Founder of CouponMom.com - over 2 million members belong to her free grocery deals website
Featured in the media, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Today, and Good Morning America, The New York Times, Ladies' Home Journal and The Seattle Times
Worked in sales and marketing with both Procter & Gamble and Marriott Hotels
Degree in Finance
Stephanie Nelson, The Coupon Mom
THE COUPON MOM
After graduating from college with a major in finance, Stephanie worked for 10 years in sales and marketing for Procter & Gamble and the Marriott hotel chain. In 1995, Stephanie and her husband decided that she would leave the corporate world to take care of their two small children.
“My quitting the corporate world meant our income would be cut in half, so I knew I was actually taking on two new roles: Stay-at-home mom and CEO of our family budget,” remarks Stephanie. It was then that she realized her family budget needed some serious cutting!
She had to find a way to slash costs without sacrificing nutrition. She determined that decreasing what she spent on groceries would have a significant impact on their overall budget. She was right.
Stephanie began cruising the grocery store aisles with clipboard in hand to record prices. Along the way, she learned how sales cycles worked and when to buy. She began to plan her family meals around coupons and deals. She began to master the ways of combining sales, coupons, promotions, and rebates.
Eventually, she was able to buy many items for pennies and sometimes for nothing at all. Her strategic shopping strategies allowed her to not only dramatically reduce the cost of her own family’s grocery bills, but also to give back to the less fortunate. After adopting a local food pantry as a “family member”, Stephanie started shopping for the charity as part of her weekly shopping for her family. By using coupons and store promotions she learned to spot bargains and free items that would make great donations. An idea was born, Stephanie called it “Cut Out Hunger".
In 2001, she launched the Cut Out Hunger website. In 2005, they changed the site name to CouponMom.com. “By using the tips and strategies we discuss on CouponMom.com, it’s possible to cut your grocery bill in half and feed needy people in your community as well,” says Stephanie.
CouponMom.com is committed to helping consumers save money (in many areas, including groceries, restaurants, online shopping, gifts, and entertainment). Her website is the only site in its category that is free to users, is the largest grocery savings website on the Internet, and has over two million members. Members of CouponMom.com have donated tons of food to hunger organizations in their communities. In 2004, the Coca Cola company honored the Cut Out Hunger program by selecting Stephanie to be a torch runner in their Athens 2004 Olympic Torch Relay.
THE SCIENCE OF SAVINGS
Stephanie says, “The key to saving money on groceries is not changing the way you eat; it is changing the way you buy the food that you like.” She shares how “Strategic Shopping” is based on the following three principles.
- Know Prices – Become familiar with the price ranges for the items you buy most regularly. This knowledge helps you recognize a deal when the item is discounted, or when you have a coupon.
- Know Store Savings Programs – Each store has its own savings programs and policies. It’s up to you to educate yourself about stores’ savings programs and policies.
- Know Coupons – If you are aware of the coupons you have they are like legal currency. But, if you lose them, forget they are there until they expire, or accidently trash them they’ve just slips of paper. Stephanie says you can make a serious impact on your grocery bill by knowing how to go directly to the coupon you need for any shopping trip.
WHAT KIND OF SHOPPER ARE YOU?
“We’re all different, and our shopping styles are all different,” says Stephanie. Who you are as a shopper can have a big impact on how much you spend whether you are a dedicated coupon clipper trying to feed a large family or a busy professional cooking one or two nights a week.
- If you are a Busy Shopper you’re juggling a lot and have barely enough time to get to the store, much less chart a course for everthing you’ll do once you get there. Stephanie can help this shopper plan a trip to the grocery store in 5 minutes, and help save this busy shopper 20 – 25 percent off full-price groceries as a result. For example, if you check the meat markdown bins for same day meal options, you can save 50 percent or more.
- If you are a Rookie Shopper you’re interested in savings strategies but want to get better. Rookie Shoppers who will spend 30 minutes planning a trip to the grocery store can end up saving 40 – 50 percent. For example, plan you family’s meals around weekly store bargains.
- If you are a Varsity shopper you’re already familiar with store sales and coupons, and you don’t mind spending an hour to plan your shopping for the week. A longer prep time can result in your grocery bill being chopped by 60 – 70 percent.
Stephanie says the busy, rookie and varsity shopper all have the potential to get more out of their grocery dollars if strategic shopping methods are applied. Her latest book, The Coupon Mom’s Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bills in Half, demonstrates all of the tricks of the trade-beyond coupons and tailor-made for a variety of shopper lifestyles.
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