Preston Hollow’s own Jen Bryarly competed on Oprah Winfrey Network’s “Super Saver Showdown,” which airs tonight at 9 p.m. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the show, two contestants compete for a $10,000 prize by trying to throw the best party for the least amount of money. I talked to her on the phone to find out more about her experience and how she first got started clipping coupons.
MS: How did you first hear about the show?
Jen: I play a game called The Grocery Game that helps you save money when you’re doing your grocery shopping. They had an add at the top of the screen saying something like “Do you love to save money? Tell us how you save for a chance to win $10,000!” I kept seeing the ad week after week, so finally one day I just clicked it and applied.
MS: What did the application entail?
Jen: I made a video of me showing them around my house and showing ways that I save money, not just with coupons, but like DIY home repair projects, and cutting my sons’ hair.
Keep reading for more with Jen!
MS: When was this?
Jen: Wow, let’s see…several years ago. I applied in 2009, but they didn’t call me until two years later!
MS: They called you two years later? Did you even remember that you had applied?
Jen: No, not really. The producer called me and told me that they loved my video and wanted to know if I would be interested in auditioning for the show. I was like, ‘Wait, what show? The one I applied for two years ago?!?” But I ended up doing a Skype call and then a couple more calls with producers and then they told me I had made it!
MS: So when and where did you film?
Jen: We filmed in Alabama the Thursday after Thanksgiving last year .
MS: Did you get to meet Oprah?
Jen: No! I didn’t, although I have been to one of her shows in Chicago. The production show handled everything and then I guess they sent the show to her once it was all packaged and ready to go. They’ve been telling us it would air for about a year and a half now, so I’m SO excited to finally see it!
MS: So how long have you been clipping coupons?
Jen: Probably about three years. My neighbor introduced me to The Grocery Game list. She had a big white notebook on her counter for all of her coupons and she really showed me how the system worked.
MS: How much do you think you save, on average?
Jen: I’ve been saving between 40-45% on my groceries every time I shop. A lot of times I save a lot more – like 75-90%, but then you have to consider the items that you still have to pay full price on, like organic fruit and milk. So it averages out to about 45% each week…I try not to pay more than %50 of an item’s original price.
MS: So would you consider yourself an “Extreme Couponer?”
Jen: [Laughs] No, not at all. I don’t go crazy like some of the people you see on TV. I don’t have stockpiles in my garage or anything like that. My pantry is pretty small, so I just pick up a couple of extras when an item is on sale.
MS: So $10,000…that’s a lot of canned goods or toilet paper rolls. Obviously you know if you won or not, but since we don’t…what are your plans for the money if you win?
Jen: I live in a 1950s ranch home with my husband and two sons, so the money would probably go to fixing it up.
MS: Did you enjoy your experience?
Jen: Absolutely! The whole process was so much fun! I just can’t wait for it to air…I’m going to have a viewing party with my girlfriends!