Coupons & Budgeting – Lauren Greutman, I Am That Lady Interview
I have been connected with Lauren Greutman of I Am That Lady for a couple of years but actually only met her in person last spring. She’s a lovely person and very talented and definitely knows how to make her money work for her. She’s co-hosted a local Syracuse TV show off and on for a couple of years called Bridge Street and still does financial segments here and there. She has a book coming out soon called Budgeting That Works so look out for that.
1. What were the circumstances that got you into the need to learn how to save money and make money go further?
In 2006 my husband and I were in $40,000 worth of debt, underwater in our mortgage, and were running a deficit of $1,000 per month. I learned how to save money out of necessity because we needed to do something to keep ourselves from going bankrupt. We learned how to set a successful budget, use coupons, and basically lived on the bare minimum for 3 years.
2. How did you figure out which way you were going to go?
We didn’t have a choice. At that time we only had 1 child and there were weeks where we didn’t have grocery money. We were living in a very expensive house but were BROKE!
3. When did you figure out that you could turn it into a business?
I started teaching coupon seminars in 2008 when we were living in Charlotte, NC. We moved back to NY in 2009 and when we got back so many people were asking me how I fed my family on $50 per week. I taught one seminar here (central New York) and there were so many people who wanted to learn more. I started iamthatlady.com to help people and to make a little extra cash.
It wasn’t until a year later that it really took off and I started making good money from it. I realized that I could make a living doing something that I loved to do – teach people how to get out of debt and handle money the right way. I wish I’d had someone there to walk me through every step of the way, so that is my passion right now.
4. Do you have sponsors that alert you to different types of savings or is it a lot of research on your part?
I do a lot of research and also skim through hundreds of email from companies every day. I get pitched over a hundred times daily and I skim through those and find what my readers like the best and what I think will help them save money.
5. I know you of course because you’re local, but I assume you’re known pretty well by many around the country. Have you visited other markets and taught people how they can do what you do?
I have been to California, Albany NY, and of course Charlotte too. My readers are 30% local and 70% national, so I do get asked to speak all over the place.
6. Did you have to get used to eating different types of foods and buy different brands of clothing to take advantage of the best savings opportunities?
Yes, I had to learn how to not be brand loyal. I would buy whatever I could find a good deal on and make it taste good Surprisingly I was finding good deals on things were were already eating, so when I found that deal I would buy a few of them.
7. On this blog I offer lots of advice on making small changes to save money on things. Are small changes enough or do some people need a radical thinking adjustment to be able to take advantage of learning how to save money on products so they can save money overall?
I think small changes lead to bigger changes. For instance, when I first started to use coupons that was a small change that led to a larger change. Because I had just spent 2 hrs planning a shopping trip to save $75.00, I was less likely to stop at Target and buy some clothes that I didn’t need or have money for. It helped me make a larger change in my budget and spending because I started to think about where my money was going.
8. What do you think the biggest misconceptions are when it comes to coupons, discounts, and saving money on things overall?
I think the biggest misconception about coupons is that they are for unhealthy foods only. It is true that there are less healthy coupons out there, but they are out there. I think meal planning is a much better way to save money when trying to eat healthy. I eat gluten free for medical reasons and still manage to use coupons and save 50% off my grocery bill every week.
9. I talk budgeting here often but for some reason those posts don’t seem to do well. Why do you think people avoid budgeting so much and how do you get them to face the reality of just how important it is?
I think people avoid budgeting because it’s hard and uncomfortable. I have a saying, “When the pain of being broke is greater than the pain of changing your financial situation, then you make a budget.” Many people wait until it’s too late to start budgeting, but the great thing is that if they start now they don’t have to be dead broke in a year.
Saying no to yourself when making purchases is HARD, but I think that my example of our family speaks volumes. Because we budgeted and sacrificed so much for 5 years my husband was able to quit his job and come home and work with me on the blog – that never would have happened if we never budgeted. Budgeting actually gives you freedom, instead of the restriction that many people feel it places on them.
10. This is your moment; tell us about you, your business, your videos, and your new book and where people can get it.
I am a mother of 4 children under the age of 8. My husband Mark and I run the blog I Am That Lady. I put on money saving seminars across New York State as well as teach at blogging seminars about how to be a professional blogger. Blogging supports our family of 6 and we are passionate about helping people change their financial futures. Our tagline is “Helping you enjoy life on a budget” and we really want people to learn how to do that. We have an ebook coming out March 1st called ‘Budgeting That Works’, which comes with 2 FREE customizable budgeting spreadsheets, a 10 day email course, a live webinar Q&A sessions with Mark and me and much more.