The couponing craze continues; TLC producers look to cast locals; More saving tips
SARATOGA SPRINGS — A story I wrote for Monday’s issue of the Saratogian about two local “extreme couponers” — Charlene DuBuque of Ballston Spa and Kate Scott of Saratoga Springs — appears to be gaining some national acclaim.
On Monday afternoon I received a personal email from one of the producers for TLC’s “Extreme Couponing” show (see below).
Before sending out their contact information, I contacted Charlene and Kate early Tuesday afternoon to see whether or not they would be interested in initiating communication with the TLC about potentially applying for (and hopefully being cast in) the second season of “Extreme Couponing.”
Both women were surprised, but more than willing to talk to the producers and see where the conversation would lead.
TLC contacted DuBuque on Tuesday and personally asked her to apply for the shows second season.
“Basically the show sent me an application wanting to know about my couponing experience and wanting to see pictures of my stockpiles (which are spread out across the house because I don’t have any one large area to isolate everything),” DuBuque said on Wednesday.
Although she remains skeptical that her level of couponing might not be extreme enough for the show, DuBuque said she still plans to apply just to see what happens.
“The whole thing makes me a little nervous… I’m not sure my stockpile is big enough, but five years ago I would have easily made it on the show,” DuBuque said.
The chance to appear on national TV is undoubtedly a life changing opportunity, but DuBuque knows to be wary of reality television especially as some former “Extreme Couponing” cast members have come off in a negative light.
DuBuque still isn’t sure if cast members are compensated for the show, but said it would definitely be an extra incentive as she recently had to turn down a well paying full-time job in order to stay home with her kids for a few more years.
Once she applies, DuBuque (and Scott if she submits her application as well) will have to sign a disclaimer not to speak about certain aspects of the show. However, we will continue to follow DuBuque and Scott as they enter the next exciting step of an unlikely opportunity that could change their lives forever.
Below is another couponing follow up with some of the leftover material from Monday’s article that I couldn’t squeeze into the word count. Enjoy and stay tuned for more.
More tips for savings searches
SARATOGA SPRINGS — So how exactly do they do it? The couponing process can seem confusing and intimidating to the novice clipper, but DuBuque and Scott assure that anyone with an open mind can save a good chunk of change.
“Just start slow — if you’re not worried about switching brands here and there, you can really save a lot of money,” DuBuque said. “Even if you’re not willing to switch, keep your eyes open — $10 to $20 per week will really add up.”
For beginners, savings might stay allocated to groceries and toiletries, but for DuBuque and Scott, there isn’t a single outing free from discounts. By searching local coupon books, papers and magazines, DuBuque finds restaurant deals in Ballston Spa and Saratoga Springs. Another no-brainer is applying for discount cards at clothing stores like Gymboree, where DuBuque is a card holder and receives constant deals on apparel for her kids.
Another tip for families – buy in bulk.
“I save $100 to $150 a week just at BJ’s because you’re saving by buying in bulk to begin with — For example, I spent $99 on one trip after saving $85 in coupons,” DuBuque said.
Besides bulk trips to BJ’s, both DuBuque and Scott agree the biggest local savings come from Price Chopper. This is good news for the couponing newbies out there who can test out savings on their next grocery run.
“I went to Price Chopper with my mom recently and I got a whole cart for $41 and she got two bags for $35,” DuBuque said.
The next accessible saving spot is CVS — where CVS card holders receive “extra bucks” with each purchase.
“If I buy Colgate at CVS for $2, I would get a $1 back in extra bucks, so I’ll buy a whole bunch of that with the discount card,” DuBuque explained. “Then you’ll accumulate a lot of extra bucks so I’ll pay $15 for the first order (would have been $30-$40) and then get $15 back for my next purchase – the first order is always the most expensive.”
Scott said she typically receives her toiletries for free just by doubling coupons at Price Chopper and using the rewards program at CVS.
“Using the coupons combined with the extra bucks — one manufacturer’s coupon and one store coupon — and then using the extra bucks lets me get things like shampoo, air fresheners and laundry detergent for free,” Scott said.
Some of the details remain slightly unclear for new couponers, but both DuBuque and Scott urge community members to apply for discount cards, rewards programs and to check local coupon listings to find their own method of savings.
“Some people just throw the coupon sections out,” DuBuque said with a laugh. “At least give them to someone like me!”