Thrifty Caldwell Mom Saves Money
By Tabitha Simenc Idaho Press-Tribune
CALDWELL — A Caldwell stay-at-home mother of four works hard to maintain a thrifty lifestyle and, like many others locally, uses coupons to save money.
Sarah Barrand works hard to clip coupons and monitor deals to save 80 percent to 90 percent on her groceries each month. In September her grocery bill totaled $190.64 for $1,730.48 worth of groceries for her family of six.
Barrand began using coupons to stick to the family’s limited budget, which was initially caused by credit card debt that had to be paid off and continued with her son needing extensive medical care for a heart condition that resulted in 14 surgeries.
“I bought the things that were at their lowest price point with coupons,” she said. “I would stock up on those items, then I would not need to purchase those items for several weeks.”
How to save more
Combining manufacturer coupons with in-store coupons and sales allowed Barrand to drastically reduce her grocery bills.
“I think that the trick is, you can honestly find the best deals at any stores,” Barrand said. “I shop at stores that welcome coupon shoppers … That’s where I’m able to get the best deals for my money.”
She said that she stocks up on pantry staples when she can get them at a low price, to avoid spending more money later on when she needs the items. For example, she was recently able to buy hot cocoa for 10 cents per box, so she brought enough for the whole winter and will not have to buy anymore this year at around $2 per box.
She compared coupon shopping to trading stock on the stock market. Strategy with stock is to buy it at the lowest price point, not just what stock seems appealing, she said, and that is a good strategy to apply to grocery shopping too.
“As the economy turned, I saw so many people lose their jobs and they couldn’t afford to feed their family,” she said. “I knew a way to feed my family inexpensively.”
Sharing the wealth
Barrand decided to share this knowledge with others to help them save money too on her website.
“My website is basically a one-stop shop for thrifty living resources,” Barrand said. “We do the hard work and try to match all the coupons to the deals.”
Barrand said shopping with coupons can be overwhelming and so she gives all the information on her site to help first time coupon shoppers. She updates the site daily with information about the best coupon deals.
Barrand and her husband Matt founded the Web site in February 2009. The site has close to four million views as of this month.
The site is different from other coupon Web sites because it has a local focus, Barrand said. She tries to show how the coupons affect her family, shows her shopping trips to purchase coupon items and explains step by step how the discounts work.
“We’ll find deals that are pretty much localized just to the Idaho stores,” she said. “We actually go out and make sure the deals work.”
Sarah Barrand’s website is aThriftyMom.com