A mother of four from Lynnwood will appear on tonight’s episode of Extreme Couponing. The new TLC show follows shoppers who use coupons to get their groceries for little or no money.
Amber Bustanoby has been a couponer for more than three years. She started after her husband left his paid position to be self-employed. They thought it would be worth the risk, but they ended up borrowing $115,000 against their house and lost a business. At the same time she became preganant with their fourth child.
“As money got tighter and bills became bigger, my husband and I began to realize I may have to go back to work. Looking for deals here and there was no longer enough for us to keep up,” she said.
She started clipping coupons after seeing a segment on the Today Show.
“Every Sunday, I get five newspapers delivered to my house. I borrow three more from a neighbor,” Amber said.
The deals are made better when grocery stores double their coupons. Before long the Bustanobys were saving hundreds of dollars a month on groceries and using that money to pay down debt. They’ve also held on to their house.
“Since then, our family has saved enough each month on groceries, toiletries and more that I can stay at home with our kids. Our bills were cut in half or more,” Amber said.
“It did not happen overnight or in one shopping trip. It took me time to build my stockpile,” she added. (A stockpile is a huge pantry or garage where couponers keep their extra groceries.)
With a TLC crew following, she filmed her Extreme Couponing segment at Albertsons. But before she even got to the store, she had tons of planning to do. She mailed manufacturers and asked friends for coupons. She also pre-ordered items that the store wouldn’t have in stock.
“Our local Albertson’s people also incredibly nice to work with,” she said.
Her pre-coupon total was $1905.56. (You have to watch the show to see how much she actually paid.)
“I hope that this show will encourage and pique the interest of those who need some extreme couponing for their families. It may also irritate and rile up others who have strong opinions about how they think couponing should be done,” Amber said.
Amber runs a blog called Coupon Connections, where she posts coupon match-ups for Amazon, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Albertsons and Target, as well as Northwest grocery chains. She hopes to help others live well but spend wisely.
“I have a heart for my community,” she said.
What’s her advice for new couponers?
“Take is slow and give it an honest try. While extreme shopping trips are doable it is much more manageable when you slowly build your stockpile,” she said.
Amber’s episode airs tonight at 9:30 p.m. on TLC.