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Extreme Couponing Leads to Extreme Saving for ‘Couponista’

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TRACY, Calif.  - When it comes to saving money, it's often helpful to have an example to follow.

WHNT NEWS 19 found the story of one person's trick to saving thousands of dollars while feeding a family of five.

Her name is Michelle Reis and she's an extreme multi-tasker and couponer.

She says she's been able to feed her family of five for $150 a month.

Since she started couponing six years ago, she estimates she has saved $45,000 in grocery bills.

She set up a Facebook page to show others how to do it.

Michelle loves her money-saving hobby and points to treasures she's found along the way.  "Shavers and toothbrushes and toothpaste.. free!"

She's a mother of three from Tracy, California, who describes herself as a "Couponista".

She scours newspapers for coupon inserts, asking neighbors for their coupons and utilizing a few smartphone money-saving apps.

Michelle spells it all out on her Facebook page called "Coast to Coast Coupons".

It's a private page with more than 1,600 members, and Michelle gladly accepts new members who love to save money.

For those who are new at couponing, she advises them to sign up for the Ibotta app for in-store shopping with a smartphone and join Ebates.com for online shopping.

Ibotta pays you to shop, while Ebates gives you money on items you purchase.

Michelle has a full-time job and clips coupons everyday whenever she has downtime.

"It's like a treasure hunt, which makes it fun," she said.

Michelle added that drug stores often have the best deals and, for food, Walmart price matches.

She's gotten so good at couponing, she says sometimes she actually comes out ahead and the store pays her!

"By the time I used the coupons they owed me," she said.

Michelle admits she doesn't use all of the products she gets for free or deeply discounted.

So she donates anything extra she gets and doesn't use to charity.  It's another 'happy' she gets out of saving money and helping others.