Winning the Holiday Price War

Extreme Couponer Joni Meyer-Crothers turned $500 into $100,000 in gifts for poor kids.
5:37 | 12/07/12

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Transcript for Winning the Holiday Price War
Once again, "20/20," deborah roberts and hark the holiday sales. ♪ Reporter: In a world where holiday shopping has become a blood sport, where the pursuit of the hottest deal can get you trampled, tackled, tasered or worse. Push one of my kids, I will stab one of you . ♪ Oh what fun it is to buy your toys from us today ♪ Reporter: In a season of kashli carolling workers and careening chairs, one woman rises above the rest. You found them? Reporter: A purchasing powerhouse who dominating any holiday sale in her path. I have a budget. I have a plan. I know what I'm going for. I have a spread sheet where everybody knows what they're getting. Reporter: Spread sheet? Yeah. Reporter: So, these stores don't stand a chance when you walk in the door. No, no. Not at this point, anyhow. Reporter: Joni has spent years perfecting her purchasing prowess. Becoming such an expert, she's landed on tlc's hit show. "Extreme couponing." I'm so ocd that normally i won't pay 20 cents for something because I know I can get it for free. What is my total? We owe you 3 cents. You guys saved $514.20. That's 103%. Holla! Reporter: Come on, now. Spill the beans. How do you get it for free? Sometimes there's either coupons or register rewards that will print out after a product. A lot of stores will let you use their coupon along with a manufacture coupon. When you put the two coupons together, the items are free. Reporter: Do you ever, ever pay retail? Never. Reporter: And joni's not alone, says dana, a retail industry analyst. She says we're all looking for a deal. They want to see a percentage off. It's almost as if the percentage off, 40%, 50%, it creates a gotta and have buy-now atmosphere. Reporter: Whether they need it or not. Exactly. The american consumer has been taught to buy on sale. This one, original price is $150 and ingot it for $29.88. Bam. Reporter: What is that feeling for you? A rush? Your adrenaline is just going. And then when you walk out of the store, and you haven't paid for anything, you're like, bonus! I feel like I should get arrested or something. Holla! Reporter: Is couponing to you about saving money for you? No, no. I mean, obviously I want to save money but it's more about what i can do for other people. 20 years ago, we went through a really hard type. I was raising my three kids, i was going through a divorce and I couldn't -- it was very hard, because, as a mom, you're supposed to take care of your kids. I just made a promise then, when I got out of that, I was going to help and encourage as many people as I could. Reporter: So, joni's become kind of a retail robin hood, donating mountains of her free stuff to local charities. Look at all that. My gosh! . 850 pounds. Yay! I'm just thrilled. I'm so -- I'm overjoyed. Last year alone, we donated $100,000 worth of stuff and we only paid $500 for it. Come on. That's not possible. Yeah. Reporter: That's a whopping 99.5% discount. It's the kind of savings that might be out of reach for most of us, but there's still some ways you can shrink your own holiday bill. Tip number one. Hang onto your receipt. Even after you snapped up that hot little gift, you might want to keep your eyes peeled for a lower price. A lot of the stores right now are price matching. So, if you save that and it goes on sale in another store, you can take the ad and they'll give you the difference. Reporter: Tip number two, when shopping online, cancel before you buy. Your inbox might soon have a discount from the retailer trying to lure you back to finish your order. And tip three, believe it or not, shop now. Not to worry if you missed out on that black friday bargain hunting. There's still plenty of deems out there. The ten days before christmas accounts for 40% of holiday deals. The deals are going to be back. Reporter: So, you don't have to surrender thanksgiving day if you don't want to. Exactly. Reporter: Getting out there early this holiday season paid off big for this couponing commando. What is your big prize this year? One that I'm very excited about is our hook. We found the hook at target and with all of our discounts and our gift cards, we only spent $35. Reporter: And this costs what? 100. Reporter: Wow. So, then, the other one that I'm very excited about was the baby alive. This retails for $50. We got it for $11.98. Reporter: So, you must have felt pretty happy. I wanted to open it up and play with it. Reporter: And in true joni fashion, she pulled off a christmas couponing miracle. We got $8,000 worth of stuff for $1,300. Reporter: Oh, come on. Yes. Reporter: Go ahead, call her mrs. Claus, because all those presents won't end up under joni's tree. She's found seven deserving family sure to have a much merrier christmas because of her holiday haul. There's not many free gifts that you get in life anymore and i want to do that. I think that's important.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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