First Person

The queen of coupons

With her online community, How to Shop for Free, Boxford mom Kathy Spencer shows people how to save major money.

By Lylah M. Alphonse
August 14, 2009

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What made you think of saving money as a source of income?

A few years ago, my husband became very sick unexpectedly. In between trips to the doctors, I ran into the store to get some juice that was on sale for $1. I had three $1 coupons and that made it free. That’s when I started thinking, what if I had 10 coupons? What about 20? How much extra money would he make if he got a promotion versus how much money could I save us if I figured this all out?

And then you decided to share what you learned.

I started the Yahoo group because I was always being asked where the deals were that I was getting. I thought the group would be an easy way for me to keep all the info in one place so my friends, family, and online friends could see what and how I did what I did.

Now the Yahoo group, How to Shop for Free, has almost 3,900 members, and about 1,500 more follow you on Big Tent. What are these members learning?

We’ve had members go from spending $300 a week on food down to $40 in a matter of weeks. The trick is stockpiling; when it’s free or almost free, I say stockpile it.

Where do you get your coupons?

I get them from newspapers, grocery stores, manufacturers’ websites, printables, and even buy some on eBay.

So many coupons are for junk food. How do you keep a healthy diet and still save money?

There actually are lots of coupons for healthy food. Most organic food companies have coupons, too.

How much do you spend on groceries each week?

I spend under $10 a week. My average bill is $4, and occasionally I even go negative and have to add in a candy bar. I am married with four children age 3 to 18; I also have a dog, two cats, and a bunny, and they eat for free, too.

Is there really such a thing as a free lunch?

Absolutely. You can get free breakfast and supper, too!

  • August 16, 2009 cover
  • august 16 globe magazine cover
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