There are a lot of factors that could keep Extreme Couponing all-star Perry from rocking a body full of ink. The northern Virginia–based mom raises her family on a fully vegan diet and spends her days caring for her daughter at home. Her husband, Eric, provides the only income they rely on. With the current price of a decent tattoo—and Perry doesn’t skimp on quality—it can be difficult to find the extra cash for a new piece. So when Perry saw her first episode of TLC’s Extreme Couponing a little over a year ago, she decided it was time to cut back on everyday expenses in order to afford what really matters.
Now, when not at home with her daughter or her group of fellow couponers, affectionately called “Couponers Anonymous,” she can be found dancing down the aisles of the nearest supermarket in her cowboy boots, celebrating her latest haul. On Extreme Couponing All-Stars, Perry knocked $713.16 worth of groceries down to $0 thanks to her stacks of coupons. “Virginia’s cost of living is high, but they have great coupon policies,” Perry says. “They don’t mind if you double up coupons. It’s awesome.” And that extra money she saves? “That’s anybody’s game.”
In order to pull off bargain-buying feats, Perry says, one has to be excessively and obsessively organized. She keeps a binder to organize her hundreds of coupons that she clips with her Couponers Anonymous friends and keeps track of sales at her local stores. “I was a military brat, so I’ve always been obsessively organized. To me, there’s a time and place for everything.”
That attitude carries into her tattoos too. Her pieces are all carefully planned out beforehand, from the art to the location on her body. “Most of my tattoos have something to do with my daughter. I don’t have anything on my thigh currently because it’s such a big space and I might want something there in the future. I’m also saving my back for something big. The body is just a really important canvas.” Most of her work is done by Susan Behney-Doyle at Jinx Proof in Washington, D.C. “My most interesting piece is my bird sleeve. People will come up and touch me because they think it’s painted on.” But her favorite piece is the one on her leg, an array of flowers, birds, trees, and animals winding around her left calf.
Perry’s couponing has become a full-time job, clocking in at around 40 hours a week between all the searching, sifting, and clipping. She attributes her extra source of income to her involvement in Extreme Couponing, which will premiere its third season on May 28th (10 PM ET/PT). “Whatever I can do to help out, I take pride in that. Being a mom is an important job, but it doesn’t pay the bills. Eric is out there 40 hours per week, and I feel guilty if I don’t do something. This is my contribution.”