With the price of food and household items rising, affording basic necessities has become increasingly more challenging for Black Americans, who suffer from the highest rates of poverty in the nation.

Some households may find themselves penny-pinching or making cuts to grocery lists to get by. Tiffany Timmons, a 33-year-old mother of three, supplies her family’s needs in another way: through avid couponing. 

The strategy has unlocked new possibilities for the Howard County, Maryland, resident — like leaving stores with baskets full of discounted products, which frees up her pockets.

With more money in her budget to spend or invest, she says she experiences less financial stress.  

Timmons shares her strategies on her TikTik and website, but we caught up with her to learn more about the benefits of couponing and how folks can get started. 

WORD IN BLACK: Tell me about how you stumbled into couponing five years ago.

TIFFANY TIMMONS: A Facebook friend had posted something called a breakdown (what we call it in the coupon world). It just tells people exactly what she bought, where she went, what she used, and what to do. And it was very helpful. 

So, I duplicated what she did. When I got to the register and my total dropped, my mouth hit the floor. The first thing that came to my head was, ‘Oh my goodness. I’ve been wasting money this entire time.’ Because they were things that I always bought, and the total was 10 times less than what I would have paid.

From there, it was no turning back.

WIB: How did stepping into the world of couponing impact your life? 

TT:  I grew up in poverty all around me. If I knew how to coupon or somebody around me knew how to coupon, I imagine how much it would have helped my family and even the people around me. 

I was making a decent amount of money when I learned to coupon. Couponing allowed me to free up the money that I did have. It allowed me to have more experiences. I could travel more. I could do more things with my children.

WIB: By having fewer restrictions on your funds, did you feel freer mentally or emotionally? 

TT: A lot of times, money causes stress. So, if you can alleviate some of the stress by freeing up the money that you already have, using couponing or clearance hunting, oh my goodness, it really helps mentally.

WIB: You’ve experienced the benefits of couponing as a mom of three. But could it be helpful for, let’s say, a single 20-something? 

TT: I think couponing and clearance shopping is for everyone in every situation. As a single person, just imagine how many more experiences they can have. More things they can do. More businesses they can invest in and open

WIB: What’s the biggest deal you ever snagged?

TT:  Sometimes, you don’t even need the coupons. You just have to get used to sales and markdown prices so that you can be in the right stores at the right time. I can’t even think of the biggest deal. I’ve got 55-inch TVs for like $50. I’ve gotten printers for $3. 

WIB: Would you encourage other Black folks to coupon? Especially those who are battling poverty.

TT: I grew up in one of the worst neighborhoods in Baltimore City. Poverty. Drugs. Crime. Murders. I don’t share my whole story publicly. I haven’t shared it yet, but I’ve been through a lot, and my family has been through a lot. And I can just see people in my situation benefiting so much from just learning how to coupon. We are already in survival mode and trying to make ends meet. Something like learning to coupon can help so much. 

WIB: What final words of advice would you give to someone who’s ready to get started?

TT: 1. Don’t just toss your junk mail. Go through it because in between that junk mail is an insert of coupons that manufacturers sent right to your door. And it’s basically them putting money towards your groceries and necessities. Most people are throwing it in the trash. Look at coupons as money, don’t throw it in the trash. 

2. if you don’t want to use paper coupons, if that overwhelms you, stores now have apps. Download the apps to all the stores that you frequent because inside those apps, a lot of times, are sections with what are called digital coupons.

3. Get rebate and cashback apps. Pair those rebate and cashback apps with your coupons and your sales.

I have all those resources linked on my website, mommalikes2save.com.

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This conversation was edited for length and clarity.