Tell us a bit about ThriftyNW Mom – How did you get started and how did your site grow?
Thrifty NW Mom is a site featuring the best online and in-store deals, free samples, grocery coupons, as well as ways to save on dining, entertainment and much more.
I started my site back in January 2009, just as a money-saving resource for my friends and family. I’ve always been a bargain hunter and I love to be able to share my great deals with others. So, I’d always email friends about great deals. I finally realized that it would be a lot easier if I just put my favorite deals in one location to share with people.
My site really grew just by word of mouth…friends would tell their friends and that’s the main way that it’s continued to grow. I’ve had a Thrifty NW Mom Facebook group, and then Fan page from the start of my blog and that’s really been the key to growing my site now as we continue build an active community of people who are interested in finding great deals, as well as sharing their best finds with the rest of us.
You obviously know a thing or two about getting great deals on a budget – What are your top 3 money-saving tips?
- My top money-saving tip is to really do your research ahead of time and know the price range for products that you’re most interested in. This applies to everything from couponing at the grocery store to buying technology items online. Use sites such as Bonus.com to compare prices for online products. There are even price-comparison applications on iPhone and Androids, so you can find the store (online or in-stores) with the best price. Or just do it the old-fashioned way – jot down prices as you find them in a notebook. By tracking prices, then you’ll know when you’ve spotted the best deal and you can act quickly. When buying online, the best deals often will be available for a limited time, so you need to act fast. Having done your research ahead of time, you will know when you spot the best deal and can feel confident when you purchase the item.
- Plan ahead – It’s never too early to start shopping for gifts for birthday, Christmas, Mother’s Day and more. Stores will be raising the prices as it gets closer to a holiday, so when you buy ahead, you can save a significant amount. Know a general time frame for when your favorite stores will be featuring clearance events and stock up on gifts, clothing, and more at that time. For example, Target will be having their semi-annual toy clearance event in the next few weeks, where select toys will be 50-75% off. This is the perfect time to stock up!
- Be willing to try new brands or products – When you’re more open to trying new products both in-stores and online, you’ll have many more options available with discounts and coupons for new products. Manufacturers are going to be promoting their new items through a variety of different promotions and discounts to get you more interested in trying out something new. This is a great way to discover new favorites, too!
How do you find out about the online deals you feature? What are some unique ways you have of finding out about great sales?
The best way to find out about special deals and discounts at your favorite stores is to sign up for their email newsletters. I am signed up for a number of e-newsletters from my favorite stores, so I’m the first to hear about any specials/coupons they may have online or in-stores.
I’ve also found that Facebook and Twitter have become great options for learning about 1 day deals, special promo codes, and more! For example, Babylegs (a favorite site of mine) features special discount deals on Tuesdays for Twitter (Twitter Tuesdays) and on Facebook on Fridays (Fantastic Fridays). By utilizing these resources from the companies themselves, I’ve been able to find some of the best bargains and it really saves me time as well by getting the information directly from the store.
Where are some of your favorite places to shop online?
I’d have to say Amazon.com is my top place to shop online. I love that I can use Swagbucks (from searching the web) to buy Amazon gift cards. Amazon also has some amazing deals, especially around the holidays. This past year, they really kept up with the Black Friday deals going on in the retail stores, by offering the same deals online and with free shipping. Amazon is where I scored one of my best-ever deals, too – a Britax Marathon car seat for around $65 (regularly $200 and up). A few other online favorites include Target, Old Navy, and Crocs, where they are always offering great discounts.
How do you balance mommyhood, life and maintaining an active blog, all while keeping up with the latest steals and deals?
Ahh, good question! This is the challenging part and I’m still trying to figure this out as I am a work at home mom with two young kiddos. Most important to me are my faith and my family, so I always prioritize my time around them first. This means that I do a lot of my research and blogging either in the early morning hours or late in the evening. Or during the rare nap times. Many of my best deals honestly come from my readers, too, so that saves me a lot of time and they often find the really unique, interesting deals!
Thank you Jen!