BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — From floor to ceiling, Ayanna Carr's dining room is stacked with brand name products. Shampoo, toilet paper, diapers and body wash fill the shelves, and she's gotten amazing deals on all of it.
"It's an addiction," she laughs. "It's an extreme addiction!"
Carr clips coupons, and combines them with store sales and clearance items for super savings. She started couponing about a year ago to stock up on items for her five kids and eight grandkids.
"In the beginning it started out - I want to save money," she explained. "Now it's a hobby. It's a thrill. I can work all day long, get out of work, and want to coupon. I shop everywhere. Wegmans, Dollar General, Walgreens, WalMart, CVS, Dash's. Anywhere there's a sale."
She's not out to just save a few bucks. To her, the sales have to be worth it.
"Off of a $25 bill - if you can bring that bill under $5, you're happy running out of that store," she said.
So we went shopping with her at Wegmans to see her in action. For every trip, she plans out exactly what she's going to buy, and which coupons she can use. The day we tagged along, she bought toothpaste and toothbrushes, which were both on-sale. Carr also splits her purchase into different transactions, so she can use as many coupons as she's allowed. The total bill for one transaction, which included five tubes of toothpaste and five toothbrushes, was $11.25. With her coupons, she was able to bring it to $1.25.
"Great," she said when she saw the final price. "It's a great deal."
If you'd like to start couponing, there are a few things that can help get you going. First, Carr suggests watching YouTube videos that show you how to match coupons with sale products. She says that's how she got her first good deals. Then, she started working ahead to find ways to save the most cash.
"I don't look for week to week ads. I look out. Two weeks, three weeks. You can go online and look at each store. The ads are on there. It will tell you which coupons are coming out."
There are also websites that help you figure out how to coupon. For example, Suzy Saver WNY is dedicated to local deals. Carr says once you try couponing, and you get that great deal, you'll get hooked.
"Adrenaline. A rush. It's like really, exciting. It's like money. You just hit the jackpot. And that's how I feel. Like I just hit the jackpot when I get a good deal."