When I first started couponing, it didn’t cross my mind that it would be a lifestyle change for me. It started when I moved in with my grandmother. I was dealing with tough choices in my early 20s, trying to figure out what I wanted to do in my life. I had hit a rough spot with my parents and I found myself hanging out with my grandmother, in her large old farmhouse. With 5 big bedrooms, a large living and dining room and L shaped porch out in the country, it was a lot for a 70 year old woman to take on by herself. One day during a visit, she had suggested that I stay with her for a few months. It would keep her company and it would give me time to destress and figure out what I wanted to do. Well, those few months turned into a year, 6 years to a total of 13 years staying with her. Comes to find out, we bonded very well together. We did things together; run errands, take her to her appointments, tended the garden & lawn, baking and eating together at the kitchen table every day.

After the first few years together, I discovered that she was only getting a very limited income from Social Security once a month. All along, I thought my grandmother was well off and just being frugal. She literally had no money left at the end of each month. Unfortunately, my grandfather did not prepare financially when he died so it left my grandmother to struggle for 20 years (after he died) before I realized her situation. That’s where couponing came in. I started looking at grocery store circulars and getting the Sunday newspapers. I did all the work to help her spend less.  Luckily, the grocery store that we normally shopped at offered double & triple coupons and a gas rewards program so it would offer discounts on gasoline. I signed her up and myself so I can help her out by using my points to get gas for her car. I also signed us up for rewards programs at the drugstores we shopped at (CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens) and used coupons. When we clothes shopped, we weren’t shopping at the thrift stores anymore, we were checking out the clearance sections at department stores and using coupons from the Sunday papers. We were buying brand new clothes at a fraction of the cost! Ten years later, my grandmother had over $4,000 in her savings account and money still in her checking account with a fridgeful of food and filled cupboards. Before I moved in, she lived paycheck to paycheck.

After I moved out of my grandmother’s house, I got married and I still incorporated couponing. I became real good at saving money on everything.  I lived about 10 minutes from her so any day off I had, I would take her grocery shopping and help her maximize her monthly stipend.

In 2012, my husband got military orders to Fort Hood, Texas. It didn’t take me long to get back into couponing. In fact, it got easier due to more stores, more choices and different ways to save more money. I created my Savealotmom Facebook page in January 2013, a year after we arrived in Fort Hood.  5 years later, I am still couponing and helping others save. Most of my success comes from experience; I understand what it is like to struggle, to be on a limited income yet, I’ve seen that couponing can change your life. Overtime, you’ll see that extra money growing in your bank account, instead of seeing zeros. You become conscious of the spending but you are now able to provide better for your family. It’s an amazing feeling to see families transform well financially.

I spent the best years with my grandmother. Even though she never learned how to coupon, she taught me valuable life lessons. Couponing was just the icing on the cake. This is my lifestyle, who I am and it’s my calling in my life to help others.

My grandmother died January 25th, 2018. Three months later, I left my job at the Killeen Daily Herald to pursue my own passion of helping others with coupon classes, group shops and workshops.