Changed the title and URL, everyone. Sorry.

I hadn’t planned to post anything this afternoon, but about a million people (maybe a million-and-a-half) sent me a story about Crissy Thompson from Gainesville, Georgia. Crissy sometimes spends just $10 a week on groceries. For her family of five. How does she do it? Coupons. Jay Watson spent a day with Crissy to learn the secret of her success.

Crissy was pregnant with her third child and had reached the point that she was breaking even paying for childcare while she worked. She and her husband agreed it would be best for her to try to stay home with their children but they had to find a way to save money.

The family’s grocery bill was $200 to $250 dollars a week. She began clipping coupons, trying to match them up with sales in the weekly fliers from grocery and drug stores. As Crissy’s husband Joe puts it, “At first it kind of blew my mind because she’d bring things home and I’d be like is this legit or what? Are we going to get in trouble?”

It was legit alright.

And it took a bit of research and work. It still does.

Crissy says it takes her about an hour a week to get ready for her shopping trip, a trip that takes three to four hours and involves three to seven stores in the area.

Some of this stuff is amazing. As in eye-opening. For example:

I learned from Crissy is that you can use one coupon per item.

All this time I had misunderstood what it says on each coupon, only one coupon per purchase. I took “purchase” to mean “transaction.” It’s not.

For example, Crissy grabbed two boxes of cereal that were buy 1, get 1 free. The cereal was $3.79 a box. Crissy had a three dollar coupon for each box of cereal. She made over $2.00 when she pulled those boxes off the shelves. I thought I could only use one coupon, no matter how many boxes or cans or whatever I’d bought. So that’s good for me to know.

Yeah — I thought it was “per transaction” also. It’s per item? Wow. Some of Crissy’s other secrets:

  • She keeps her coupons in baseball card binders.
  • She often buys produce at a local farmers market.
  • She plays the “Drugstore Game”. (Don’t know the Drugstore Game? You will soon. Next Wednesday’s guest post explains the rules.)
  • She doesn’t buy or clip coupons for items she doesn’t need.
  • At some stores, like Target, you can use both a manufacturer’s coupon and a coupon printed from the merchant’s web site in order to double your savings.
  • She doesn’t care about the stigma attached to coupons. Every dollar she saves is a dollar she keeps in her bank account.

During her day with the film crew, Crissy Thompson purchased $192 worth of stuff for $20. What’s her all-time best deal? She once paid two cents for over $380 of merchandise at Target. “No matter what your income level is,” she says, “you want to make that dollar go as far as you can.” Amen!

[11Alive.com: If I didn't see it with my own eyes..., which is the source of the image as well]