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Extreme couponer dishes on Chicago shopping

January 10, 2012|By Tracy Swartz, RedEye

Since she was featured on an episode of TLC's "Extreme Couponing" last year and an all-star version of the reality shopping show last week, it's been easier to walk an aisle in Antoinette Peterson's shoes.

The 30-year-old Morgan Park resident said she's been recognized at grocery stores since appearing on the show, which documents how people from across the country save large amounts on their grocery bills. They use coupons and sometimes grow food stockpiles in their homes from multiple purchases.

Peterson also has been hosting couponing parties and classes to share tips with wannabe savers.

"I have a huge following of young people who are just learning how to shop and save," Peterson said. "I'm much more busier now ... because of the TV show."

She said she began couponing when she was a student at Southern Illinois University so she could save money to pay her rent, bills and car loan.

But she didn't get into extreme couponing until two years ago, when she posted on Facebook that she saved a few bucks at Target. A friend scoffed at her savings, and showed her how to coupon better. After that, Peterson got a $95 bill down to $9 and declared she would never shop the regular way again.

Peterson said she has a modest stockpile compared with the other extreme couponers filmed for the TLC series. Three-and-a-half shelves in her house are devoted to her extreme couponing finds: 25 bottles of laundry detergent and multiple boxes of mashed potatoes, macaroni and pasta she's accumulated over time.

She recommends that young people learn how to coupon now to prepare for when they have families. One of the tips she gives new couponers is to check store policies and make sure to apply coupons to sales.


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