I have been pretty much couponing my entire adult life and most of my teen years (started when I was 15). Along the way, I would try to teach others the value in that piece of paper-as well as the value in shopping sales in their cycles, using stores that doubled and stores that used Store Coupons as well and so on. So, when Social Media (Facebook and Twitter) became really popular, it was Heaven for me! Finally, I realized I wasn’t the only one who shopped this way and immediately started following blogs and picking and sorting between my favorite ones. I soon began sharing the posts and deals I was finding myself and those from Blogs and flooding my personal Facebook page with deals I was finding. I think I was getting on a lot of my friends nerves because I was constantly posting a freebie I had found.
I secretly thought: I could do what they are doing. I know how to do matchups. I know how to recognize a freebie. But, there’s no way I can afford to start my own site. I have no idea how to design a page. I have no idea about Domain Names and what I would even call it. Plus, I was working 40 hours a week, had 2 kids a husband and very little free time as it was. So, I did what I thought was a Happy Medium. I created another Profile on Facebook (Michele Dealsforyou) in which I could still post all of the freebies, deals and matchups I knew of-without irritating my personal friends. If someone was a Friend of mine on there-it was because they wanted to see the deals and I could keep my personal life personal-and still help others save money too!! Then, I got a Friend Request from someone who had heard about me from someone who was a Friend on Facebook. She wanted to know if I could give her detailed ins and outs for shopping-without charging her for it. Ummm, back up a minute. That’s right-if I could share the info without charging her for it. Why would I charge for it? I had been sharing tips, matchups and so on for months for free. I basically assumed all of the deal blogs were free and if they weren’t, there are so many that are-why would anyone pay for it? I admit, I was taken aback. I had never even thought about charging for face to face lessons before so I was completely shocked. Of course, I would meet with her and help her for free.
So, we met up at KFC and had lunch on my lunch break and I got the scoop from her. There were a couple of individuals who were teaching Coupon Classes in town and were charging for it. Somewhere in the neighborhood of $15 for a Beginner’s Class; $15 for an Advanced Class; $10 for the Walgreens Class; $10 for the Target Class and $10 for the Kroger Class. Don’t quote me on the exact costs because that really isn’t the point. However, you do the math. It’s quite a bit of money for people at the time that were considering this to be their hope for being able to keep food on the table in their homes. The really sad thing is-one of the women that was teaching the classes had been pretty good friends with me for a long time. In fact, I had given her almost all of the information she was now using to teach the Kroger portion of the class. So, I was torn between wanting to stay friends with her and wanting to help someone whom I thought was very nice and legitimately wanted and needed my help. She had already paid for 3 of the classes and didn’t want to spend any more money and didn’t really feel like she had learned enough from them to invest any more money into it. In my heart, I knew I had to help her.
Another week passed and another phone call. This time, my new friend had asked me if I would be willing to teach a coupon class with her. She had gotten a facility free of charge and food would be provided and so on. Sounded good to me. I could do a one time class to help others in my community out. Didn’t exactly turn out that way. The series of events basically went down like this: The other Coupon Teachers raised a stink with the Group that was going to pay for all of the supplies for the class, snacks, refreshments, binders with the class notes in it and so on and they felt compelled to no longer sponsor the class. However, the two women did offer a discount to let them pay to have them teach the class instead. Anyone who knows me well knew that sent my blood boiling. I then felt it was my mission to get the class done. So, Jamie (my new friend and organizer of said event) and I put together Matchups, found plenty of freebies and raided our stockpiles to put together the class. My husband and kids worked with me for 6 hours to put together the materials for the class.
The class went pretty well all considering up until then I had always been behind a computer screen instead of in front of 200 eyeballs scrutinizing my every syllable-all without Air Conditioning in 100 July Arkansas weather!! I was immediately asked when we could hold more classes and that’s basically where it went from there. We held classes and relied on donations accepted at the classes to help fund the next class. At one time, we were doing classes every other week-some more than 2 hours away!! It was amazing to me how many people really wanted to learn how to shop using coupons…
I bet you wanted to know where the whole Blog came into the picture? Almost there-I promise. Remember the Coupon Teachers who charged upwards of $50+ to learn how to shop like a pro? Well, they had been doing pretty well locally so they decided to take their Show on the Road. They decided to start a Website dedicated to Matchups-all for the low cost of $10 per month (to save you hundreds)! Remember my blood boiling? It was doing it again!! Not necessarily because they were going to charge for it. (Honestly, people should at least research that and know you can find it at hundreds of other sites-for FREE!!) My main issue was: by this time, I knew what Affiliate programs were (that will be another Lesson) and knew they would also be earning money that way. When I questioned one of the women about why they would charge when so many others didn’t. I was told it was because of how much it was going to cost them to start up their site and maintain it and blah, blah, blah. I knew the Start Up Date for their site and knew I had to do something quick. I had to figure out if it was really that much money and how to continue helping those locally who needed it.
So, I set out to figure it out. I am by no means a computer wizard and didn’t have money to hire someone who was. So, I went to my favorite sites and blogs and looked them over. I then looked at the bottoms of all of their pages to see who did their Web Hostings, Designs and so on. I found that a lot of them used WordPress. So, I Googled WordPress (you will find me saying that a lot on this Journey) and what do you know?! They offered a FREE Web Hosting option!! Nothing really fancy and I did have to agree to a bunch of things-like not being incentivized (basically at that time I couldn’t use Affiliate links according to their terms-again another Lesson). Whatever, no problem. I just wanted to be able to do Matchups, help others and-prove a point. I did need to pay a very small yearly fee of less than $10 for my Domain Name (unless I wanted to worry about someone buying it up on any given day). So, what would my name be. I pondered over it pretty hard for about a day. Every name that seemed decent to me was already taken on Facebook as a Page and I wanted to be able to be the only one. I wanted when someone said: “X’s Facebook Page” they would know which one. I wanted Money Saving Mom but that was already taken. I followed another Page “Money Saving Mindy” and thought that was really neat and my name (Michele) is spelled differently so that would set me apart…and guess what-not far enough apart because she is already out there too!! Then I happened to look up at my Facebook Profile: Michele Dealsforyou and thought about how I am always looking out for Deals of all sorts. Not just groceries, clothes or household items. I look for Deals for Everything and am always coming up with creative ways to earn stuff for FREE!! That was it…Money Saving Deals was born.
Everyday, I am learning something new and hopefully, over the next few weeks, I will get to share with you just how much and how I did learn it!!
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