- Kayla Burk, 27, is an extreme couponer who helps her 2 million followers on TikTok save money.
- Insider asked Burk how she saves money on necessities and fun items, even with inflation.
- “There’s never a shortage of good offers, and you can find them with preparation,” she says.
After watching a TV show about extreme couponing in 2013, I felt this urge to test out the tactics people were using to see if they could actually save me money. I went online, found a coupon for a loofah, and took it to Walmart to see if it worked. They actually paid me a few cents to buy the item. After that, I was hooked.
At first, it was a hobby. I’d spend a couple of hours on Sundays searching for coupons online or in newspapers, then I’d head to stores to stockpile the best deals I could find.
For me, couponing grew from a hobby to something I couldn’t stop doing
In 2019, I made a coupon website, mostly for friends and family, who would ask me to post the best deals that I could find. After that, I made a TikTok account and posted videos about how people could save money on everything, from everyday items like soap to getting steep discounts at their favorite retail store.
These videos blew up, and I continued to post regularly. Today, I have more than 2 million followers on the account.
In 2020, between the brand deals I was getting from coupon apps to the affiliate money I was making from my website, I was making enough income to do this full-time.
I have stockpiles of certain items that will last me for years
While I don’t know how much much money extreme couponing has saved me over the years, I do have an entire drawer of just toothpaste and another of toothbrushes.
Now that I do this as a job, I make videos showing deals that I personally used coupons for, to prove what I’m showing is true. I end up with a lot of stuff I don’t need or won’t use, so I donate items to local shelters or let my friends and family grab what they need.
Even during inflation, you can save money in so many different ways when you shop
There’s never a shortage of good offers out there, and you can find them with preparation.
For example, download apps from the stores you shop at the most (ex: Target, Dollar General, etc.). That’s where you’ll find the specific coupons for that retailer. You can also search the brand’s website or a general website like Coupons.com.
Also download cashback apps, like Swagbucks or Shopkick, so when you buy something through the app, you can get money back on that item. Plus, some digital coupons will work on the cashback apps to help maximize how much you’re saving.
I always look out for free food offers and expiration dates
When it comes to inflation, people are focusing on the necessities. With some of the cashback apps, they often offer free food deals. When a brand has a new product that they want people to try, they’ll give it out for free through these apps to a limited number of people.
When it comes to more expensive food items, like meat, pay attention to the expiration date. Since stores can’t legally sell you expired food, they tend to heavily mark down items that are about to go bad so they don’t have to throw the food away. Grab these items at a low price and stick them in your freezer.
When items rarely go on sale, I’m strategic about them
My brother is having a baby, and diapers are hard to get on sale. But sometimes, stores like Family Dollar have specials on certain days of the week where you can get $5 off $25.
When you see deals like this, that’s when you should stock up on the items that rarely are discounted.
I created an email address just for couponing
With it, I signed up for all the offers, reward programs, and promotional emails that stores have.
First of all, doing this lets you get savings sent straight to your inbox. Also, these stores pay attention to your shopping habits. If you haven’t bought something from them in a while, they often send an email with a discount — such as “$10 off anything on our website” — to get you to shop again.
Sign up for everything, because you never know what random sale or coupon will be offered to you.
I’m not afraid of clearance — and you shouldn’t be, either
When a store starts to get new inventory in, they need to make room for those items, so they often put a lot of things they want to get rid of on clearance.
People often think clearance items are marked down because of something wrong. That’s not always the case. Often, you can find brand-new items that are “out of season” (for example: bathing suits during fall or winter) discounted for 70% to 90% off.
Before you shop in store, look up their price-match policy
That way, if you find an item you want to buy, you can do a quick price search using ShopSavvy to see if it’s offered cheaper anywhere else. If the store does price match, a cashier will give it to you for the less expensive price.
Plus, if you have that store’s credit card that offers you a recurring discount (for example, Target offers cardholders an extra 5% off their purchase) or you have an available coupon, you can stack that on top of the price match to save even more money.
I’m pretty strict about not buying something that isn’t on sale
I do bend this rule to support small businesses or to pay for a service that involves someone’s time, like getting my nails done.
Other than that, it’s rare I’ll pay full price for something — especially when I’m surrounded by savings.