Local "Couponing Queen" Shares Her Cost-Cutting Secrets

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She's saving thousands of dollars a year on groceries, and now one Bryan woman is sharing her secrets with you.

Whitney Sparks begins every week with one thing in mind.

"My goal is to spend $100 a week."

That's not an easy task, considering she has a family of four to take care of.

"That's toiletries, that's makeup that's food. so again, I have to be very creative."

Being creative means memorizing store sales schedules...

"CVS and Walgreens start their sales on Sundays. Kroger and HEB start their sales on Wednesdays."

She also separates her coupons by category, each with their own envelope. Over the years, she's definitely mastered the skill of saving money and she never forgets her proudest couponing conquests.

"I was able to save about $160 dollars and I walked out spending about $40 for all of my merchandise."

She credits her ability to get such a big bang for her buck to a price list she fills out every time she goes shopping. If you're making your own price list, she has some tips for you.

She says, "What are things you buy every time you go in the store and what do you want to see yourself paying for that item?"

The answer, Whitney says, should be the lowest price your ever seen for that specific item.

For example, she says, "I know for juice, I don't want to spend over $1.50."

This is where her cardinal rule of couponing comes in. Don't ever take a product off the shelf unless it's on sale, and marked down to that all-time low price on your list. Then you can stack a coupon on top of that.

"If I can't get cereal for 99 cents then we just go without, and my family has learned, some weeks we have this food and some weeks we don't have this food."

Now that we know her secrets, it's time to put them to the test. Whitney let us tag along on a recent trip to CVS, where we witnessed first hand her ability to get something for nothing... literally.

"Toothpaste is one of those I can get for free every time I come in here. It is nice to get a 5 dollar or ten dollar item for free. you pay absolutely nothing for it."

Of course, there aren't coupons floating around for ten dollars off a ten dollar item, so how does that happen?

"Places like CVS and Walgreens have cosmetics consistently marked 50 to 75 percent off, so I'll wait until they're 75 percent off and stack a coupon on top of that already low price."

The proof is in the pudding, or in this case, the receipt. So lets see how she did.

"I got about $ 32.50 worth of product, so 32 dollars and fifty cents."

For all of that, she only paid $6, something Whitney is pretty proud of.

"I saved a little bit over 80%."

That is the definition of shopping success.

Whitney actually teaches couponing classes, and she's set up a Facebook page to help others with their own cost-cutting measures. You can contact her through that Facebook page.