The cost of groceries and household items keeps going up, with the average family of four spending up to $240 a week on food. But you can save as much as 75 percent on your grocery bills through extreme couponing.
When you think of extreme couponers you might imagine someone with an excessive, random stockpile of goods like 100 jars of pickles and 400 rolls of toilet paper.
But you can save big and not buy in bulk. Local couponer Shaunda Holbrook calls herself a small time extreme couponer, but her tips and tricks can help you save big. Saving money is her mission, and she has a stockpile room with toilet paper, toothpaste and soaps. It's like a mini store full of items she didn't pay full price for.
"I would say my grocery bill is probably cut down about 75 percent now," she said.
Annually she saves between $10,000 and $15,000 on groceries.
She wasn't always this savvy at saving.
"All the sudden the walls come crashing in when you realize everything that you had built is going away," she said.
Two years ago tragedy struck, twice.
"We found out my husband had cancer, shortly after that I found myself without a job," she explained.
She needed to save money, so Shaunda started couponing and never looked back.
Eventually she found another job and her husband beat cancer, but that doesn't mean the couponing stopped. If anything, the saving really started pilling up. With each snip of a coupon, she chops down her bills and adds more coupons to her special binder.
On one trip she heads to Target, navigating the aisles, crunching numbers to find the best deals, using mobile, manufacturer and standard paper coupons, along with Target's free App cartwheel. With cartwheel you just scan an item's barcode to find out if there's a special deal.
Best part of all the deal works on top of coupons so you stack up the savings.
"You go to My Cartwheel and they scan the barcode and anything that I've loaded on here, its going to automatically take that percentage off in the end," she explained.
As more items go in the cart Shaunda gets giddy. Couponing is like a game and she wants to come out on top. For additional savings she always checks the store's end caps.
"I tend to always circulate the things that are on clearance, because you never know what you can find here that is going to be a big deal," Holbrook said.
She takes her cart to the register and at first the pricetag starts climbing. But then the coupons start getting added in the system and price drops. Her final total was $20.91 on this shopping run, a savings of 77 percent. Two hours of planning saved her more than $70.
"Hard work paid off, all that time I spent researching my deals and watching it come off, it was so worth it," she said.
Shaunda didn't buy random items she'll never use just because they were on sale. She stocked up on staples like peanut butter, yogurt, toothpaste and light bulbs.
"I don't think a lot of people realize how much they can save when they shop here," she said.
So how does she do it? While Shaunda uses clipped coupons from the newspaper, her approach is new age couponing.
You can find tons of coupons online at Target's website. You just have to print them off.
Manufacturers have online coupons too, and you can check coupons.com and even Facebook for those. You can even text coupons to 827-438 to get Target coupons sent straight to your phone.
"Research is the number one thing, really know your best deals, research the stores, are you getting the best deals," Holbrook said.
You'll also need patience and need to take lots of notes.