PLANT CITY – When Sandra Lloyd lost her job after becoming ill a little over a year ago, she knew she had to cut her family of four’s expenses.
Lloyd, 32, inspired in part by the TV show, “Extreme Couponing,” decided to develop her own system of using coupons for deep savings at the supermarket.
She’s managed to cut her $100 a week grocery bill by 75 percent – and sometimes she pays little or nothing at all at the checkout stand.
“It takes organization and time,” she said. “If I can do it, anybody can do it.”
Lloyd recently held a workshop, Extreme Couponing with Sandra, at Bruton Memorial Library to show how she became a super saver. The program, part of the library’s ongoing effort to offer classes for adults, attracted about two dozen people, mostly women.
Adult Services Librarian Lisa Kreutter invited Lloyd to share her knowledge after they struck up a conversation while the mother of two was at the library to print out coupons.
“I thought this was something that might be of interest to our patrons. We try to bring in a variety of programs for adults,” Kreutter said.
Lloyd said she starts her week by taking the coupon inserts out of the four copies of the Sunday Tampa Tribune she has delivered to her rural Plant City home. Then she does a computer search for “Publix weekly ad” and the week’s date.
That search will lead to websites that include Addicted to Saving and My Coupon Expert that provide tips on how to use coupons, based on the weekly sales. The sites also provide links to other coupons.
Lloyd said she typically follows the Publix ads because the chain is generous in its coupon policies, and often accepts those from competing stores.
She said she keeps an eye on other chain stores’ weekly ads but Publix ad is her favorite for its buy-one, get-one deals and she’s developed friendships with some store managers.
She takes her couponing to extremes: She visits public libraries where she can access multiple computers because online coupons often limit the number of coupons per each computer’s unique IP address.
Also, she often has to buy very large quantities of items to get the best deals. But sometimes she can end up with groceries that are free or cost very little.
She has shelves of cereals, canned foods and more at the home she shares with her fiancé Mark Foster and their children, 6-year-old daughter Haydynn and 4-year-old son Christopher. She donates food she doesn’t need to charity.
Even shoppers who don’t want to go to her extremes can chop their grocery bills substantially by using Sunday newspaper coupons and searching online for coupon-information sites, Lloyd said.
She’s willing to help anyone get started who contacts her through her Facebook page, which is under her name, Sandra Lloyd.
“You don’t need to pay full price, trust me,” said Lloyd, a New Hampshire native who moved to Plant City about 15 years ago.
Kreutter said she liked the idea of sponsoring the coupon session because it was information that adults might find useful. That’s the kind of program that typically attracts adults to the library at 302 W. McLendon St., she said.
Regular adult library programs include book and knitting groups and computer instruction. Special guests have ranged from a college professor who taught resume-writing tips to a baker who demonstrated cake decorating.
For a complete list of adult programs at Bruton Memorial, go to plantcitygov.com and follow the links under city departments for the library.
Contact Kreutter at (813) 757-9215, ext. 23.