Savvy shopper slashes £920 shopping bill to just £28 – ‘Things I will never pay for'

TLC: Meet the North Carolina coupon queen

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Michelle, 36, is an admitted “coupon-holic” and put her skills to good use to help fund her snacks and drinks for her sons’ sports team. The shopping trip took roughly 10 hours, and successful couponing saw her make a 97 percent saving on over 600 items.

The North Carolina mum and school program coordinator had been couponing for two years when she appeared on the TLC show Extreme Couponing. 

She said: “I would consider myself a coupon-holic.”

Alongside her full-time job, she spends roughly 30 hours per week finding, cutting and organising her coupons. 

While she usually donates the incredible amount of items she has gotten for cheap to her town’s before and after school programs.

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Michelle on TLC's Extreme Couponing

Michelle’s record shopping trip appeared on TLC’s Extreme Couponing (Image: TLC )

However, on this occasion she was asked by her sons’ football team to put her incredible skills to good use, by getting them sports drinks and nutrition bars. 

Before heading to the grocery store, Michelle meticulously planned her items, coupons and transactions, expecting to get $1,000 (£795.90) worth of groceries for less than $50 (£39.79).

The store she went to has a policy where they will double certain coupons, making even more possible savings for the extreme couponer, however, it does come with its limitations.

She said on the program: “The coupon policy states that they will only double 20 coupons per transaction and I can only use four of the same coupon in one transaction.”

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Michelle on TLC's Extreme Couponing

Michelle admitted she participates in the frowned-upon act of shelf clearing (Image: TLC)

Her daughter Kayla, 16, said: “I don’t enjoy shopping with her. It takes a lot of time.” But due to the number of items had to accompany her mother on the trip.

First up on the shopping list were 125 nutrition bars, which retailed at $1.35 (£1.07) each, but after coupons it would only cost Michelle $0.25 (£0.20) each.

24 BBQ sauces were on sale for $1.25 (£0.99) instead of their retail price of $1.79 (£1.42), and after coupons Michelle estimates it should only cost $0.15 (£0.12) each. 

Alongside the purchases for the football team, Michelle cleared a shelf of pancake mix for her work where they planned to have a pancake breakfast. 

These were retailed at $0.99 (£0.79) but with coupons Michelle should get them for free. 

After three hours in the supermarket, Michelle collected her pre-ordered pallet of 125 sports drinks, which all were for free due to her couponing skills. 

At the checkout, Michelle shared: “I wasn’t so nervous before but now I am.”

Her first transaction went well, with a total of $26.09 (£20.77) reduced to $0.85 (£0.68) after coupons. 

In the end, Michelle had seven more transactions than anticipated, taking over two hours at the tills to complete.

Finally, with 100 bottles of condiments, 125 nutrition bars and 400 assorted drinks, Michelle paid a grand total of $34.66 (£27.59) on $1,156.43 (£920.40) worth of shopping. 

This is a 97 percent savings thanks to her couponing skills.

After 10 hours at the store, Michelle concluded: “It was definitely worth all of the hard work I put into it. It felt very good to give the football team all of those items. I am very proud of myself.”

William Murphy

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