Extreme couponing has never seemed like the most exciting hobby. Granted, it’s a hobby with its financial benefits; no one has ever saved 50 cents on dishwasher soap birdwatching. But despite the savings at the grocery store, couldn’t you make just as much money with, I don’t know, a job?
However, Lauren Puryear has taken a different approach to couponing. Instead of looking for ways to save money for herself, she’s been using the aggressive deal-seeking method so she can afford to buy more for others. In 2012, she launched an organization called For The Love of Others that helps people in need. Puryear started out stretching her budget by buying in bulk from places like Costco, but it was couponing that gave her efforts a whole new identity.
Puryear poses with a recent couponing haul.
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“I started couponing for food items like spaghetti, meatballs, and I was (often) able to get the items for free or for little to no money,” Puryear told NJ.com. “There are coupons in the Sunday paper, or online that you can print ... so I collect as many as I can, match them to the store and that is how I am able to get the items for free.” Amazingly, she told the site sometimes she can feed up to 150 people with just $20 thanks to her extreme couponing ways.
Kids volunteer to distribute Puryear's coupon-ed meals to the needy people.
Puryear says she’s set the lofty goal of feeding 30,000 people by her 30th birthday next September. Not only is couponing helping her get there, but it’s also attracting media interest: Extreme couponing has caught people’s attention in the past – there’s even a TV show about it – but Puryear’s spin on the hobby has become a unique example of finding a way to help others even within limited means. “I can spend anywhere from five to 10 hours a week,” she told ABC News about her charitable couponing which she said she started about eight months ago.
So far, Puryear says she has fed 5,572 people since adding couponing to her charity resume. With all the good press she’s gotten as of late, maybe some grocery chains can step up and get even better coupons into her hands.