Tips to maximize savings with coupons

Website teaches shoppers secrets to saving most money

By Amy Davis - Reporter/Consumer Expert , Tera Roberson - Special Projects Producer

HOUSTON - Chandra Johnson's love of coupons is more than a hobby -- it's a necessity.

"At one point in my life, I was a single parent with three children, and I wanted to maximize my dollar," Johnson said.

It didn't take long for Johnson to learn the ropes, and pretty soon, she was saving thousands of dollars.

"I would say about $3,000 to $5,000 a year," Johnson said. "There's a strategy to it, and I learned that strategy, and I monopolized that strategy."

Nora Kapche's original goal was to be a stay-at-home mom. She started using the money she saved with coupons to supplement her income.

"Shopping for a family of four, I usually spend about $50 a week," Kapche said.

Now, she's turned couponing into a business. Her Coupon Contessa website teaches shoppers the secrets to saving the most money.

"Really trying to help others learn the things that I learned in such a long period of time, condensed into maybe one workshop, or one conversation," Kapche said.

KPRC 2 asked both ladies to share their expertise, and they both agreed you shouldn't waste your time clipping every single coupon. Only clip what you need for your next trip to the store, then stash those circulars away until other items go on sale.

Johnson advises keeping them until they expire.

"You keep the insert anywhere from 30 to 90 days," Johnson said.

Johnson spends a few hours a day clipping coupons, but technology can help you save time.

"There's an awesome new app called Flipp. Flipp has all the grocery stores, all the fliers, and it kind of saves some of my time from running around and getting the circulars and finding out what the ads were," Johnson said.

Let's say someone needs some Tide. Go to flipp.com, type in Tide and the site pulls up the price at every store advertised this week. We can get it cheapest at CVS for $2.94.

But there's more; scroll to the bottom of the same page on Flipp, and they show all of the Tide coupons available. KPRC found one for $1 off. The trick, KPRC is told, is to maximize your savings.

"The biggest part of couponing is taking the sales that are advertised in the stores and combining that with a coupon on top to save the most money," Kapche said.

Kapche showed how she stacked her coupons on top of those store sales and paid $20 for over $135 in products.

The final strategy is to never, ever, pay full price for essential personal items.

"Toothpaste, toothbrushes, mouthwash, soap, even laundry detergent. They literally give that away," Johnson said.

"Always combine those with a sale, and a coupon to save the most money," Kapche said.

Both women said don't get discouraged if you're not saving hundreds of dollars right off the bat. The key is to start small, even saving $20 to $305 off your final bill is a win. To visit Kapche's website, click here.

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