Extreme Savings with Coupons

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The price of groceries is going up and up, but there are a lot of shoppers who are spending less and less.

They have mastered the art of extreme couponing.

A woman from Columbia County said it's easy to do and doesn't take a lot of time.

Buying groceries is something just about everyone does and because of the rough economy, some learned to save.

"I've cut my grocery bill on an average, on a bad week in half.  On a good week I can save 75 percent of what I used to spend on my weekly grocery bill," said coupon expert Chrissy Cleaver.

She lives near Bloomsburg, and she really knows how to take saving to the extreme.  Cleaver started clipping coupons one year ago, and now saves an average of $100 each week on her grocery bills. She said it's easy and doesn't take up much of her time, which is good because Cleaver has a full-time job and is married with two children.

"If you get organized and put it into your weekly routing, it will be easier to do and you can do it in one to two hours a week," Cleaver said.

Cleaver said there are four basic steps.

First, check www.sundaycouponpreview.com to see what the stores have on sale for that week.

"Once I know what coupons are available I make sure I get the papers that have all the coupon inserts available for that week," Cleaver said.

Next check Facebook.  Many stores have Facebook pages where coupons are posted each week.

Third, get print out coupons online.  Cleaver said they are accepted by all supermarkets in northeastern and central Pennsylvania.

Some websites for print out coupons, including  www.coupons.com, www.couponnetwork.com and www.smartsource.com.

Finally, check the store's weekly inserts to see what's on sale.

Armed with Cleaver's advice, Newswatch 16's Nikki Krize put together a grocery list to take to Weis Markets.  The goal was to spend less than $20 because that's all she had with her.

Weis Markets will double any coupon up to one dollar.

"We do have a limit of four coupons per item.  So if you have four of that item, it will double four of them and do face value for the next one," said Joanne Swank of Weis Markets.

Along with a being thrifty mother, Cleaver also teaches a two-hour coupon class and runs a Facebook site with tips on couponing.

Nikki had 17 items at the check out.  The shelf prices of those items totaled much higher than the $20 she wanted to spend, but with the club card savings the total was $25.41. After all the coupons were added, the final total was $16.21.

Just by using her club card Nikki saved $17.31 and with coupons she saved an additional $8.20.  She saved 61 percent on the shelf prices.