Everyone has that one friend they turn to for advice. Well, when it comes to shopping smarter we turn to one of the Internet’s most savvy moms – Kimberly Danger. Since founding MommySavers.com in 2000, this wife and mother of two has been sharing cost-cutting ideas with her fans. We’re thankful for the opportunity to pick her brain share her expertise with our fans in this Interview with a Savings Expert.
In addition to your blog, you have written several money-saving books including Instant Bargains: 600+ Ways to Shrink Your Grocery Bills and Eat Well for Less and The Complete Book of Baby Bargains. How did you become a savings expert?
I came from a frugal household. My mom and I were big garage-salers and sale shoppers, and my dad taught me a lot about personal finance and investing. However, I really had to put my frugal habits into practice when my first child was born. I decided to quit my full-time job to stay home with her, reducing our household income quite a bit. I quickly became even better at couponing, finding great deals, and making things from scratch.
You launched Mommysavers.com back in March of 2000, what kind of changes have you seen in the deal hunting space over the past decade?
The Internet has made finding deals much easier now than ever before. Thousands of blogs exist solely to help connect people with the specific deals and bargains they’re looking for. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter have also made it easier than ever for brands to offer discounts to their customers. Smartphone saving apps are also gaining a lot of momentum these days.
There are tons of savings blogs online today. What are a few of your favorites that readers should check out?
It seems like there are deals for just about everything if you look hard enough. For some, however, the process of finding the best price can be a chore. What do you see as the greatest challenge facing frugal shoppers today?
Saving money usually requires planning ahead. For example, adding to your grocery stockpile when things go on sale, buying clothing off-season for the next year, or buying gifts ahead of time when a good deal comes up. These days, people are so pressed for time that it’s hard to do that. We often sacrifice price for convenience.
In addition to a running your blog, you’re a full-time mom. How do you balance work, parenting, and deal hunting?
Working on the blog is much easier now that my kids are in school full-time. When they were younger, I worked at night, on weekends, and during naptime. All my spare time was put towards the site. Now that the kids are older and more independent, I have a lot more free time and a little more balance. I also have three great VAs (Virtual Assistants) who help manage the blog and forum. I couldn’t run the site without them.
It’s clear that family is important to you. What advice do you have for other moms trying to teach their children about smart shopping?
It’s never too early to start talking to your kids about money and smart buying decisions. Money management isn’t in the school curriculum, so it’s up to you to do what you can to instill frugal values and smart spending. It’s also alright to allow them to make smaller mistakes with money when they’re young. Hopefully those teachable moments will help them avoid bigger mistakes as adults.
Can you share a story about one way you have been able to teach your children healthy frugal habits?
This year, we gave our junior-high-age daughter control over her clothing budget. She’s a budding fashionista – so name brands are important to her. Since she couldn’t afford everything she wanted, she quickly learned smart shopping tactics for getting what she wanted for less – like shopping Goodwill, resale shops, and clearance racks. It was fun and rewarding to see her make smart decisions with her money.
What is the best deal you remember getting online?
In the “Good ‘Ol Days” of Internet retailing, a lot of online stores used coupon codes like $20 off a $20 purchase to entice new customers. I cashed in on a lot of those, and got some nice things for next to nothing. Those coupon codes are rare these days.
I still check Amazon regularly and find some great deals there. It’s probably one of my favorite sites for bargain hunting. During the holiday shopping season, they feature “Lightning Deals” that are only available for a short period of time. To satisfy my fashion urges, I shop Rue La La for deals on designer clothing and accessories. They give members a $10 referral credit when new friends make a purchase. I recently built up referral credits and put them towards a Louis Vuitton bag.
Any last words for aspiring deal experts looking for those must have summer items?
Sometimes the best money-saving strategy is to avoid shopping altogether. I love finding deals, but my best frugal tip is to be happy with what you have and focus on people and experiences, not things. Get your spending in line with your priorities and you’ll always feel rich.
Like this interview? Check out the rest of our Interview with a Savings Expert series. Have a question for an expert or someone you want to see interviewed? Tweet your suggestions with #SavingsExperts to @CouponPal!