When Kathy Spencer's husband ended up in the hospital a few years ago, his absence from work and the mounting medical bills got Kathy thinking very seriously about ways to save money. And it was a simple purchase of a carton of juice with a coupon that led Kathy to the realization that with a well-planned strategy, she might actually be able to shop for free, all the time.
Today, she feeds her family of six - and their pets too – for an average of just $4 a week. By stockpiling and carefully organizing coupons from drug stores, local newspapers, web sites, Facebook and even Twitter, she estimates her annual savings are roughly $60,000. When she sat down for an interview on "Mondays With Marlo," Kathy shared some of her best advice on saving money and shopping for free. Among her tips:
- Start stockpiling coupons from a variety of sources.
- Make a list. Don’t go to the store blind, just grabbing things.
- Make a budget. Do the math beforehand so you know how much you will owe, and take only that amount of cash.
- Go to the stores that know you, so they are used to you using coupons.
- Call ahead if you are going to have a huge amount of coupons or are planning to buy extreme amounts.
- Carry the store’s coupon policy in case the cashier is unfamiliar with it.
- If it’s free and you don’t need it, get it anyway and donate it to a charity or a shelter.
- Remember that manufacturers refund the store for your coupons, so coupons are cash to them.
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