KANNAPOLIS, N.C. -- The world was first introduced to Desirae Young earlier this month when she was featured on TLC's show Extreme Couponing, diving into a giant garbage Dumpster, looking for coupons.
Those coupons fuel her 24,000-item stockpile of food and household items that take over her Kannapolis home. All of the items she either got for free or nearly free because of shopping sales, combining coupons and staying very organized.
How could you beat diapers at 23 cents a box? Young said.
Using her tips and techniques, we wanted to see if they could work for other everyday moms, looking to save money at the grocery store. When we ran into Latisha Tate and three of her four small kids, it was apparent how badly they needed to cut their bills.
I usually spend about $200 a week (on groceries), Tate said. I have a big family and that's a lot of money.
Add that up and Tate spends well over $10,000 a year on groceries. She even admits she doesn't know where to begin to save.
I've tried to collect coupons, and put them to use, but that's the problem, Tate said.
So, armed with her three-ring coupon binder, bursting at the seams, Young and Tate start their grocery journey, starting in the condiments aisle.
Pay attention to size. Which one would you pick? Young asks, gesturing to two sizes of hot sauce.
When Tate points to the larger one, Young shakes her head and explains.
The smallest is $1.25. We have a 50-cent coupon off any sauce. Bi-Lo doubles, so this coupon is a dollar. You'll pay 25 cents for this bottle, Young said.
She then explains why it's important to pay attention to store sales to combine with your coupons. In the marinade aisle, a certain marinade is buy-one-get-one-free. Usually at $2.99 apiece, by combining two coupons with the BOGO sale, Young and Tate get four bottles for just $1. That's a 90 percent savings.
Most of the hundreds of coupons stuffed into Young's coupon binder are from newspaper circulars.
If there's a particularly good coupon, I'll buy 10 newspapers, Young said.
Or, she'll ask around, seeing if her neighbors or coworkers have extras. Many of the coupons actually come straight from her printer.
There are several websites you can search online. You can go through manufacturers and print for absolutely free, Young said.
By keeping a binder, organized with baseball card clear sleeves, Young is able to keep all her coupons organized by category, so she can keep track of them easily and they won't go un-used and expire.
All I have to do is flip to a page and I know where they are. So much easier this way, she said.
For the next 30 minutes, the duo combines coupons and sales and gets things like an entire case of dried noodles for free.
I have 10 coupons here and these noodles are a dollar a pack, Young said.
They also get deep discounts on brownies, Pringles and chocolates. Even household items like Wisk laundry detergent are on the list.
Wisk is $6.65 a bottle, but this week it's on sale for $3.99. We have a coupon for $2, which makes this 1.99 instead of 6.65, Young said.
In fact, almost everything is either free or less than 50 cents. Pretty soon, it's time to check out.
Your total right now is $196.43, said the cashier.
After scanning her grocery store rewards card and all those coupons, in no time the total went from almost $200 down to just $35.19.
That's a savings of over 80 percent, which inspires Tate to give couponing a second chance.
I'm going to try, she said.
Young admits it does take work to clip coupons, organize and do the shopping, but ultimately, it's worth it.
For more tips and savings techniques, check out Young's website at http://www.extremesavingswithdivadesirae.com/.
There are also a number of coupon websites you can search.