By MoneySavingExpert's Coupon Kid, Jordon Cox
Jordon Cox, aka The Coupon Kid, now writes for MSE. Here in his first blog he explains how he got into extreme couponing and shares the quirky stories and situations he has found himself in thanks to his MoneySaving passion.
How I saved £5,000
For the past three years, I have dedicated my time to saving money using coupons and it has paid off in spades. I started because of a popular US TV show called Extreme Couponing. After watching along with my chin on the floor, and my family being in a tough financial crisis, I decided to give it a go.
Week on week I saved more and more and after my first big shop that netted me £105 worth of goods for just £1.62, I was hooked. My biggest ever saving was £600 worth of groceries that cost me just 4p, which was then all donated to a homeless shelter for Christmas, feeding more than 150 people.
Unfortunately, you won’t be getting that every week, it took months and months of coupon collecting. I used so many coupons for this shop, most of them being high-value coupons from manufacturers, such as free cream and butter from Anchor, lots of £1 off coupons combined with offers from Aunt Bessie’s and free soup from New Covent Garden Co. One of the many gifts of couponing is the ability to give back.
Just in the supermarket alone I have saved £5,000, £700 of which was this year so far. My average weekly shop is reduced by £15-£20 and my most common percentage saving is about 50%. Nothing to be sniffed at for just emailing manufacturers, picking up magazines and printing pieces of paper from our Supermarket coupons page.
Saving all this money and spending all this time couponing obviously doesn’t come without its stories. I have done some pretty weird things in my time and also have some pretty strange habits. For every couponer, at least once we have been called “weird” or “crazy”, but that’s water off a couponer’s back. So here are few tips and a brief look into my wacky world…
I admit it, I am one of those people who stand at the reduced section in the supermarket for 20 minutes waiting for the store staff with the yellow stickers to appear. The yellow reduced stickers are the labels of joy which give you massive discounts on expiring food that the supermarket need to clear to make way for new stock. The food is still okay to eat for that day and normally the next day too, and you can get a whole meal for as little as 10% of the normal price. Check out our guide for the best times to bag a bargain.
Every time the yellow sticker person comes over, they are always seems startled to see me waiting there. If I can get my evening meal for under 50p, why on earth would you not see me there?
One of my best scores from the reduced section was a three-course meal, including soup, a ready meal and a massive trifle for just over £1. I have never before been so full on £1 of food.
Taking advantage of freebies
When an amazing freebie coupon comes out, this is D-Day. I must then proceed to print out on every available device I can get my hands on and text everyone I know to print it, too. The best things in life are free and it certainly tastes better. There is nothing that makes a couponer’s heart skip a beat more than the word ‘free’.
Some of my most recent freebies have been New Covent Garden Co soup, lots of free soup. There is a £1 coupon right here on our coupon page and they are priced at £1 in Morrisons until Sun 25 Oct, which makes them free.
Don’t be afraid to hold up the queue
Often I’m at the checkout and the person with just one pint of milk joins the queue and I have to politely inform them that I might be a while. Of all the tills he could pick, he goes to mine while I have 20 coupons in hand. I inform everyone behind me that I have coupons, and even if they stay, the amount of ‘tuts’ I get is crazy.
If I had a pound for all the ‘tutters’ I have had behind me, I’d be a millionaire. I wouldn’t need to use coupons… Oh, who am I kidding, I still would!
If you’re not happy, don’t be afraid to complain
If I am at home and find myself with nothing to do, you’ll often find me with my eyes glued to my laptop sending as many emails to manufacturers as possible (but only complaining if there is a legitimate reason to). This cannot be helped, it’s just how I’m programmed. It’s also slightly strange how much pleasure I get from finding something wrong with a product.
One of my best moments of complaining was weighing a 250g pack of butter to see if it had the advertised weight. Turns out it didn’t, it was a whole 5 GRAMS under. I was not having this, and sent an email straight away and got £3 worth of coupons for the inconvenience. The funny thing was, the butter was free with coupons when I bought it.
I also once sent off an email when a box of chocolates that I got for Christmas did not have any of my favourite flavour. They sent me £3 too to say sorry. I was actually so disappointed it didn’t have a Malteaser!
So as you can see, a couponer’s life can be a bit out of the ordinary but if you want to learn more about this rewarding hobby, check out our extreme couponing guide.
This blog is only dipping the toes into the world of couponing – I’ll be sharing more MoneySaving tips with you over the coming weeks, including maximising cashback and even getting paid to shop.
What weird and wonderful things have you experienced or been known to do while couponing? I’d love to know your stories in the comments below or on Twitter @MSE_Deals and Facebook.