AKRON, Ohio — Whether you call her a deal digger, a bargain hunter, or an extreme couponer, 17-year-old Grace Moritz knows saving a bunch of bucks is a great way to help shelters in need.
The Firestone High School junior, who is a fan of the reality TV show Extreme Couponing, has quickly learned the art of maximizing and stacking coupons.
"Basically, you can stack manufacturer's coupons which is what you will get in the Sunday paper or what you can print out at different sites, and then there are store coupons, and then there are rebates so there are different apps where if you buy certain things, they give you money back," Moritz said.
Inside her West Akron home, Moritz hopped on her laptop and demonstrated how quickly she could find a razor for free.
"The razor itself costs $9. I get $5 off from Target, $9 off Ibotta (online coupon site) and it's free," she said.
Over the last month, the teen has purchased more than $700 worth of toiletries, beauty products, and other items, including diapers, razors, deodorant, shampoo, and toothpaste, but in the end, it won't cost her one red cent.
In fact, Grace's spreadsheet shows she stands to make a profit of $35 thanks to all of the coupons and rebates she used.
"The more you look, there's always stuff to buy. There's always deals to find," she said. "Coming out of the store when you got all this stuff for free and you know it, it's very exciting."
Despite acquiring a plethora of products for nothing, Moritz isn't keeping any of them. Instead, she's giving it all to shelters to help people facing hard times during the pandemic.
The first donation of items, valued at $500, was donated to the Rape Crisis Center of Medina and Summit Counties.
The kind gesture brought tears to the eyes of Sandy Parker, the director of services for the agency that assists about 400 clients each year.
"It's just been a tough year and I think people like her are kind of a shining light for us," Parker said.
Parker said finding different ways to fill the supply room with donations has become critically important, especially since the Rape Crisis Center experienced a 41% cut in grant funding last October.
"Getting help and supplies to survivors is even more meaningful when they learn the donations came from a kid," she said.
"It was a high school student who donated these items for you today. We convey that message to them and it's very touching for them as well."
Moritz was very happy to learn that her couponing efforts have made a difference at the shelter. She's planning to donate another $500 worth of items to Safe Landing in Akron.
"I'm really happy that it's going to good use and I'm glad people are happy that I'm doing it," she said.
Moritz has made a name for herself in other ways. She has one of the highest GPAs at Firestone and is a standout tennis player. Several girl's matches have been canceled due to COVID this spring, so Moritz has joined the boy's team and remains one of the top players.
She hopes to become a child psychiatrist and is looking at Stanford University or the University of Chicago as potential options for college.
In the meantime, she'll keep diving for deals, cutting coupons, and helping others along the way.
"It's fun. I can't really see myself right now stopping it."