Jennifer Drew: Coupon Detective

Who read the Nancy Drew books as a child? I remember them with fondness so it really made me smile when the newest team member at Ashleigh Money Saver was dubbed ‘The Coupon Detective’

Like Nancy, Jennifer is a super sleuth, only instead of fighting crime her mission is to hunt down the absolute best coupon deals out there and share her vast knowledge on how to save the general public a shed load of cash!

It has been revealed this week that Jennifer has teamed up with Britain’s favourite money saver Ashleigh Swan, I wrote about Ashleigh a while back on the blog. Ashleigh has gone from strength to strength amassing a huge facebook following of more than 300,000 page likes and her money saving website achieves a staggering million hits a month.

You may have also seen Ashleigh on BBC 1 recently on the Right On The Money show with Dom Littlewood and Denise Lewis. She is also an ambassador for the government’s Go Ultra Low campaign to the UK using electric cars. There are loads of exciting things in the pipeline for Ashleigh including an Ashleigh App and plenty more TV appearances.

How did Ashleigh and Jennifer meet? That is a whole story in itself: A major UK broadcaster have made a documentary about money savers on holiday that features Ashleigh-she was to have a weekend in Great Yarmouth as cheap as possible, partaking in tourist activities like eating out etc. The twist being Ashleigh was in competition with another UK money saver who turns out to be Jennifer Drew!

During the filming, Ashleigh said that if Jennifer beat her she’d give her a job at Ashleigh Money Saver headquarters.

Jennifer won the challenge and Ashleigh, true to her word has given her a job! How fantastic is that?

I caught up with Jennifer Drew, Coupon Detective in an interview. I wanted to find out all about how she felt when she went up against Ashleigh in the challenge and asked her to share some of her top couponing tips with me.

Here’s what she had to say…

What first sparked your interest in couponing and how did you get started? Lack of money (laughs) I was pregnant and on maternity pay, my husband had just been made redundant and we were eating through our savings so when extreme couponing came on the tv I thought why not?

How much money do you estimate you’ve saved since you started taking couponing seriously? About £17,000, I know it seems like a lot. If we had bought everything we have or have had at the full price that’s what it would be. Of course we would not have gotten them as I don’t have a spare £17,000 lying around, but reduced shopping, coupons and free stuff really adds up quick.

What has been your biggest single saving so far? My biggest shop to date was in Morrisons just before last Christmas, I save up loads of coupons and managed to get £140ish pounds worth of shopping for 39p

You got a supermarket shop for just 39p! How is that even possible? With a lot of planning and some lucky reduced item shopping. Christmas is great for couponing as there are usually more of them about, plus the stores have more sales on. I will try to beat that one day, but it would take a lot.

I know you stockpile; what’s the oddest thing in your stash that you just couldn’t resist Blue hair dye, I have no intention of using it, but it actually paid for me to take it out the shop, Know anyone who wants blue hair?

I get in a flap just fishing around for a couple of coupons in the supermarket queue, can you give me any advice for a smooth checkout when I’m trying to save money? Be organized, plan the shop ahead on the internet and sort all the coupons out before hand, if you see an extra bargain as you go add it to the bundle there and then, not at the till. And don’t take hubby, he is more impatient than the people behind me in the 1.

What did you know about Ashleigh’s website: Ashleigh Money Saver before the documentary? I had used it a lot, she had some great stuff for kids last year and I have been checking it ever since, plus she has a lot of coupons on her site.

Were you nervous going up against Ashleigh in the challenge? When I found out it was Ashleigh I did almost give up, I thought “why bother” I’m glad my husband, Neil, talked me into giving it my all I would have regretted it otherwise.

How did it feel giving up your teaching career to become part of Ashleigh’s team of money saving experts? I will miss so many of the kids and the staff, it’s still not hit home yet as I would normally be off for the summer hols now but I can see it being really weird when term starts. I keep seeing stuff that would be great for teaching this or that and then remembering I don’t need it anymore, it makes me a little sad as I enjoyed teaching but will happily swap the marking for couponing.

Are there any couponing tricks that you can teach me? Any secrets that the supermarkets don’t want us all to know about? There is something called the perfect storm, where the item is already on offer, then you add the coupon and then you get cashback through one of the apps making it free or even turning a profit. I also womble, this is where you collect discarded receipts and use them to get money/ points back from other people’s shopping.

You are swiftly becoming known as the coupon detective, what’s that like and how does it feel knowing that your savvy couponing is inspiring others to save money too? Weird, I have bored my family with it for so long and now people are interested in what I’m doing, it’s a bit surreal but in a good way, I like the fact I’m still teaching people but in a slightly different way, though I have to try not to sound too much like a teacher on the posts.

I want to be a coupon detective too! How can I keep up to date with all the latest deals and track down the best coupons? There are loads of separate sites for coupons, very soon I will have a web page that will gather them all in one place with hints and tips as to where to use them to get maximum savings, so like my facebook page and sign up to the website.

What a fantastic interview, I feel armed and ready to tackle coupons now, with a bit of help from the Coupon Detective of course! Jennifer will have her very own page on the Ashleigh Money Saver site a place you can go for all things coupon related.

Jennifer also has a dedicated facebook page ‘Coupon Detective’ which is doing amazingly well already with 32,000+ likes and counting. Go and give it a ‘like’ and save yourself some pennies and while you’re at it, if you haven’t liked the Ashleigh Money Saver facebook page yet, do it today, you won’t regret it. I love those money-saving updates popping up in my Timeline.

Jennifer and Ashleigh went live yesterday in The Daily Record (Scotland’s biggest newspaper) as the ‘Supersavers’ How cool is that?! This dynamic duo are certainly dedicated to saving us cash. I’ll be sure to update you with any money saving news and when I hear the documentary is due to be aired.

Now I’m off to do my own set of detective work and seek out some coupons for myself!

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