Published July 26, 2010
Karen from Koupon Karen is a wife and stay-at-home Rhode Island mom to two daughters. Karen started her blog as a way to teacher readers how to save money on everyday items in order to have more money for extra stuff, such as going on vacation or paying off bills.
Karen’s own journey into couponing began after her second daughter was born and her family found themselves in need of a new roof and car repairs. From that experience, Karen learned just how much money a family could save by using coupons and living frugally.
BeFrugal: How long has Koupon Karen been around? Your blog wasn’t always called Koupon Karen was it?
Karen: I originally started in August 2008 and it was called Frugal Rhode Island Mama. I decided in February of 2010 it needed a change. I didn’t blog about Rhode Island deals, and I think it was keeping my blog from growing, so I changed it to Koupon Karen. I’m very happy with my decision to change; it’s been a very positive change.
BeFrugal: Was it a difficult transition from turning something you do daily into a business?
Karen: It happened without me even realizing it. I figured maybe I could make a little money with my blog, but I had no idea how much I could make. And one day I was like wow this is a job now, but in a good way. I love it. I love that it’s mine and I can do what I want with it, and while I do feel obligated to my readers, if I need to take time off, I can. But I never leave them hanging!
BeFrugal: Are you a one woman show or do you have help?
Karen: I am a one women show, however I do have some blogging friends that help me out when I’m in need, like when I had my tonsils out in April and was pretty much offline for 3 days. They kept my readers busy with great deals.
I am thinking of hiring a friend to help me out in the fall when her son goes to Kindergarten, because with another set of hands, I can blog about so much more.
BeFrugal: What is a typical day for you mixing your personal life and running your online businesses?
Karen: I don’t really have a typical day; each one is different depending on what my children are doing and what needs to be done around the house. But it normally starts with me reading my emails while having my morning coffee, after I get my girls breakfast. I sometimes spend about 1 hour doing that and finding the new coupons for the day.
Then if my girls are home, I usually jump on and off all day long. I keep my laptop on and my phone with me, so I can check my email to see if there is anything I need to do right away. Then when the girls go to bed I will return emails or blog for the next day for a few hours.
On days they are in school (2 days a week right now) I will do any errands I have in the morning and then blog all afternoon. It’s easy to get more done while it’s quiet in the house. Some days it’s very difficult to juggle the two, but I do my best.
BeFrugal: Having had success saving money, what is the one area where most people can easily save more money?
Karen: You can easily save money on health & beauty items, and pretty much get a lot of them for FREE! If you shop the drug stores every week and use coupons along with their store incentives, you can get deodorant, shampoo/conditioner, razors, shaving cream, feminine products, toothpaste, toothbrushes, antacids, cold & pain meds, and so much more for either free or next to free.
It’s amazing how much you can save on just those items alone. Don’t grab them when you are grocery shopping, go to the drug stores and get them for a LOT less!
BeFrugal: In your opinion, what is the main reason most people pay more than they need to on many products?
Karen: I think the main reason that people pay more than they need to is because they don’t plan ahead and buy it on sale, they don’t use coupons, and they don’t have time to shop around. When time is of the essence the easy thing is to grab what you need when you need it.
BeFrugal: Are there any other projects that you are passionate about?
Karen: I love to scrapbook and preserve my family’s memories. However, since my blog really picked up, I have not had time to scrapbook. I really need to make it a priority again very soon, before I get too far behind.
BeFrugal: What are some of the most memorable deals you have found for your family?
Karen: I’ve found so many amazing deals, but mostly it’s what I get in the drug stores. I barely spend a dime each week and easily walk out of there with $20 or more worth of products. I get so many deals at the drug stores that I share all my finds with friends and family. They always ask me what I have before they go shopping.
BeFrugal: Just to enlighten our users we thought you may know the answer to this, being from Rhode Island. What the heck is a quahog and are they any good?
Karen: Quahogs are like clams, and depending on the size they have different names. The smallest ones are little necks and most people eat these raw, right out of the water (not me!). Then there are cherrystones which are a little bit bigger, and the biggest ones are chowders, which are obviously the clams that are usually found in chowder. But really, that’s all they are. Each has its own taste, or so I’m told.
I don’t eat any of them, but that’s just me. I know plenty of people who eat them all!
****End of Interview****
To hear more deal-saving advice from Karen and to stay up to date on the best coupons and freebies out there, be sure to check out Karen’s blog Koupon Karen.