A Livingston County mom is taking couponing to an extreme, saving her family thousands of dollars a year.
Everyone is good at something. A mom from Piffard is really good at finding deals and saving money with coupons. Her savings are so big that she's featured on the October 19th episode of TLC "Extreme Couponing." Melissa Zambito says coupons are cash.
"I usually save about 75% on my shopping bill each week," says Zambito.
Over the course of a year, Melissa figures coupons save $8000 to $10,000 on groceries and toiletries alone.
"It's a game that you want to win. You want to get the best savings and you want to get the most out of your money," says Zambito. "It's also kind of an addiction. Once you get a good deal you want to get a better one the next time and you don't want to pay full price for anything."
Melissa didn't learn couponing at business school. "It was really when I was done with college and I had to start paying for everything myself that I really started to research couponing," says Zambito.
She learned the rules from stores, websites and manufacturers. She learned tricks like telling the makers of your favorite products that you're a loyal fan.
"Often times they'll send you a high value coupon or sometimes they'll send you a coupon to get the product for free," says Zambito.
Her most important tool is her couponing book. It's meticulously organized, categorized and simplified. Melissa says it takes an hour and a half to plot out the weeks shopping savings with the help of coupons, sales and specials.
"I'll have a list made out even before I go into the store. I know what I'm going to get, how much I can save and how much I can spend," says Zambito.
This busy mom includes her children in the savings game.
"By couponing that's how they learned their numbers, how to use scissors," says Zambito.
"I don't think kids are ever too young to learn the value of a dollar."
Or the value of a storage space. Melissa stockpiles what she can't use right away. What she doesn't use she donates to the Ronald McDonald House and to schools. For Melissa, couponing just makes cents.
"I don't know anybody who would want to walk into a store and pay for $200 worth of groceries if they could walk out with the same amount of groceries and get them all for free," says Zambito.
Melissa offers information on couponing and deals in our area on her website.
Coupons Are My Cash