If you've ever been in serious debt, you know how exasperating it can feel, and if you're in it right now, you know that trying to crawl out from under that mountain of debt can seem impossible.
Well, meet your inspiration for paying it all off fast: Emma Mumford, who managed to pay off nearly $10,000 in debt in just two years, Express.co.uk reported. It all started in 2013 when she was 19 and took out a loan to pay off her then-boyfriend's debt.
Today, she's not only rid of the boyfriend, she's also rid of the debt, Express.co.uk reported. So how'd she do it? Extreme couponing.
What Is Extreme Couponing?
Mumford reportedly spent hours on "savvy shopping and scouring the Internet for vouchers." It allowed her to save nearly $285 (£200) a week, Express.co.uk reported.
Another trick Mumford used was cash-back apps and sites.
"I was working part-time then," Mumford told Express.co.uk. "It was about making my monthly salary go further and only buying what I needed."
Mumford's friends reportedly encouraged her to start sharing her money-saving tricks, so she started a blog called Coupon Queen.
Another smart choice Mumford made was to contact companies she owed money to and explain her situation, which in some cases led to the debt being discounted.
Getting Rid of Debt
You can combine extreme couponing with other money-saving tricks to stretch your monthly income. Other strategies for paying off debt include getting a balance transfer credit card or debt consolidation loan and attacking balances carrying the higher interest rate first. After all, Mumford's story shows exactly how far penny-pinching can take you. Having the right plan of attack for getting out of debt can save you a lot of money in interest.
Extreme couponing helped a teen pay off thousands in debt
Check Your Mailbox
A good place to start is your (snail) mailbox. Remember all that junk mail you regularly throw out? You might as well throw away your hard-earned money. Next time, at least leaf through the coupons to see whether you can snag some great deals on products you already purchased. Don't be dismayed if you don't immediately find them - they'll likely be hidden among the "must-have" ads for patio sun canopies and air fresheners.
Pay Attention to “Real” Savings
Which brings me to an important point: Don't fall victim to buying something just because a great coupon exists. Before you buy, consider whether you really need the discounted item. My husband used to jokingly ask me, "How much did you save us today?" I was shopping the sales and using coupons for my purchases and assumed I was saving money. However, my haul was rarely an accurate depiction of what we needed. I'd walk into a store meaning to spend about $25 on home essentials, but would leave with a bill almost double that. I fooled myself into thinking I'd saved so much money. Don't fall into this trap. Before you buy something with a coupon, ask yourself a few questions. Would you normally purchase it? Is it a staple that's sure to get used? If not, think long and hard about whether it has a place in your house – or your budget.
Once you are comfortable using paper coupons, I strongly urge you to explore the wonderful world of online couponing. The day I discovered it existed was the day life got easier and my dollar stretched further. My husband stopped teasing me when he saw my emails touting real savings on products we actually needed. Even with the declining price of gas these days, I'm hesitant to go to the store for much outside of buying groceries (and even that is one of my least favorite tasks, ranking right up there with pumping gas and going to the dry cleaners).
I do most of my shopping online, and reap huge savings. I'll shop at my favorite store, free of the enticing brick-and-mortar displays, and add only the essential items to my online cart. Plus, price comparing is easier online than in stores. Once my shopping is complete and before I enter my payment information, I'll go to a couponing website to see what I can save. Most of the time snagging free shipping is standard, but sometimes I can score site-wide coupons for 20 percent off (or even more). It's really that easy and all goes back to the question: Why spend more?
Beware the Cost of Bulk Buying
But another word of advice – beware of buying in bulk just for the sake of "increasing your savings." In other words, don't be misled by those extreme couponing shows on television. It isn't about multiplying your coupons to see how much you can save off the retail price or spending the hours to see how much you can get for "free." After all, time is money. Odds are you will end up paying a lot up front to stock up on, say, paper towels. Yes, you'll use them, but paying that much at once isn't likely to be kind to your monthly budget. Buy what you need and save while doing it. It's really that simple.