We've all read about the savvy shoppers who fill
their grocery cart and end up paying only pennies after they hand
over their coupons. But trying to do that ourselves can be
frustrating-where do you get the best coupons, how do you match
them up with the best sales, does this require full-time job status
to pull off successfully?
Rachel Singer Gordon of Lombard is one of those coupon
queens, but she wants to make it possible for all the rest of us to
do what she does. So she has created a wildly popular blog,
mashupmom.com, where she provides her
shopping list for lots of local stores, complete with coupons
attached or where to find them, so we can all become our own
version of a coupon queen.
"A lot of people get intimidated when they read how other
people do it and they can't duplicate it, so I try to be very, very
clear about the coupons I use," she says.
Gordon, mom to Jacob, 7, and Sam, 3, started couponing a
few years ago, when she and her husband Todd were in the process of
adopting Sam from South Korea. The adoption was expensive, and she
knew she had to cut costs somewhere. Although her husband initially
thought she was kind of nuts, she recalls, he soon became a convert
when he saw how much she saved-typically 50-90 percent on groceries
and most toiletries were free.
Recently, Gordon published a book that gives step-by-step
instructions on how to create those kinds of savings for yourself.
Point, Click and Save is like a Bible for people looking to save
money, plus it has lots of great tips on finding work opportunities
and selling things online. Like her blog, its straightforward
approach makes it easy to save money, something all of us can use
To get started yourself, Gordon recommends the
1 Change the way you shop. Instead of
thinking, "What do I feel like eating for dinner," stockpile things
by buying them at their lowest price and then shop from your
pantry. "This alone will save you a lot," Gordon says.
2 Find someone online to follow, whether
it's Gordon or someone else. "At mashupmom.com, I say here are the
best deals at Jewel-Osco and at Dominick's and here's where you can
find other deals. Find somebody who's doing it, clip the coupons,
and then somebody else has done the work for you. Since I've been
doing it for a while, I can tell what's a good deal." Start
small-just one store the first week so you don't get overwhelmed
and give up.
3 Find legit work-at-home opportunities. Start
with sites like workathomemafia.com or wahm.com (work-at-home mom). When
you're looking for online opportunities, remember if it sounds too
good to be true, it probably is. If you're not sure, put the
company name in a Google search, along with "fraud" or "scam"
because if they aren't legitimate, someone will have written about
it, Gordon says. Or go to snopes.com, which debunks a lot of the
work from home things as well.
Liz DeCarlo is the senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.
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