LAVC freshman Joel Aguilar was featured on TLC’s Extreme Couponing as a high school sophomore.
By: Monessa Chahayed, staff writer
Eighteen-year-old Joel Aguilar is known to many around the world as the teenage coupon addict, but his friends know him as a spirited go-getter with a sense of humor.
Aguilar started couponing at the age of 15; he was mind blown when he found out about a woman that had only spent one cent on all her groceries. One year later, he found out about TLC’s show Extreme Couponing and decided to contact the production company. Today, he is a freshman at Valley College and loves spending time with his friends.
Along with his cousin, he obsessively couponed and strived for the “coupon high.” He describes the coupon high as the satisfaction of saving money at the register. Before his first shopping trip in 2010, Aguilar searched for hours on coupon websites for sales. The store he chose to shop at was having a BOGO, buy one get one free, cereal sale and he had BOGO coupons. This sale, along with the coupons, made his final total $0. After two years of using coupons, he accumulated a stockpile worth thousands of dollars.
“If you saw the show you would know that I had a lot of stuff,” Aguilar said. “While I don’t need 30 boxes of tampons, I know a less fortunate person could benefit from it, so I made sure to give them away.”
At 16, Aguilar filmed a Christmas episode of TLC’s Extreme Couponing. The most money he ever saved using coupons was actually on the show. The total was $650 before coupons and -$40 after using them, he only had to pay tax. He was also flown to New York to have a 20-minute segment with Anderson Cooper where he competed with Cooper to see who could save the most money. While Cooper put up a good fight, Aguilar came out on top.
“It was pretty crazy having cameras follow you all around. It was a trip I’ll never forget,” said Aguilar.
Shortly after filming the show, Aguilar stopped using coupons. Since he was hired at Apple, couponing took up too much of his time and he wanted to focus on school and work. When Aguilar is not working or studying, he just likes to hang out with friends. He is currently undecided in his major; however, his experience on television sparked an interest in becoming a reality television producer. If he could give three tips to anyone that wants to start couponing they would be: to make sure to get the Sunday paper, go to websites like krazycouponlady.com or southerncalisaver.com, and to stock up on the deals.
Hours of searching for deals proved to be an enjoyable and worthwhile hobby as it saved Aguilar thousands of dollars and inspired him to pursue a career he may not have discovered otherwise.