After 2.1 million people tuned into TLC’s “Extreme Couponing” special last December, the network realized they were tapping into a vein of ratings gold and developed it into a series of the same title, which debuted Wednesday night in a two-episode premiere showing families that take couponing to the absolute max – and save big.
Preschool director Tiffany Ivanovsky is one of the super thrifty stars profiled in the first of the 12-episode series, and this mother of seven says she saves over $20,000 a year. She insists everyone should be clipping coupons, and saving, too. “People say I don’t have the time or coupons don’t apply to me,” she told xfinityTV.com. “There are always coupons that apply to you.”
To those who don’t believe her, she likes to ask, “Do you use toilet paper?” And when you answer yes, she will say, “There are coupons for it.” Translation: ”You should be getting that completely discounted, if not free,” she says.
According to a report in the Florida Times-Union earlier this year, “In the wake of the Great Recession, coupon redemptions surged as families looked for ways to keep household budgets in line.” The paper cited a by media and marketing company Valassis, which “found that a third of consumers used coupons more often in 2010 than they ever did previously.”
“Shoppers saved $3.7 billion by using coupons in 2010, which was 5.7 percent more than the previous year, according to Valassis. Marketers issued a staggering 332 billion coupons, which was a 6.8 percent increase.”
How can you start saving with coupons?
Ivanovsky provided a few easy tips.
Tiffany’s tips to start saving:
+ Keep your eyes out for coupons. They’re in all your magazines. They’re in the store. Once you start looking for them, you’ll start seeing them everywhere.
+ Try to be organized. Set a goal in the beginning to save $20 and every week try to take it a little further.
+ Start with one grocery store and one drug store. Learn their policy, learn how to shop there and start saving. CVS is an easy place for novices. You’ll be shocked at what you can save.
+ If you have kids, use Tiffany’s method of clipping coupons while they’re napping, at school or during your lunch break at work.
Items that should always be free or almost free:
Hand (pump) soap
According to Tiffany, because there are so many discounts available, “You’ll save the most and get your most bang for your buck if you just coupon for toiletries.”
Sure, clipping coupons, surfing the web and calling manufactures directly can get tiresome and Tiffany admits to taking a break from time to time, but when couponing for two to three hours a week ends up saving you thousands of dollars, it’s hard to stay away for long.
“I just look at it like they’re paying me a $100 an hour to do it because that’s what I’m saving,” she said. “If you look at it as the best paid part-time job you can have, it’s easier to do it.”
Tiffany and her husband plan on using their savings to pay for college tuition. She recommends setting a goal, too. So get out your scissors and start clipping and saving your way to that big ticket item you didn’t think you could afford.
For more of Tiffany’s money-saving tricks, visit her blog: MyLitter.com.
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Tune in to TLC Wednesdays at 9:30/8:30c to see Tiffany and other mega savers in action on “Extreme Couponing.”