LEXINGTON, Ky. (9/18/13)—As a college student, future wife, full-time worker and all-star cheerleading coach, you would think that Samantha Shirley, 21, doesn’t have time to do much of anything else. However, about a year ago Shirley decided that she was getting to an age where she needed to start saving money, especially with her wedding just around the corner, so she took on one more activity: couponing.
“After watching ‘Extreme Couponing’ on Netflix, I was 100 percent influenced by the show,” said Shirley. “I haven’t paid for shampoo, conditioner, makeup, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, laundry detergent, dryer sheets, toothpaste, mouthwash or deodorant in almost a year.“
You might think that Shirley spends hours cutting out coupons, but this is a common misconception about extreme couponers. Couponing actually isn’t all that time consuming, according to Shirley.
“A lot of people tell me they don’t have time or are too busy. I am an extremely busy person,” she said. “I am a full-time master’s student, I have a full-time job, I coach an all-star cheerleading team, and I am planning a wedding. I feel that I am just as busy as anyone else and I still do it. The only time I coupon is normally on Sundays. It’s a great day for me to set aside and get the deals that I want done.”
Shirley has two pieces of advice for those who are interested in learning how to coupon: Buy the Sunday paper and start following an online blog that explains the coupons.
“Normally I purchase at least two papers per week. If they have really good coupons, I would purchase up to eight newspapers,” she said. “By following the online blog you won’t have to match-up the coupons yourself. They do the hard work for you. I follow the Krazy Coupon Lady, but there are tons of online blogs. You can choose which one works best for you.”
On one shopping trip to CVS Shirley spent $9 on $135 worth of product. Not every shopping trip will be like this though, so a lot of people get discouraged before they even start saving.
“You always have to realize that not every single week you will be able to save oodles of money. It just depends on the sales that the stores have going on, as well as the coupons that came out in the newspaper and online,” said Shirley.
After Shirley started telling her friends and family about the money that she was saving, they were interested in learning her system so she started her own YouTube channel to assist them. She posts at least one video per week, usually on Sunday or Monday.
“I had so many people approach me and ask if I could teach a class,” she said. “I knew I couldn’t take on another responsibility, so I decided to start making videos. This way, it is readily available to my Facebook friends, as well as to any viewers on YouTube. I run down what stores I visited, how much retail is, what coupons I used, and what I paid in the end.“
Still, Shirley doesn’t consider herself an extreme couponer; in her eyes those are people who save thousands of dollars in just one shopping trip. She said she is still learning every single week when she sits down to coupon.
“I don’t see myself as one, but I think my fiancé would consider me an extreme couponer because I refuse to purchase anything without some sort of coupon. He doesn’t like that too much,” she said laughing.
Shirley has found that there are so many positive things that come from couponing.
“You are going to save lots of money. How great is that? The second thing is that you are going to have to start making room for a lot of this stuff,” she said. “I have over 50 boxes of toothpaste and I had to figure out a way that I was going to store it all.”
Check out Samantha’s YouTube page to learn her tips and tricks.
Photos provided by Samantha Shirley
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