Free Agent

Amy Selleck spreads the good word on couponing—and reaps the rewards.

Amy Selleck finds a deal in the ethnic food section of Super Walmart.

Photo by Leah Dubois

On any given day, Amy Selleck is drowning in hot dogs, cat food, floss and hot sauce. And it feels wonderful.

“There’s a high walking out of a store with a cart full of groceries and only paying two bucks!” exclaims Selleck as she leaves an Orlando Super Walmart. All around her, fellow shoppers don’t seem to realize they’re in the presence of royalty: a genuine
Coupon Queen.

Except this queen wants to share her good fortune. That’s why the ebullient single mom of two runs a couponing blog called “Who Said Nothing in Life is Free” with the ambition of a corporate CEO.

“Every day I enjoy waking up and searching for deals” online, says Selleck, 41. Once she finds them, Selleck plans a trip to a discount store or supermarket by compiling a shopping list according to item, section of store, number of coupons and the deal or discount. Every step in the process is methodically organized.

“The first thing I do is get what I am going to obtain an overage on,” Selleck says as she darts to the Walmart’s health and beauty department. That’s right: On many products she’ll end up getting money back by using a coupon that discounts the product for more than its actual price. To make the effort worthwhile, Selleck usually purchases those products in bulk. She’ll buy items she doesn’t need—such as diapers or baby formula—just to bulk up her overage fund, then donate them to charities.

It makes for good theater to watch other shoppers shake their heads as they watch her grab packages of dental floss by the dozens. If they only knew: Selleck’s bill at Walmart on this day was cut from $81 to a measly $9 just by using coupons.

Selleck’s extreme couponing doesn’t just save her money—it pays her. When people click on a coupon on her blog, she receives anywhere from 2 to 50 cents from the product maker. Add to that revenue from advertisers on and Selleck brings in $2,500-$4,500 a month. She also tracks down discounts on massages, vacations and other luxuries.

Her couponing motto is simple. “We all work hard for our money,” Selleck says. “Why spend it on the things that
we need?”


Amy Selleck’s Couponing Tips

1. Build up your overage fund: Maintain a positive balance by using a coupon that discounts more than a product is priced.

2. Subscribe to the Sunday paper. Selleck’s blog has links for setting up multiple subscriptions so that you receive more coupons.

3. Sign up for reward programs or newsletters. Companies send out coupons in e-mails several times a month to advertise products.

4. Use Facebook. If you “like” particular products, stores or companies, you’ll likely receive coupons.

5. Send a message. E-mail companies with compliments (or complaints). They send out free products and coupons to their valued customers.

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