Secrets of a coupon queen: A WAFF 48 News special report

By Karla Redditte- bio | email

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Grocery shopping is more than a chore for Kandi Cooper. In fact, she looks forward to it.

"I really enjoy it. It's just fun when you save a lot of money," said Cooper.

Saving money is always at the top of her list. So while  it may be fun, her coupon book alone shows this is serious business that takes preparation before the buggy meets the aisle.

Before heading into the store, Cooper usually takes about an hour to organize her list and then her coupons. On this trip, she is looking for about 50 things.

While her buggy is filled with name brand items, she won't pay full price for any of it.

"Everyone always says 'what is the catch? I know if you are saving this much money, there has got to be a catch', but there's not," said Cooper.

There isn't a catch, but there is a "q-tipping mom". Her name is Andrea Barnes, and many shoppers, like Kandi Cooper, are flocking to her two hour classes for shopping tips.

Barnes travels throughout the Tennessee Valley teaching people how to get the most bang for their buck, using coupons. She's the married mother of four daughters, and the economy forced her into becoming a coupon-clipping expert.

"I save usually about 80 percent. I went from about $1,500 a month to $500 a month, and that's a family of six," said Barnes.

She says it doesn't take much to become coupon-savvy. You just have to know where to get coupons, how to organize them, and how to use them to your advantage.

"Here in Alabama, sales run a cycle of about six to eight weeks usually, and only one time during that six to eight week period is an item going to be at its lowest price. Well, that's when we want to buy the item and when we want to stock up," said Barnes.

She puts a lot of coupon instructions, tips, and good deals on her website and it seems to be paying off for her students and a growing number of followers.

Kandi Cooper checks out at the grocery store with $149 worth of groceries in her buggy.

"I saved $112.96, and all of that cost me $35.14," said Cooper.

And the knowledge to use your coupons wisely? Priceless.

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