(WBRE/WYOU-TV) Shopping around the holidays can get pricey.
But some people are finding ways to make the most of their shopping trips by taking advantage of coupons.
Eyewitness News Reporter Haley Bianco met up with a local woman who saves thousands of dollars a year by using them.
She considers herself an “Extreme Couponer” — and she offered up some tips.
As a mother of two young children, Nicole Shlegel finds herself at the store. A lot.
Five years ago she started couponing and it quickly became more than just a hobby.
“I’m a stay at home. So as my efforts to help our family, I try to get the biggest bang for our buck and stretch that last dollar!” she told us.
To get started, she joined coupon groups on Facebook.
Now, she has her own system.
Sunday mornings, she lays out the ads on the table.
She brings out a pen and paper, scissors, and uses her phone as a calculator — and for apps.
She clips and circles deals for about two hours.
To keep those paper coupons organized, she’ll use a binder or a zip lock bag.
On her phone, she has apps for each store she’s going to.
She tells Eyewitness News store apps feature digital ads, and you can load the paper coupons onto some apps — making it a little more organized when you hit the store.
She also has apps like “Flipp” and “Favado” which have the ads in digital form, at your fingertips.
These apps have coupons and *compare* nearby store deals.
“It’s about math. And I like to do math a lot.”
For starters, Nicole says toiletries are the easiest items to get dirt cheap.
She recommends getting started with toilet paper.
She has enough at her house for a year or more!
From food to clothing to toys… Nicole doesn’t let a coupon to go waste.
She’s a year-round shopper… Taking advantage of seasonal sales.
“I have all my Christmas shopping done. Probably since September.”
Out of pocket, Nicole paid about 125-dollars for 30 presents for her 6-year-old daughter.
Without coupons, those Christmas gifts would have totaled more than 600-dollars.
“Go in with a plan. You definitely need a plan!”
“I know what I’m spending before I walk into that store.”
For holiday meal shopping… She suggests looking for at least two coupons for each item.
“Stacking is good. You can do a store coupon with a manufacturer coupon.” Nicole explains
She mentions, most stores will double coupons up to a dollar.
And says, don’t be intimidated by cashiers — while it may take longer for you to check out — the store is still making money on those coupons.
As Black Friday approaches —
“Maybe Black Friday isn’t the best day to shop.” She tells us.
— Saying most prices will gradually decline until – and – after Christmas.
But also says there are *some deals*, you can only get with those Black Friday specials.
And when Nicole comes home after a shopping trip, she’ll organize everything in the back of her closet… Keeping track of what she bought and for who on a notepad.
“It’s definitely worth it!”
Nicole says she usually hits the stores on Thursdays and Fridays for the best deals.
– TO SAVE THE MOST MONEY — ALSO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT GAS PRICE AND DISTANCE OF A STORE
– SOME STORES OFFER GIFT CARDS IF YOU SPEND A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF MONEY
– EXTRA SAVINGS!
– HER FAVORITES: BEST STORES FOR COUPONS: SHE LIKES TARGET, CVS, AC MOORE, WEIS AND GIANT
– SAYS OFTEN, BUYING MULTIPLES WILL GIVE YOU A BETTER DEAL THAN JUST BUYING ONE ITEM