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Ask DSM Readers: How Did You Get Your Money-Saving Start?

by Tara Kuczykowski on March 3, 2010 · 41 comments

Ginger from Attention Target Shoppers wrote me the other day to share that Michelle from Lipstick to Crayons was contributing a guest post to her site sharing how she got started saving money.

In it she names Deal Seeking Mom and Money Saving Mom as two of the blogs that got her started on her journey of learning to be frugal. I thought this would be kind of a fun topic to throw out to you all.

I've always been a deal seeker, combing forums for the best freebies, coupons and bargains, but I'm pretty sure that Money Saving Mom was the first blog that I read on the topic.

So I'm just curious where you got your money-saving start? Was it a blog or elsewhere? And feel free to share what motivated or inspired you as well.

{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

1 becca March 3, 2010 at 2:03 pm

I got my start from YOU, Deal Seeking Mom! Seriously, it all started with the Mott's Applesauce deal last year - you are a wonderful inspiration and I LOVE learning from you!


2 cwaltz March 3, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Real life got me started started as a money saver. We were young and broke and I was selling my plasma to get my husband to work when I realized I could do things online to help us save. In the 90's I used programs like beenz to help pay for Christmas. I was a member of a tightwad forum on AOL. I did just about anything I could to save a buck. Since that time I have sought out sites that help me with saving those bucks and maximizing our money.(I have list as long as my arm of sites I visit).

I have learned some great things as a result of hanging out at places like DealSeekingMom(who I found through Mom Advice blog).


3 MaryEllen March 3, 2010 at 2:24 pm

I've always been somewhat of a deal seeker, but nothing to the extent that I am now! I stumbled across some CVS forums a couple years ago while I was searching for a deal on a Christmas present for my hubby. My curiousity was piqued when I saw people talking about all the free stuff they were getting at CVS. Later I heard about a friend who did CVS and she put me onto Money Saving Mom's blog. From there, it's history! I discovered the frugal blogosphere, and it's amazing what kind of information is out there!


4 Audry March 3, 2010 at 2:37 pm

My sister actually told me about, which was great because it is the only store I'll grocery shop at. I was spending way too much at the grocery store and this site got me started on "couponing". By looking at the ad ahead of time and using coupon match ups I have saved lots of money. I also got turned onto some other Blogs from her site, which I have used to get all kinds of free offers on the Internet.


5 Rachel @ Surviving The Stores March 3, 2010 at 2:38 pm

I'm pretty sure I started with Money Saving Mom too. Google reader suggested that I start reading Freebies4Mom so I started reading Heather's site soon after MSM. I'm almost positive that Stephanie (Couponing 101) told me about Deal Seeking Mom and I quickly got hooked here as well! :)


6 Buffie March 3, 2010 at 2:40 pm

I grew up in a frugal family so I can honestly say I've always been a deal seeker, I've just gotten more into it since I became a mom.


7 Nan15 March 3, 2010 at 2:45 pm

It started with money saving mom for me and then grew to you you, and then i heart publix and i heart cvs and now totally target.


8 Katie March 3, 2010 at 2:47 pm

My friend went to a couponing seminar and then blogged about it. They gave her references like Money Saving Mom and you! I checked out your sites and I've been hooked every since!


9 Becky March 3, 2010 at 2:47 pm

I have always loved saving money! I remember in grade school, if I wanted something, purchasing the item depended on who was paying -- my parents or me-- to decide how much I wanted it!! Now I go with the "do I need it or do I want it." Couponmom got me going and a member shared her favorite blog sites and this was one of them :) thanks for all the great deals!!


10 Andrea March 3, 2010 at 2:48 pm

We had an out-of-town business associate over for dinner and he started telling me about how his wife was saving so much and was really into coupons. Sites like your have really helped me figure out how to find great deals!


11 Kristen March 3, 2010 at 2:50 pm

I have only watched the Doctor Phil show a handful of times and one day I HAD to watch because they were talking about saving money. This lead me to the blog Frugal Coupon Living, since she was a guest on the show. From there I found a ton of other blogs, including yours. That was probably almost a year ago and now I get five Sunday papers, have a big coupon binder, and have cut my grocery bill by at least 70%. And too think, that before I watched that show, I was considering canceling my newspaper subscription to save some money!!


12 Liz March 3, 2010 at 2:52 pm

I heard of someone who was using coupons illegally so I googled "legal" couponing and here I am. I check this site, MomsneedtoKnow and Southern Savers approximately 5 times a day. Being money savvy is the Bomb Biscuity!


13 K L S March 3, 2010 at 3:04 pm

I worked in a grocery store during high school, and I was inpsired both by the people who would come in with all their coupons and also just by the strategy of shopping sales. It was a big eye-opener to see how much money could be saved by shopping sale items. I started making my mom's grocery lists for her and clipping her coupons. I figured out the rest on my own little bits at a time. Blogs like this are a great start and would've saved me a lot of trial and error. I encourage everyone to tweek what they do to their local options and personal style--you have to own it to make it work.


14 Carrie March 3, 2010 at 3:16 pm

I got introduced to money saving from my Columbus Mother's of Twins Club blog. A member of the twin club had written a brief entry about how she used this site, as well as two others. I have always been interested in "sales", but matching my coupons to fliers, and knowing where/how to find the best deals is something that I struggled with. I LOVE this site, and I check it all the time. It keeps my focus on saving money. Thank you!


15 Wendy March 3, 2010 at 3:33 pm

I started clipping coupons for health and beauty items when I was in high school and working at CVS in the late 1980's. I found it fascinating then to be able to pair up a coupon with an item on sale and get it for less than reg. retail. For years, I have prided myself on saving nearly 50%, if not more, off my grocery order each week by using coupons and combining them with sale prices. Deal Seeking Mom, which is my favorite savings website, has helped with that achievement even more so, and I am so grateful to Tara because of that. When I first discovered DSM about a year ago, I was so excited to find there were moms out there that were even more passionate about saving money than me! Thanks DSM!!


16 Jan March 3, 2010 at 3:51 pm

Have always been cheap, excuse me, a bargain-hunter! My "extreme couponing" started with Coupon Mom, then I googled for couponing blogs, and found this one, Money Saving Mom, Moms Need to Know, etc. I follow you all in my Google Reader (which helps me be frugal with my time!). I've been able to slash my grocery bill while feeding the family well and donating piles to the local food banks. The frugal blogosphere rules! :-)


17 Amy Freking March 3, 2010 at 4:28 pm

I was looking for cheap lunch ideas and stumbed across Clever Dude, which lead me to coupon blogs, and Money Saving Mom was the first one I'd ever seen. I was completely stunned these blogs were out there, and in the last two years, I've saved a hugh amount of money using them.


18 Joanne March 3, 2010 at 4:41 pm

Got my start from Carrie at She's an AWESOME resource around Colorado Springs, CO. I think the best feature of her blog is her rating system (1-5) on deals. 1's and 2's are not so great but 5's are "stock-up-big-time" deals!! It's great to know when you're getting a good deal, not *just* matching a coupon to sale price (because sometimes, that's not all that matters!). :)


19 Keisa June 10, 2011 at 9:29 pm

I feel the same way about Southern Savers. She marks stockpile deals with an acorn symbol. It cracks me up because my kids now look for the little acorns and say "there's a good one mom." :)


20 Pam March 3, 2010 at 4:51 pm

Next week it will be a full year that I have been coupon stacking and shopping at WAGs and CVS. I can say it's been a REAL fun year! I got my start with Deal Seeking Mom and Coupon Cravings and now have added local Minnesota bloggers to my Favorites list. I used to buy generic face wash and razors at regular prices, not any more. It's quality products for my family now and they all appreciate it (especially my teen age daughters and their friends). I'm even thinking seriously of rejoining a church just so I can donate my extra stuff, great news, huh! Okay, not just, but its a good excuse for me to get my butt up and to church again. Thanks Tara and everyone else out there supporting these sites!


21 Amanda Parks March 3, 2010 at 5:36 pm

Life in Africa and lots of student loan debt... Last year I started reading, which led to following a few others. The blog community has added a whole new element to frugality!


22 Mary - The Deal Detector March 3, 2010 at 6:04 pm

I have always enjoyed saving money but didn't realize the amount of money I could save by really "couponing". I sat down with Crystal's (Money Saving Mom) sister when she visited over Christmas (she is married to my BIL) and we were talking about grocery budgets. When she told me their budget I felt ashamed and decided it was time to do something about it! I really dove in, found a host of blogs (this one included!) and forums, and now I have my own blog to help others do the same!
It is such a blessing to be able to help others do the same thing I am doing!!


23 Virginia March 3, 2010 at 6:14 pm

I have been clipping coupons and comparison shopping long before most of you were born. I am 76 years old. My husband and I have six children, and coupons helped us feed them.


24 Amanda Y. March 3, 2010 at 6:57 pm

I actually started as a cashier in high school, when I saw how much awesome couponers like you saved, I HAD to do it! So I expanded my knowledge with blogs, but I had the starts early from my first job!


25 Amanda Y. March 3, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Joanne, I wish I was from Colorado Springs or that other bloggers would use the rating system! That's a GREAT idea!


26 Angela March 3, 2010 at 7:59 pm

My mom was always a couponer. I did some, kept a price book, etc. when I was younger. Then, when I had children, it got harder. I wanted to spend as little time as possible on shopping. Then, I came across Money Saving Mom and then slowly more and more blogs became part of my daily reading. I found that it was really easy to still save money if you prepared well.


27 Shelly March 3, 2010 at 8:53 pm

I love great deals and always have; in the past I mostly looked for sales and used coupons where I easily acquired them. Last year my fiancé last his job. We were in the middle of selling both of our houses, buying a newer/bigger house, and planning a wedding. My friend turned me on to and I was hooked right away. I quickly picked up the art of the match ups and checking multiple sites. He was unemployed for over nine months, but he got a job last month!! Because of sites like Dealseekingmom (and adjusting our budget) we have been able to keep the new house and have fun experimenting with different products. I now have a huge storage closet full of stuff that I basically got free that would have broken the budget. Thank you deal seeking mom!!


28 Kimberly March 3, 2010 at 10:39 pm

I started my frugal journey when I became a stay at home mom in 1998. I discovered Amy Dacyzyn's books and read all I could about the subject. I was not raised to budget, so it was all new to me. While I've always been good at hunting deals, and buying my kids' clothes on clearance, this all kicked into high gear after doing Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University with my husband. We have paid off all debt except our house and have a fully funded emergency fund. Last year, I discovered iMommies, which led me to many other sites, including DSM, Hip2Save, Bargain Briana, etc. My husband is still in awe at the bargains I am able to get now. When I print coupons, we joke that it's like printing money! He recently accompanied me on my rounds, and kept asking, "So which store are we going to rob next?" It's wonderful to have his support because he understands that it takes time to organize the deals. We have a huge stockpile of food and toiletry items, and donate LOTS of personal care items to a local women's shelter through our church.


29 Katie March 4, 2010 at 12:18 am

My mom!!!!!

I can remember always shopping the clearance racks, and not only because we HAD to, but because we got 3 times the amount of clothing compared to full price! And we realized the value and gains we were getting at 7, 8 yrs old!!

And now in this day and age we have AWESOME resources to help each other out, and share the wealth!


30 Haila March 4, 2010 at 1:16 am

I had used coupons before, but not strategically - so they didn't really help that much. Then, last year, I was home with my second baby during maternity leave, wondering how we were going to afford child care! I had heard something vaguely about The Grocery Game so went to check it out. In the process, I read something about Money Saving Mom -- and just branched out from there. Sitting in my chair, nursing my baby and getting increasingly enthused about all the awesome deals. I did a great Walgreens deal on Huggies first, and was completely hooked.


31 Ginger March 4, 2010 at 1:32 am

Thanks so much for linking over to Michelle's guest post. I was delighted to have her post about her journey to frugality.



32 Rainey March 4, 2010 at 2:52 am

Somehow I found Coupon Gal and thats when I started finding out about these coupon and moneysaving blogs and that was about 6 months ago. Now I can't even shop without consulting the blogs LOL


33 Julie March 4, 2010 at 4:38 am

I've always been a bargain shopper, but a couple years ago my husband and I really started to kick it up a notch as we tried to get out of debt. One of the first blogs I found was MoneySavingMom...but I quickly found others (including you) and once I discovered Google Reader for keeping track of all my fave frugal blogs it was on!! During my pregnancy and just after I really didn't do a lot of deals...but now that I have a cute and very active almost-eight-month-old, we are exploring the stores and getting deals together!!


34 Gloria Brown March 4, 2010 at 8:43 am

We had tow ladies in our church expecting twins. So I started searching for baby freebies and found freebies4mom. I signed up for them all so I'd have lots of things to give them at their showers. On some of her posts she'd thank so and so for the tip so I followed those links and started with the CVS challenges. Then added Wags and then coupons for everything. This has really helped since my husband and I just started out get out of debt program, complete with envelopes and budgets!


35 Shannon March 4, 2010 at 8:45 am

I have always loved a great deal, but about a year ago I caught Ashley from Frugal Coupon Living on the Dr. Phil show. My husband and I were trying to figure out how to lower our monthly out of pocket so we could attempt to start getting out of debt. A year later we are by no means out of debt, but we are making progress and have built a huge stockpile that everybody makes fun of, but they have no problems shopping from it!


36 Missy March 4, 2010 at 9:08 am

I have used coupons in the past here and there. I was never consistent or strategic. I came across an article online this past September that mentioned a few blogs. Honestly, I can't remember which ones I looked at first. But after checking out alot of them, I have about 6-7 that I keep up with. DSM and Hip2Save are the two I check several times a day.

I'm not a shopper, so some weeks it's hard to get motivated to go to 3 or more stores to get the deals. But reading blogs like this keeps me motivated. What a blessing to my family! Thanks, Tara!


37 Karyn March 4, 2010 at 11:51 am

My Mom used to coupon when we were young but I don't remember much about it. In college I started doing ebay to make some cash and my husband and I are always "wheeling and dealing" but never for food. So while out on maternity with my first child I saw a news segment about the Grocery Game and started checking that out which led me to and here! I am totally hooked and have been doing this for about 2 years, which really helps with two young children. I even started helping a few fellow teachers at school and they're wishing they would have started when their kids were young. THere are so many great resources out there, but I definitely check in here daily!


38 Ashlee March 29, 2010 at 3:29 pm

I grew up with all of my needs taken care of, but we didn't have a lot extra money. My Mom always clipped coupons and matched them with items on sale when possible. When I first moved out on my own our Meijer would have super double coupons every few months and I would stock up on personal care items for pennies a piece or even free. That was about my extent to saving until this year. My husband and I were each making a pretty good salary and had plenty of extra money to spare, so we didn't take the time to clip coupons until last year. Now I am a stay at home mom to my infant and my husband is not working either since he just started law school. We are now living on about a third of what we used to with an extra mouth to feed. Sites like this one have really helped us cut our spending WAY down without having to forgo some of the name brand items we would rather buy.


39 Lisa April 22, 2010 at 9:30 pm

Yes, you are guilty again. It was for me too. My SIL got going from her sister and the snowball is still rolling. Some say its silly, some say its a waste but in the end it helps my OCD need to shop and I am spending WAY less than I was before and still getting my fix. Thank you Tara for all your hard work and ty to all those who contribute deals. A wonderful network of paying it forward in much needed times.


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41 Oakley Pit Boss July 6, 2013 at 6:13 am

Upgrading an sunglass within about half the time without spending extra money!


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