By Ziggy Reynolds via SWNS
A savvy woman says she has saved a staggering $24,000 on her groceries thanks to her obsession with couponing - and she's so good stores sometimes pay HER to shop.
Emily Shetler, 27, got hooked on couponing - using tokens she finds online and in newspapers to get money off her shopping - when she got married five years ago.
She moved to Buffalo, New York, from Texas, with her husband so that he could play college football. She then became the sole earner in their household.
Now she spends two to three hours a week scouring the internet to find the best coupons, saving them to her shopping apps as she goes.
When she goes shopping - armed with a phone full of coupons - her $60 basket of essentials will sometimes cost just $4.
Her biggest bargains have included a haul of beauty and household products from CVS worth $69 which EARNED her 73 cents.
She had coupons that reduced the cost to $8.27, and then she used $9 CVS extra care bucks - electronic cashback - meaning she actually got paid $0.73.
Home insurance rep Emily thinks she cuts her shopping bills by around $400 to $500 dollars a month since she started her coupon habit five years ago.
She now only spends around $50 a month.
With her extra cash, Emily has managed to go on multiple holidays, with her husband, to places like the Bahamas and Martha’s Vineyard.
Her top tip for beginners is: "Start off small - don’t try and do big coupon shops straight away as you can often be left spending more than you mean to."
She also said to “frequently check the sales that the stores are having as you can stack your coupons on top of them.”
The coupon queen said: "When I started, couponing was literally how I got by - without it I wouldn’t have been able to afford my own bills.
“Many people get overwhelmed by couponing as they picture the old-fashioned way of cutting them out from newspapers but it’s so easy now - you can just download them!
“Now that I’m more financially stable, I don’t need to coupon, but I just love it and can’t even fathom having to buy something for full price.”
“It’s like a high - I love watching the numbers as they smoothly go down!”
Emily, known as CouponQueenEm on her social media platforms, has amassed thousands of followers after sharing her coupon secrets.
She said: “I get a lot of people thanking me online, saying that they wouldn’t have been able to afford their shops if it wasn’t for my help.
"Another reason why I still coupon is to help people."
Most of the coupon deals are ‘buy one get same free’ or require the shopper to spend a certain amount which often leaves Emily with more products than she needs.
Although Emily did admit to having “a small stack of products in our one-bedroom apartment” she doesn’t believe in stockpiling items.
Instead, she donates 80-85% of the products she buys to local charities, saying that, “I’m still saving money and am keeping the household going so there’s no need to hoard unnecessary items."
After being a consistent user of Ibotta, which is a coupon and cashback app, Emily has even managed to make an income from her consistent couponing.
Now every time someone uses Emily’s referral code, which gets them a $10 coupon, Ibotta now pays Emily $10 meaning most of her shopping is done for free.
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