Massachusetts mom Kathy Spencer is so good at clipping coupons that she can feed her family of six for about $4 a week.
The coupon maverick went shopping with "Good Morning America" recently to show viewers how to hoard coupons to get the most out of their next trip to the supermarket.
Spencer spends a couple of hours every week scanning newspapers, circulars and the Web.
"Once you have a stockpile, you're good to go and you go through the ads, find out what works for free and then cut the coupons and go to the store," Spencer said. "When I go to the store, I only buy what works out free or close to free, and that's how I do it for as little as I can."
On her latest shopping trip, Spencer ran up a bill of $267.23, before her coupons were added.
After coupons? One cent. Spencer managed to save $267.22.
Read below how you can get these super savings and then click here to visit the "GMA" Recipe page for some great cheap dishes.
Tip 1: Check Your Store's Policy, See If You Can Use Multiple Coupons on the Same Order
On the latest trip, the Boxford resident had seven coupons, each for $1 off seafood. That means if she places seven seafood orders that cost about $1 each, everything will be free.
To make sure each coupon counts, Spencer asks that her order be split into smaller orders of scallops, perch and clams for which she can use the coupons.
"Instead of buying a full pound, I'll get a quarter of a pound so it works out to a dollar so I can use my dollar coupon and it's free. If I bought a full pound, then it wouldn't be free," she said.
Tip 2: Stockpile Store Credits
For every month that Spencer shops at a store called Shaw's, a supermarket chain in the Northeast, she gets coupons worth certain dollar amounts toward her next order.
Spencer still brings the coupons but, now, she can use the store credit to cover whatever the coupons don't.
"I only buy what works out free," she said.
Tip 3: Ask Store About Doubled Coupons
Sometimes, Spencer said, stores will be willing to double the value of the coupons.
At one store, she picked up a frozen pizza that was on sale for $1. She only had a 50-cent coupon but, after asking, the store doubled it, allowing her to buy the pizza for free.
"The kids are happy," she said.
Tip 4: Combine Store and Manufacturer Coupons
Some stores, like CVS, accept store coupons as well as manufacturer coupons. In addition to coupons, CVS' ExtraCare cardholders get nearly 2 percent back on every $1 they spend at the store, regardless of sales or special offers.
By combining the two, Spencer was able to get two scented spray candles and a 2-ounce, soy-based candle for 5 cents.
Back home, Spencer's pantry is full with stuff that she got for nothing.
"This is a surplus of everything that works out free," she said. "This is where, if anyone needs food, this is where they come. It's our own personal stockpile of food."
Spencer said what she doesn't use she donates to friends, family and food pantries.
For more information, head to Spencer's Web site, "How to Shop for Free," by clicking here.
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