Frugal mum saves thousands on shopping - what's her secret?

Kayleigh Hughes reveal the five shopping secrets that have saved her thousands of pounds

Kayleigh HughesKayleigh Hughes, a mum of two from Grantham, has shared a photo of a £38 shop that she didn't have to pay a penny for - and she says anyone could do it. Kayleigh has been using coupons to save cash for the past two years, and has shared her secrets to getting her shopping for nothing.

£38 shop for free

She got into couponing after watching an American programme called Extreme Couponing - where people use a number of clever techniques to buy thousands of dollars of items without paying a penny - or for a small fraction the price.

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She discovered that with a little effort, incredible savings were available in the UK too. She says: "I remember my first coupon shop and I'll never forget it. It was both nerve-racking and exhilarating at the same time. The fun part is going around picking up your items knowing that the bunch of paper in your hand is the same to you as money but when you get to the till then that's a whole new game.

She says over the years she has picked up a handful of secrets that make the process far more rewarding and less stressful.

1. Know where to find coupons
Kayleigh says there are some useful sites that bring together the current available coupons, including There are also a number of sites where deal-hunters post their best finds, including and

She adds: "A few other things you can try include checking magazines and free newspapers, checking food packaging and writing letters to manufacturers telling them how much you love their products."

2. Plan your shop
Once you have your coupons, it's time to plan and organise your shop so you know exactly what you're getting. Check the terms and conditions of your coupons first and make sure you stick to them.

Then compare the items in each of your local supermarkets to find the cheapest. If there aren't any special offers, and the coupon isn't due to go out of date for a while, you might want to check a few times to see if it goes on offer anywhere.

Once you have found a good deal, make a note of how much is left to pay once the coupon value has been removed. Kayleigh says: "Make sure you have a clear breakdown list with you at the till and watch the items and the coupons scan. If you have your list with you then it's easy to refer to if you get a result you weren't expecting."

3. Check in store
While you're picking up your items, check the prices against your breakdown to make sure they haven't gone up in price. Then double check your coupons are in order and head to a till. Kayleigh says: "Try to chose a till with either no queue or a small queue, and if anyone joins behind you, politely inform them that you have coupons to use. This way they are aware and can chose whether to move to another till or stay behind you."

She adds: "Keep a close eye that items are scanning at the correct price, and once you hand over your coupons, check that they are all scanning at the correct value and that none are missed. If all goes to plan, then all you have to do is pay the remaining balance and off you go."

4. Don't panic
At some point in your couponing adventures you will encounter issues, such as the tills rejecting a coupon or a member of staff not knowing the policy on coupons. Kayleigh says that: "Make sure you know the store's coupon policy, that you have stuck to the wording on the coupon and you have the correct item. Then there should be no reason they aren't accepted."

If a problem does crop up, you can ask to speak to the store manager who should be able to clear it up.

5. Don't feel embarrassed
When you're handing over a stack of coupons, or asking for the manager to be called, Kayleigh says it's easy to feel embarrassed, but it's important not to let it stop you from saving money. If you have followed all the rules, warned those behind you in the queue, and picked a quiet time of day, you have nothing to feel embarrassed about. She adds: "When you're walking out of the store with that trolley full of goodies that you have paid next to nothing for allow yourself to feel that sense of achievement."

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