SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — We’ve all seen those shows where people walk out of the grocery store with $100 worth of items but only pay $0.99, but extreme couponing isn’t only for reality television.
According to a study by GfK MRI, Western Mass. adults are more likely to clip coupons from the Sunday paper than any other area of the country and some of those people are taking coupons to the extreme.
You might call Ashley Ledoux an extreme couponer. She spends hours each week organizing her shopping trips, often saving over $100 per week. So how does she do it?
“My week starts on Sunday. I get all of my inserts together from various places, my Saturday paper, my one Sunday paper my supplier that I have for individual inserts,” explains Ledoux.
After collecting inserts and clipping coupons she checks the weekly sales, comparing the current sales with next weeks to plan how she can save the most money. She will buy many of the same items each week and add them to her stock pile.
“Just because I have 30 in my stockpile doesn’t mean I don’t need more. The idea of a stockpile is to buy something when it’s on sale or free so that when you need it you have it,” says Ledoux.
Ashley says when people run out of an item, that’s when they spend the most money on it. What they need is usually not on sale, they don’t have a coupon and they’ll go to the most convenient place to find it, instead of where the item might be cheapest.
To find out exactly how Ledoux makes it work, we followed her on one of her shopping trips. After exiting the store with 2 carriages full of items, Ledoux admits she spent $12…her savings?
“Today I saved $200 off of sale prices. I have to calculate the savings off of regular prices because $200 off of sale prices is actually probably upwards of $300.”
Even though it’s a hobby that takes about 20 hours a week for her, to Ashley it’s all worth it.
“To me it’s a great thing and it’s given me the opportunity to provide for my family without having to work that part time job because if I worked a part time job I wouldn’t be home with them. This allows me to be home with them and save the money that a part time job would give me,” says Ledoux.
Ledoux says that people’s biggest misconception about coupons is that they are for junk when actually you can find many items for a healthy diet and the extreme couponing doesn’t stop there, she also uses coupons when shopping for clothing.
Ledoux estimates that she saves about $160 per week on groceries and health and beauty items. That works out to a savings of over $7,600 per year.