Student Uses Couponing Skill To Purchase Over $100,000 Worth Of Products For The Poor

Credit: The Boston Globe
Credit: The Boston Globe

Never again can you declare that reality shows have no purpose.

When Hannah Steinberg was sixteen years old, she – like most teenagers – enjoyed sitting down to watch her favorite reality TV series after school. Back then, her show of choice was “Extreme Couponing,” a cable program that follows discount-obsessed shopaholics who go to supreme lengths to buy ultra-cheap items regardless of whether they need them.

But Steinberg didn’t just burn time watching the show like so many people do. She was observing a valuable skill that she would eventually put to use in an incredible way to help others.

Reports The Boston Globe, while watching people proudly hoard their deeply discounted prices, Hannah was struck with the idea to coupon with a conscience. 

Now 20 years old, Hannah runs the federally-recognized non-profit Our Coupons Care, which has allowed her to use the couponing trick she learned on the show to donate more than $100,000 worth of household items, canned goods, and electronics to homeless shelters and hospitals.

Even while in college at Tuft University, she continues the effort.

“This has become something so much bigger than I would’ve imagined, for me and for the families. What I’m doing is very simple,” said Steinberg.

Well, simple for those who understand the process.

Credit: Chris Potter, CC
Credit: Chris Potter, CC

What “Extreme Couponers” do is keep track of who is offering which discounts, and then buy in bulk to maximize each dollar saved.

“Stores, private couponing companies, and online marketplaces frequently offer discounts on the same items in any given store, which savvy shoppers can combine,”
Steinberg explains.

The kind-hearted student used the example of a chocolate bar priced at $1.19. When you walk into a store, there might be a ‘buy one, get one free’ sale. A coupon clipper might pair it with a buy two, get one free coupon, however, and a $4 off any $10 purchase discount.

This would allow them to purchase 30 chocolate bars for only $6.

Credit: Chris Potter, CC
Credit: Chris Potter, CC

This skill comes in handy when you’re pinching pennies and trying to subsist on little. Which is why Steinberg solicits donations to her nonprofit charity and mixes that money with her coupon-managing skill.

Sternberg says she can make “every dollar count for four to five dollars.”

Hannah is modest about her work, but her mother – who is a financial advisor (no surprise), couldn’t be more pleased.

“I’m very proud,” said Ruth Steinberg. “It’s amazing, and she’s stuck with it for a long time.”

The non-profit has been recognized by three elected officials from New York, US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and US Representatives Eliot L. Engel and Nita M. Lowey. 

In addition, her hometown has declared June 28, 2012, as ‘Hannah Steinberg Day’ in recognition of her efforts.

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