How's this for holiday savings: a shopping haul of remote control cars, tablets, warm coats and boots worth $8,000 for just $1,300.
That was how well extreme couponer Joni Crothers and her coupon-tourage
of 14 friends and family members did after 15 hours of shopping at 10 stores in Toledo, Ohio, on Black Friday. It works out to about $450 an hour in savings. There's a cherry on top of this shopping spree. It will be used to fulfill wish lists from 16 children in need.
Crothers knows what it's like to be down and out around the holidays. She started clipping coupons when her husband lost his auto industry job four years ago. In the process, Crothers discovered a talent for discount hunting that was good enough to be featured on the popular TLC show, Extreme Couponing.
She now uses her talent to give back to children she met through a local food bank. She even identifies with some of them.
One of the kids we're helping has a mom who lost her automotive factory job two years ago, and now her unemployment is running out," she said. "These families just need to feel like there are people who care about them."
The coupontourage had their shopping plans down to a science this year. Crothers started her Thanksgiving meal in the early afternoon so she would be ready.
The group met at Crothers' home at 7:15 p.m. on Thanksgiving, earlier than their 9 p.m. start last year, since stores like Wal-Mart (WMT
) pushed their doorbuster sales up by an hour.