The Coupon Queen reveals her top seven secrets to saving

From useful websites to clever strategies Emma Mumford reveals her tips for saving thousands

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Emma Mumford

The Coupon Queen. Emma Mumford, started extreme couponing in June 2013, when aged just 22 her partner left her with £7,000 of debt. She needed to find a way to shave hundreds of pounds off her spending each month and pay off her debts - and she stumbled into couponing. Now she has honed her skills, and has shared her seven secrets of success.

1. Hit the web for coupons

Emma says there are lots of deal hunting websites to take advantage of - including Extreme Couponing and Deals UK. It has pages packed with discounts for money off - which can be stacked with special offers in supermarkets for even better bargains. At the moment, for example, there's a voucher on there for £1 off Benecol. Six of the strawberry yogurt drinks are reduced from £3.75 to £3 at Waitrose, and this coupon brings it down to £2.

Alternatively, sites like HotUKdeals.com bring together deals and freebies that are available on the shelves without a coupon. One deal it highlights at the moment, for example, that Argos is currently selling boxes of Thorntons chocolates that were £6.99 for just £2.

2. Pick up supermarket magazines

Emma points out: "They often contain lots of vouchers." By combining vouchers and coupons from sources like this, Emma says: "During my best coupon shop to date I was able to get £256 of products for just 8p... Be prepared for some funny looks at the checkout though!"

3. Sign up to loyalty cards and schemes

Emma suggests at the very least being a member of the Boots, Sainsbury's and Tesco schemes. She explains: "Through these you are automatically signed up to receive information about free samples and money-off vouchers." You will also earn points when you shop, which in some cases can be spent most effectively through deals that allow you to get up to four times the value of your points.

4. Follow the brands you love on social media

She says that by following brands on Facebook: "Their vouchers will often pop up on your news feed with no extra work to you." If you tend to find yourself browsing the internet in the evenings, you could also bookmark the pages of your favourite brands - or family favourites. Laughing Cow, for example, says it regularly posts offers and exclusive coupons on its site.

5. Offer feedback

Emma says it's worth providing feedback to companies. Don't just write when things let you down, write with suggestions or praise too, and you may get something in return. She adds: "Manufacturers can learn a lot from their customers, so giving a detailed opinion is really valued. Companies will often respond offering coupons as a thank you - Dettol once responded to me with a £20 voucher - the equivalent to a year's supply of cleaning products."

6. Stay organised

She says: "People are often put off using coupons thinking that it will take up too much time and energy. Staying organised is key in order to keep on top of the latest coupons and deals, with minimal effort. By remaining up to date with coupon websites, and reading magazines and newspapers, checking for deals can become part of your daily routine in no time."

Of course, part of that organisation also includes putting your coupons in a folder, making a list of the coupons in there, and taking it with you to the supermarket each time you go.

7. Keep calm at the checkout

Emma says that often when you pull out a wedge of coupons you'll get "some huffing and puffing from irritated customers" behind you at the checkout. However, she says: "Remain positive and keep your head held high, you should be proud of the fact you're making an effort to keep on top of your finances."

But what do you think? Would you try these approaches to save hundreds of pounds a year? And do you have any other winning strategies for saving? Let us know in the comments.

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