man who then attacked her, knocking her unconscious in the checkout.
Wilson said she accidentally knocked her drink on the man, but he claims it was intentional. The dueling duo were caught on surveillance battling, see for yourself.
12Mama June Has Epic Stockpile
We may know her as an exuberantly white trash mother of an adorable beauty queen, but Mama June is also known as being an "organized hoarder" because of her epic $12,000 couponing stockpile.
Yes, June "Mama June" Thompson from Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo might be a famous reality star, but she is addicted to couponing and her home is overrun with stockpiled toilet paper and paper towel.
"Where are we going to put all this?" asked eight-year-old Alana 'Honey Boo Boo' when she saw Mama June couponing'"Our whole house is full of crap because she's couponing!'"
Mama June admitted that her stockpile cost upwards of $12,000 and, even though her family is sick of her clutter, she is obsessed with couponing.
"Couponing and saving money is a huge turn on to me," Mama June confessed.
11Mom Shops For 90% Off Retail Price
There's a mom in New York that is so serious about couponing, she won't even waste her time buying groceries unless she is getting at least 80-90% off retail price.
Tiffany Ivanovsky is especially proud of her recent trip to Kroger where she walked away with $1,100 worth of groceries for $40."It feels good to save that kind of money," she said.
Ivanovsky said her main goal when it comes to couponing is to make money off the coupons. For example, if she is buying something worth $1.25 she would use coupons totalling $2 so she has 75 cents off other items on her list.
Many coupon websites limit the number of coupons that can be printed from your IP address, but this mother of seven gets around that by having multiple coupon-printing devices at home.
“I also believe in bribery! My older children will help me cut coupons out. It’s worth a dollar to me to have them do that," Ivanovsky said.
10Cajun Couponer Calls Couponing Her "Mom Salary"
We saw her on TLC's Extreme Couponer and know her as the self-proclaimed Cajun Couponer -- but how she got her start in savings is a story of starting over.
Callie was six months pregnant when her husband decided to sell the family business, move across the country and go back to school, making money extremely tight.
"[W]hen my husband's first college tuition bill came in, it made me realize I had to find a way to save money," Callie said in an interview to And Then We Saved. "I could not make enough money to go back to work and send our kids to daycare…so I found a way to save money and stay home with my kids. I call couponing my 'mom salary.'"
While Callie might not be working outside of the home, she puts in up to 20 hours a week couponing.
"I get anywhere from 5-10 newspapers each week, then if I see a really good coupon, I will order them online," Callie said. "Next, I check my favorite websites to see what is on sale for the week. I also do coupon match-ups on my own website for two stores, so I will know what to get at King Soopers (Kroger) and Safeway for that week. Next, I make my list, then go and clip my coupons. When I get coupon inserts, I do not clip each coupon. I file them in a file cabinet by date, and only clip the coupons I know I will use."
9Mom Hits Coupon Jackpot Regularly
A Maine mom said her love of saving hundreds of dollars from couponing became an addiction once she learned how to stack coupons- and you may recognize this reality show second-timer.
“I match coupons with sales and store deals to get things ridiculously cheap,” Chrystie Vachon said. “I became addicted to it. If you save money on things you need every day, it frees up other money.”
Vachon appeared, not only, on Extreme Couponing but also had a cameo on season seven of The Bachelorette during her sister, Ashley's, home visit.
But, how does this reality star vet coupon? Here's an example: CVS has cereal for $2.50 a box. Vachon uses a buy-one-get-one coupon from CVS and two $1-off coupons from the cereal manufacturer. Out of pocket, she gets two boxes of name-brand cereal for 50 cents a box.
It doesn't end there, though.
Vachon looks for cereal marked "try me free" -- these boxes have a $2.50 rebate from the manufacturer, so, in the end, she makes $4 from this transaction.
8Mom Feeds Thousands Of People In Need With Coupons
Not only has one East Coast mom got herself a tribe of couponer underlings, she also uses the great deals to do a great deed: feed thousands of people in need healthy, home-cooked meals.
Lauren Puryear is 29-years old and -- between herself, her friends, her family and her co-workers -- has delivered over 5,000 meals to hungry citizens across New Jersey, Washginton, D.C., and Baltimore with food she buys extreme couponing.
The group, called For The Love of Numbers, uses their numbers to get around cap limits on certain items, which allows them to get 125 boxes of rice, 50 jars of spaghetti sauce, or 100 pounds of pasta for free or next to it.
They serve dishes like spaghetti and meatballs right on the street to hungry people in the community.
“We take pride in providing quality meals,” Puryear said, “and all the time, I hear, ‘Thank you, this is the first meal we’ve had in a couple of a days.’"
7Mom Spends $187 On A $2,756 Bill
A YouTube star was featured on Extreme Couponing for her epic coupon skills -- one time spending $187 on a $2,756 bill.
Amber Flores is a mother of four who has the knack for savings. One of her secrets to save as much as possible is to dumpster dive for old newspapers so you're not paying for the coupons.
While Flores says she normally doesn't spend $2,700 on a shopping trip -- her pre-coupon balance is regularly around a staggering $1,000.
Flores isn't alone in her coupon craziness. Her husband is equally extreme.
"Hubby is the Coupon Gangster!" Flores wrote in an interview with We Use Coupons. "He is just as involved as I am! We are a team and shop together most of the time, but sometimes if I can’t shop he has no problem doing the trip himself!"
Couponing has completely changed the Flores family budget.
"We use to spend like $200.00 a week on groceries and now $50.00 could last me a month," Flores said.
6Modern Mom Coupons Their Food Budget Below $200 A MONTH
In recent years, extreme couponing has grown from stockpiling the Sunday paper to stockpiling coupon apps on your phone. Such is the case for one Toronto mother who uses her phone to keep her family of five's budget below $200 a month.
Aimee Geroux does her homework before she hits the store: sitting down with her phone and a pen and paper to plan.
Geroux uses apps like Flipp and Flyerify to figure out local sales and plan her menu from there. Once planned, Geroux uses rebate apps like Checkout 51.
"They offer a rebate list each week. It could be 25 cents back on carrots or a dollar back on toilet paper. And if you buy those things and take a picture of your receipt and scan it to the app, they'll give you a rebate back in your account," Geroux said.
Even further, Geroux said that eating on budget does not mean you are eating garbage everyday.
"We eat fresh produce, we eat meat, we eat healthy," she said.
5Woman Breaks Coupon Record And Donates To Charity
A UK woman spent enough time clipping coupons to save over $1,500 at a Tesco and then donated it all to charity.
Let's just take a second to think how much time and effort coupon aficionado, Holly Smith, did in order to break Tesco records for her shopping trip and then she gives it all away. That's amazing.
The biggest reason Smith loves couponing so much is she has Asperger's Syndrome which causes those affected to hyper-concentrate on things -- in this case, super savings.
But, how did she do it?
Smith said her biggest secret is contacting companies she loves and letting them know how much she loves them.
“I explain to my children where products come from, and we send a picture or a card to say thank you. I don’t actually ask for coupons, I just send a thank you card or a nice note to the freepost address, and it works really well.”
4Two Stay-At-Home Moms Make Millions From Coupon Obsession
You may know them as the Krazy Coupon Ladies -- but before they were famous for their love of a good deal, two stay-at-home moms were looking to cut their budget and ended up making an empire.
Heather Wheeler and Joanie Demer were tired of spending $500 plus per month on groceries for their families, so they took up the art of coupon-clipping. Soon enough, they had it down to a science and learned how to combine manufacturer coupons with store sales and walk out of the supermarket with bags of free food.
After that, they were hooked and created a website to let other moms know of the "Krazy" good deals -- turning their love of a deal into a multi-million dollar corporation.
They also use their company to spread the wealth, donating groceries, gifts and classes to refugee families all over the world.
3Instagrammer Brags About Endless Amounts Of Insane Deals
When it comes to getting a good deal, many moms can't keep mum about how much money they saved. Such is true for one Instagramming mom who's entire feed proves she is the czar of couponing.
Day after day, Instagram user francesgemel is posting hauls that will make you green with envy. From dozens of completely free Mentos, to 46 cent Nutella jars, to mountains of diapers next to a receipt with zero dollars next to total -- she is a force to be reckoned with.
In the entrepreneurial spirit, francesgemel even sells some of her hoard on her Instagram page, making revenue from her endless amounts of deals.
The above photo is taken directly from this coupon mom's Instagram page where she runs down how much she spent on all of this name-brand soap: she spent $40 out of pocket, but then got a $10 gift card in return at CVS. So, $30 for a lifetime of soap.
2Woman Buys Lifetime Supply Of Toothpaste For Nothing
Every time I buy a tube of toothpaste, I cringe at the thought of how I could be getting this stuff for a lot less had I clipped a coupon. This is definitely the case for one couponing mom who can walk out of the store with a lifetime supply of name brand toothpaste for nothing.
Yes, this photo is the exact purchase Instagrammer, kimoralee_of_coupons, made at Target for no money out of pocket.
You can pick your jaw up off the floor, now.
Being a frugal mother, this toothpaste is never on my shopping list because it is one of the most expensive tubes, but this mom has enough to take a bath in it.
Not only does kimoralee_of_coupons use the coupons to save herself money, she also sells the coupons on her social media if she isn't going to use them. That's some money-making thinking, right there.
1Mom Breaks Down How She Gets A Cart Full At CVS For Free
If you're a mom, any shopping can be a quick way to blow through a paycheck. It's easy to convince ourselves what we need while we are there and then, bam, there goes $200 and all we have to show for it is a car full of cleaning supplies. Well, one extreme coupon mom breaks down exactly how she can still have fun at Target, but walk away with everything free.
Her name is Ana and couponing seems to be her game since she outlined her recent Target and CVS haul and exactly how her total came to zero dollars. The trick? Multiple transactions and a lot of finagling with the stores' Extra Bucks and gift card rebates.
Below is her first transaction at CVS:
(4) 3 Pantene Minute Miracle treatment
(2) Pantene conditioners
(2) Always pads
(2) Oral B twin pack of toothbrushes
(2) $5 off 3 Pantene (manufacturer)
(1) $2 off Pantene (CVS)
(1) $5/$20 Pantene (CVS)
(1) $2 off Always pads (manufacturer)
(2) $1.50 off Oral B toothbrush (manufacturer)
Total: $44.47 before taxes, coupons and $18 in Extra Bucks
Final total: $6.29 and with $18 Extra Bucks back
1 Garnier Micellar water
2 Wet 'n Wild palletes
$4 off $18 hair care (CVS)
(2) $4 off of 2 loreal (manufacturer)
(2) $2 off loreal styler (manufacturer)
(1) $2 off Garnier cleanser
(2) .50 cents off Wet 'n Wild
Final Total: $1.22 (for taxes) after coupons and $17 in Extra Bucks with $5 in Extra Bucks back.
3 Scott toilet paper
Use 3 $1 off
Final total: $2.64 plus tax after Extra Bucks and coupons, got back $5 in Extra Bucks
Sources: Today Show, CBC News, Telegraph, We Use Coupons, New York Times, Coupon Queen, Krazy Coupon Lady, Instagram, Instagram, CNN, And Then We Saved, Today, Press Herald, Oklahoma News 4, Daily Mail, Krazy Coupon Lady, WTNH
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