One of the reasons I just adore social media is the opportunity it gives me to meet some really interesting, creative and inspiring people. My recent meeting with Cindy Livesey is case in point. She followed me on Instagram about a month or so ago and her profile caught my eye. I had to find out what this spunky, pixie-haired @LivingRichwithCoupons gal was all about.
I noticed that she mentioned ShopRite quite a bit and thought, “Hey, she may be a Jersey girl.” Sure enough, not only does she live and work in New Jersey but our offices are in neighboring towns. After a quick look at her insanely popular website, I had to meet her.
A few back and forth calls later and we were sitting across from one another at the Danish Café in Red Bank, me devouring a melt-in-your-mouth cheese danish (OMG) and Cindy a nice size hunk of blueberry cake. Within an hour and a half, I was bursting at the seams with all the details from her background story and tons of money-saving ideas. Her energy and enthusiasm for saving and living on a budget is truly infectious.
Cindy describes her life BC (before couponing) as one of “living beyond our means.” She lived with her husband and three kids in Livingston at the time and said she was “buying whatever I wanted” and “just making the minimum payments on our credit cards.” Then her husband lost his job. She was working part-time at a job that didn’t pay much and now she had to figure out how to survive with less money—a lot less.
He first step was to put her family on a budget, which meant tracking their spending. After a month of saving receipts and looking at where the money was going, she couldn’t believe how much of it was covering groceries.
Cindy started clipping coupons and looking for deals to match them with so she could maximize her savings. She researched ways to save online and started putting even more tactics into her couponing strategy. After a while, friends and family were asking her for advice so Cindy decided to blog about her weekly saving scores.
From her humble blog beginnings to today’s massive LivingRichWithCoupons.com (and her book of the same name), she certainly turned the lemons of her family’s financial struggle into lemonade (and probably had a coupon for it). Cindy has appeared on The Rachael Ray Show a total of 6 times and has been interviewed and quoted in numerous publications including the Asbury Park Press, Yahoo News, Huffington Post, US News and Everyday with Rachael Ray.
There’s a science and a system to maximizing your couponing, as I have learned. It involves filing your coupons and pairing them with great deals, then stacking coupons, and, well, it can get a little confusing and intimidating. That’s where Cindy’s website comes in. She now has 16 employees who do all the heavy lifting for you. Oh, and did I mention her website is free to use? The whole operation is supported by ad revenue. Just what the frugal shopper wants to hear, right?
Since I’m a ShopRite and CVS shopper, I asked Cindy to give us the inside scoop on couponing at my favorite stores. Here’s the lowdown.
- You can use a digital coupon with a manufacturer coupon. A lot of times you can get items for free by stacking those offers.
- ShopRite from Home allows you to stack promo offers and they track right on the ShopRite from Home site so you can see which offers you have qualified for.
- Scan your Extra Care card at the price scanner machine for CVS Coupons. Scan it twice for even more savings. These coupons can be stacked with manufacturers’ coupons.
- Take advantage of Extra Bucks offers that allow you to get “money” back (in the form of ExtraCare Bucks) when making a qualifying purchase. Many times this can result in getting items for free or super cheap.
- CVS is a great place to get started with couponing because it’s easy and the deals are limited. You can stock up on your health and beauty care items, household items, and paper goods fairly quickly and easily.
- Sign up for the CVS Beauty Bucks rewards program. It’s free to join and allows you to rack up even more rewards on top of the weekly promotions they run.