In 2018, Regina Jones said she spent over $32,000 in retail but only paid $2,351. She did this by clipping coupons.
Jones is not alone in her hobby. Anna Craddock, her coworker at the State Farm regional hub in Richardson, put two of her children through college and supported her daughter in the military through couponing.
Craddock and Jones met in 2017. Among their coworkers, Jones gave the single largest donation to Hurricane Harvey relief, and Craddock gave the single largest donation to Court Appointed Special Advocates. They did this through extreme couponing.
“Extreme couponing is [about]having a lot of coupons, getting ready for a lot of deals and saving a lot of money,” Jones said.
Items the pair says they almost never pay for include razors, toothbrushes and toothpaste, dental floss, shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, soap and pasta.
Recently, Craddock and Jones began teaching the art of extreme couponing to their peers. Nearly 300 coworkers have been taught the “Three Ps”: purpose, planning and patience.
People should know why they want to coupon, when and where to go to get the best deals, and to be patient while waiting for the best sale, Jones said.
The pair doesn’t just teach how to coupon—they also share ideas for what to do with the savings. Craddock and Jones encourage coworkers to put their money into a Credit Union account or to increase their 401(k) contributions.
“I relate extreme couponing to insurance,” Craddock said. “You buy [items]when you don’t need [them], so you have it when you do [need it]. Maybe it will help you; maybe it will help someone else.”
State Farm is working to expand access to the couponing workshops by offering it virtually to all employees on a biannual basis.
“To me, seeing others want to give back and save is [so rewarding],” Jones said.
Craddock and Jones use extra items they acquire from couponing to help those in need. The pair always keeps goodie bags in their cars filled with toothbrushes and toothpaste, water bottles, snacks, shampoo, deodorant and wet wipes.
The bags could retail between $40-$50, but Jones said after coupons the price drops to about $5.
“We share what we have learned over the years, and all we ask is for people to pay it forward and help someone else,” Jones said in a statement. “If you have an abundance, consider giving to those with a greater need.”
Craddock also makes gift baskets for recent high school graduates that include household items she bought through couponing.
“I’ll make them a basket when they go off to college, and when they come back for Christmas, I’ll replenish them,” Craddock said.
Craddock and Jones say they have been dubbed the “coupon ladies” at stores they frequently visit. Other customers will wait to get their groceries just so they can see how much the coupon ladies will save on their purchases.
“It’s like being a kid at Christmas,” Jones said. “When you’ve seen the tree for weeks with just one or two things under it, and then on the day it has an abundance, that rush and seeing someone happy makes it all worthwhile.”