WJBF EXTRA: Coupons = Free Money

By Jenna Lee Wright

Jenna Lee Thomas, reporting: “So, what are we doing today?”

Tracey Dempsey: “Going to go try to get some stuff and try not to pay no money out my pocket for it.”

Jenna Lee: “Let's go!”

(Tracey gets shopping cart ready)

Tracey: “I'm good-to-go!”

Tracey Dempsey clips coupons…

Tracey: “I got a coupon for that.”

And she certainly knows how to stretch a dollar. Sometimes she has to spend a little to get a little.

Tracey: “I'm technically getting them for free. All I have to pay is the seven percent sales tax.”

Other times, she actually makes money.

Tracey: “If I just went through the line with this and handed them this coupon. They'd be giving me the pair of pants and paying me two dollars to take them out the store.”

So how does she do it?

Tracey: “Every Sunday I pull out the inserts. It's either the Red Plum, the Super Saver, or the Proctor & Gamble. And I just do a Google search for 'Walmart coupon price match.' And it helps me pull up a shopping list right there, and it's as easy as that.”

She says the internet helps you cut all the corners.

Tracey: “It'll tell you how much you save, how much you'll make if it's a 'money-maker.' If there's any rebates, etc, etc. Not that they do all the work for you, but it's a lot easier for new people starting out.”

But why does she do it?

Tracey: “I'm not buying it for myself. It's going to be donated.”

She sends care packages to soldiers overseas and donates what she can to local woman's shelters and service centers with which she has a special connection.

Tracey: “I actually stayed there for almost two months…they helped me out when I didn't have anything else. And I haven't been able to do much lately because I don't have money. But then then I realize, this is as good as money. As long as you take a few minutes to sit down and research and find the deals, it's just as good as money.”

Tracey says it's even a little thereaputic…

Tracey: “Every woman…if they say they don't like shopping, they're lying. And this is the best kind of shopping. It's guilt free.”

A satisfied conscience and a little physical activity…

Tracey: “And plus I get a workout. I don't do gyms.”

And now the moment of truth…

Tracey: “Checkout. Checkout and everybody always second-guesses themselves when they're about to walk up to checkout. Did I calculate this right? Did I read the coupon right? Does the coupon expire?”

So how did she do? With a grand total of…

Cashier: “$87.95”

Tracey paid…

Tracey: “Two dollars and six cents.”

A few days later Tracey stops off at the ACTS Center in Aiken to make a special donation.

Gaile Boyd, ACTS Administrative Assistant: “Oh my goodness! This will help five to six people and the clothes here will help maybe eight to ten people. And when she told me that she clipped coupons to save this money for these new items I thought, 'Wow that's something that everybody could do to stretch their dollars.”

Tracey: “When I needed help, they helped me. And I'm just happy that I'm able to help out and it's so much appreciated.”

Gaile: “It gives me such pleasure for Tracey to know she's in the position to do that. And when I see someone come back and be able to do that, it fills my heart. It's wonderful.”

Couponing often gets a bad rap as being “cheap.” Tracey says it's not cheap, but resourceful, and everyone should do it. She only spends about an hour-and-a-half a week for clipping and shopping. And during other coupon sprees she's saved over 200 dollars in one trip…donating most of it to charity.

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