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'They offer deals on everything' | Learn these coupon-collecting tips to stock up on savings

Here are some insider secrets that will help you save big with coupons without the huge time commitment.

SAN ANTONIO — We've all seen extreme couponers, and while they can save a ton of money by looking for deals, it looks like a ton of work!

There's a way you still can save a significant amount of money with a more moderate commitment.

Karla Savings is Karla Benavides' super savings alter ego on social media. She rakes up the discounts. She showed us how to easily do so on Facebook, TickTok and Instagram. Clipping coupons is not what you imagine.

“They think that they have to go hunt for a newspaper to get coupons,” Benavides said. “They think they have to sit at a desk and cut thousands of coupons. It’s not like that anymore.”

She started couponing when she had her second child.

“When I found out I was pregnant, I was like, 'I’m not going to be able to afford diapers for two,'” Benavides said. “I was like, 'This isn’t going to be possible.' I saw a post on Instagram where this girl got a pack of diapers. She got a big box of diapers for only $3. I was like, 'How did she do that? How is that possible?' That’s how I just got looped in. I was like, 'I need to figure out how to coupon diapers.' That’s how I started. I started it because I wanted to save on diapers and baby necessities. Then I saw that you can pretty much coupon anything and everything.”

She saves about $10,000 a year couponing. She said you can save a chunk of change, too, with just 30 minutes a week. Start with this item:

“The one thing coupons will always pay for is toothpaste,” Benavides said. “That is the easiest thing anyone can coupon. It’s so simple. You can just use your phone just by using digital coupons. You just clip one coupon, go to the store, get your two toothpastes and then walk out and it’ll be free.”

The key is to stack offers—sales, coupons and cash back.

“If the store is having a sale, we’re going to get the sale price,” Benavides said. “Plus, we use the coupon and then on top of that we can get the cash back from the rebate apps. So most of the time that ends up being how we get our items free to even getting paid for them.”

Begin by getting the apps for your favorite stores. That is where you will find digital coupons. Her preferred shop is CVS.

“It’s only because they offer deals on everything,” Benavides said. “You can get everything there. You can get the laundry detergent, you can get diapers, you can get toilet paper, all the body washes, all ... hair shampoo, razors, everything. CVS has it all, and they always have a ton of deals weekly.”

She suggested using cash back apps like Ibotta, Fetch Rewards or Fluz where you upload your receipts and either receive money back or gift cards to apply toward other purchases. Also, make sure you are signed up with the store’s rewards program.

Many coupons are digital, but you can still use paper ones or combine paper and digital coupons. Paper coupons are most often found in the Sunday newspaper. No subscription? No problem. Benavides said there are plenty of free papers out there.

“My favorite one is the recycling center where they recycle newspaper,” she said. “Most of the time these people are understanding. Even the library, when the library is throwing out the newspaper, you can just simply ask them, ‘Hey, can I take a peek at the inserts?’”

Do not forget the coupons on the back of your grocery store receipts, either.

“You’ll find local deals,” said Andrea Woroch, a smart shopping expert. “Maybe it’s money off at a local yogurt shop or at a dry cleaner. Make sure you’re taking advantage of those deals.”

Or forget the newspaper and go online print them.

Getting coupons for online shopping is also effortless.

“The first thing you want to do is run a Google search with the retailer’s name or the service provider’s name and the term coupon or promo code,” Woroch said.

Or just go right to the retailer’s page or social media.

“That’s where you can often times find coupon codes or maybe free shipping codes,” Woroch said.

CouponFollow.com aggregates coupons by store and verifies coupons, so you know what promo codes work. You can also use a coupon plug-in for your browser, like CouponCabin.

“This will automatically add coupon codes when you’re checking out,” Woroch said. “It will send you a pop-up notification letting you know there’s a deal available. You can just activate that deal.”

Sign up for emails and texts from your favorite retailers to get coupons and deal notifications.

“One way to avoid being bombarded by deals and getting flooded by junk mail is to create a separate email account,” Woroch said. “This could be specifically for retail deals where you sign up for all those new email subscriptions.”

Also, try calling the retailer or opening a chat on the website and ask if there are any deals available. Woroch said she had success getting free shipping codes and 20 percent off coupons by doing this.

Remember to also try and stack coupons.

“Some online retailers allow you to use multiple coupon codes,” Woroch said. “It could be a free shipping deal, maybe a new user coupon, like a welcome deal where you get 10 percent off your order on top of a sitewide sale. So don’t be afraid to try to add multiple coupon codes.”

Both recommend stocking up on items when sales and coupons allow you to do so.

“You’re going to know what items you need or what items you don’t need,” Benavides said. “For example: laundry detergent. That’s always being used. Dish soap: that’s always being used. It’s like you can have a huge stockpile of it, but it’s always going to come and go and you don’t really know when the next deal is going to be.”

Items you get for no cost or low cost can be given to someone else, too, either a friend or someone in need.

“I always tell my following, even if you don’t need it, it’s a donation item,” Benavides said. “It’s so great to be able to donate and help others that need it. Me, personally, if I go couponing and I get a bag of stuff and I’m like, 'OK, I don’t really need this,' but it was free. I’ll go ahead and donate it to any homeless person I see or donate it to shelters.”

Do not clip just to have coupons. That is a waste of time and money.

“If there’s no sale price, there’s not a reason to just go buy the item and use the coupon because we’re not maximizing our savings that way,” Benavides said.

It does not take long to become a pro couponer. Benavides said it took her about three months. You are  likely to find the deals often repeat.