Extreme couponing cuts weekly shop to £7.50

Sammy Hancock goes to extremes and spends £400 on £4,000 of groceries in a year

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Extreme couponing

Sammy Hancock, a 28-year-old coupon clipper from Alton in Hampshire, has cut her weekly shopping bill to less than £7.50. Her approach is pretty extreme, but she uses techniques we could all stand to learn from.

Sammy has been using coupons for a while now, and over the years has refined her techniques to become an extreme couponer. She lives with her parents, helps care for her mother, and keeps the family's food budget to an absolute minimum. She also posts YouTube videos to showcase her money-saving tips.

She told The Sun that she harnesses the power of the internet, searching for every available coupon. These include brand-specific coupons and those from supermarkets. In some instances she registers to receive vouchers, in other cases she goes to more trouble - even writing to the company concerned.

Shopping tips

She isn't worried about whether she likes a particular product - or even if she knows what it is - as long as she can get a massive bargain. In one video, posted in January, she buys four gluten-free rolls - by a brand she cannot pronounce - because she has a coupon that makes them free.

This is a technique she often uses - combining a coupon with a discount. Last Christmas, she told the Daily Mail, she managed to do a shop entirely free through clever couponing.

Sammy also adds to her savings by looking for items that are due to expire shortly - and freezes anything she doesn't need immediately. She says one of her favourite places to shop is the 'yellow sticker bin', where items can be dramatically reduced for a quick sale.

She calculates that in the past 12 months she has spent £400 on £4,000 worth of groceries.

Less extreme measures

If you have the time and flexibility for this sort of approach, you could save thousands of pounds.

However, even if you're not ready for this sort of extreme couponing, there are ten steps that could shave a fortune off your shop.

1. Make a coupon folder, so coupons always go into it when they arrive through the post, and you always have it with you at the supermarket.

2. Pick up the supermarket magazine when you go; there should be at least one page of coupons in the front.

3. Don't be in a rush to spend your coupons. It's worth waiting a few weeks for a discount to pair it with.

4. Take half an hour to like your favourite brands on Facebook. That way, coupons and special deals will appear on your timeline so you don't have to hunt them out.

5. Be willing to look beyond your favourite brand. If there's a deal on something similar, a bit of flexibility will pay off.

6. Bookmark deal hunting sites like http://www.hotukdeals.com/. You don't have to spend hours trawling through deals but if you have a spare second, cast your eye over the hottest deals and see if there's anything worth buying.

7. Always compare prices. Just because you have a coupon for a discount, it doesn't always mean it's the cheapest option.

8. Delve into the yellow sticker bin. You can easily freeze most baked products and meat, and cook up any vegetables to freeze. It's a brilliant way to shop for a fraction of the price.

9. Use mysupermarket.co.uk. If you put your shopping list into the site it will tell you the cheapest supermarket for each item. If you haven't got the time for multiple trips, it'll tell you the cheapest overall too.

10. Don't forget loyalty card points. If you shop somewhere that operates a loyalty scheme, you're already paying for it, so you may as well benefit from it. Check the loyalty card website for tips that will get you up to four times the value from your points.

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