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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — How would you like to save money on your grocery bill? Who wouldn’t! Well tonight 3 On Your Side consumer reporter Jim Donovan introduces us to a woman who really knows how to use coupons. In fact if you take her advice, you could shrink your grocery bill to next to nothing.

Any time Joyce House is in a supermarket, she’s on a mission. She’s a no-nonsense grocery shopper. “I’m focused,” says House, “I have to stick to a budget.” That philosophy has earned her the name of “Miss Coupon Diva”.

Joyce says by following some basics steps anyone can save at the supermarket.

“You can not tell me that people can’t shop at a national store and save money,” said House.

First, she says you should never have to pay for personal products.

“For 36 years I haven’t paid for toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, or women’s products. And you should never pay for them,” said House.

Items usually go on sale on a regular schedule and coupons to match often come out at the very same time.

Take toothpaste for instance.

“It goes in cycles. All the brands. Normally, for 99 cent or less. And then there’s normally a coupon,” said House.

That when doubled would make the item free.

Joyce chooses where she shops carefully. Like most area supermarkets, Brown’s Shoprite in Philadelphia doubles coupons and that’s not all.

“He’ll take competitors money off your groceries so whatever other grocery store has a $5, $4, $10 off your grocery purchase, they’ll accept them here at Browns,” said House.

Even if she has a coupon, Joyce only buys what she needs unless it’s an amazing sale.

This gravy for instance is normally $1.89 a can, on sale 3 for a $1. She had a coupon which brought it down to 21 cents a can.

“So I’m getting 12 cans for a little bit more than what it would cost me to buy one everywhere else. So I have enough for my family and I have some I can share,” said House.

If you can, Joyce says try not to buy a lot at the beginning of the month.

“You’ll notice that most of the good deals come in about the middle of the month. So if you’re racing out as soon as you get your food stamps, and you get your Social Security checks, your money is not going to go as far because the sales aren’t there,” said House.

And what about those extreme couponing shows you see on TV?

“I can’t go to a store and buy a thousand boxes of cereal and give them a thousand coupons because they’re not going to let me. That is not the norm. So people need to realize some things are done for television,” said House.

On this day she bought $90.41 worth of groceries for $9.45.

“The point is, you have to be disciplined enough to stick within your budget.

And she says it’s paid off.

“I don’t have any debt because I live this philosophy,” said House.

If you’re loyal to a particular brand, many companies will send you coupons for just signing up online.

As for Thanksgiving deals, Joyce says keep your eyes peeled for good deals on Turkey, you can always buy an extra one and freeze it. And watch for sales on canned goods. Depending on the supermarket, you may find some amazing prices to lure you in the door.




Reported by Jim Donovan, CBS 3

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