Sarah Roe started clipping coupons and hunting for deals in 2005, when her son was diagnosed with life-threatening allergies, and finding the right food and saving money for medicine became crucial. Since then, she's become one of the foremost experts in saving while shopping on the web, detailing what she finds on MoneySavingQueen.com.
Sarah spoke with us about finding deals, cashing them in, and how to save money without clipping a coupon.
Your site is packed with deals. How do you find them?
It takes a lot of time to find "post-worthy" deals. For the most part, I scour the Internet looking at my own favorite sites and find deals that way. The best way though is from our readers, most of readers either post deals on our Facebook page or email them in for us to post.
What makes a good deal? What do you look for?
Typically, I look for 50% off or more. The only time I post one that has less percentage off is if it is a rare deal. Otherwise, I'd like to see 50% or more discounted from the item.
Conversely, what's a bad deal? Do any retailers try to pull tricks?
Sales and coupons are marketing tactics; knowing that, I would say yes, retailers pull tricks. The knowledge is power in that area. I teach my readers to recognized when they're being hit with a marketing tactic and take the time to see if it is really a good deal or not. Many states offer a "Tax-Free Weekend," including my own state, on it's face, that is not a good deal (you're only saving about 8%), but if you add a sale and/or coupons to it, then it's a great deal. Really, it is all about knowing the strategy of smart shopping and doing your research.
If you show up with a coupon and it gets rejected, what should you do?
First, listen to the reason why it is being rejected. Sometimes we overreact and could actually be in the wrong; that has happened to me before. Now, I listen to what the cashier has to say, and if I believe he/she is wrong then I ask for a manager. If it is still rejected, then I ask to put the item back. No reason to cause a scene.
What apps do you use when deal-hunting?
There are plenty of coupon apps out there, but my favorite is ibotta. It is easy to use, and I don't have to mess with clipping anything if I don't want to. I also use Target Cartwheel app and have text alert coupons from Target on my phone. Those are super easy to use and the savings really add up!
What's the best money-saving tip you've ever found?
There are more ways to save than just using coupons. For example, if you plan your menu around the weekly sales flyers at your local stores, you will save up to 50% without ever clipping a coupon. I think that is one of the best and easiest tips I know - it also takes away the excuse of "I just don't have time to coupon." Living on a budget is a lifestyle, and it's not limited to just coupons.