Meet Tara

Tara’s expertise on Fabulesslyfrugal.com… is teaching Washington Coupon Classes. I love to teach anything to anyone who wants to learn! I find anyone can learn anything as long as it’s explained in a language they can understand with concepts that mean something to them. I get a thrill in finding their “language” and getting to witness that ah-ha moment on people’s faces when they “get it”. (Especially when it’s explaining how to stack coupons, sales and catalina promos!) In 2010 friends started asking me to teach them how to coupon. So I created my own version of a coupon class and began teaching at local libraries and moms groups. Although I did mention other local blogs, I always came back to Fabulessly Frugal as my blog of choice! So in the fall of 2011, I contacted Cathy and Monica and asked if they’d ever thought of expanding their teaching capabilities by adding more instructors. And here I am!!

What else do I enjoy teaching? I love teaching older generations how to use their computers/phones/etc. I love teaching my girlfriends how to use the sewing machine they got as a wedding gift years ago, but never used. I love teaching Financial Peace University and giving people the tools they need to become and live debt free. We took the course 4 years ago and it changed our marriage and our family’s future forever. Two years ago I joined the leadership team that offers the course at my church and now I am the coordinator! I hear people tell me all the time that they have one of Dave Ramsey’s books or have thought about doing the course online. I tell them that nothing beats having to physically show up to a class each week and share in a small group how your homework went. It is so rewarding to see the changes that are made in the families by the end of the session!

The most frugal thing Tara has ever done is… I honestly can’t think of one that out does them all. I find ways to do everything frugally! My most current frugal challenge though is my Weight Watchers membership. No one ever told me, once you hit your goal weight (which you determine by the way!) and you are within 2 lbs of that weight each month, you get your membership for free that month! When I heard that, it was my new motivation to hit and maintain my goal. Free is always fun – then add to it being healthy – it’s a WIN-WIN!

Tara’s frugal fashion tips… I’ve gotten some of my best fashion direction from my husband, believe it or not! I’ve never been a fad follower; it’s too expensive to buy clothes I’ll only wear one season! :) Although I’m getting better at dressing in the same decade at least! I’m a jeans girl. I enjoy occasionally “playing dress up”, but I do love my jeans! I’d have to say the best advice I ever got was once you feel good in your skin, you’ll look great in your clothes.

Tara’s favorite place to shop online… For new stuff, probably Amazon, because it gathers so many different stores into one. AND, because I can get “generic” Amazon gift cards at Albertson’s twice year and get free groceries! (That’s usually how I buy diapers – get a $100 Amazon card with the money budgeted for diapers, get $20 worth of free groceries AND cheap diapers!) But if I’m really looking for a bargain online, I go to craigslist, I really don’t like paying retail! :)

Every family size can coupon… This seems like it’s always evolving! Our family has two adults, two kiddos, and a dog. But between the two kids alternating growth spurts or going through food jags, I never know what to cook or shop for! Which is the nicething about having a well-rounded stockpile, you’re bound to find something that someone will eat!!

Wanna know how much Tara spends on groceries each month… it used to be just under $300/mo but we’ve recently changed some of our eating preferences/habits and will be evaluating what it will do to our grocery budget over the next few months. I am learning how to make higher quality meals without the higher price, and for a “free box of whatever” kind of shopper, it’s a big change! We’re buying a lot of things in bulk and sharing it among family members so that will be a change to my normal “stockpiling” routine. I actually missed out on the Quaker sale this year, but got my oats in bulk and saved a ton! One note I always include in my coupon classes: It’s not a good deal if you can’t afford it! I stress the importance of a solid budget. If you don’t tell your money where to go, it will tell you where to go.

Tara doesn’t always use coupons… but I am always frugal!! I have to account for my time as an expense and sometimes it is “cheaper” to just buy that big ‘ol package of toilet paper at Costco and not have to watch for sales and coupons on smaller quantities. I also buy in bulk – like a 50lb bag of oats or 25lb bag of brown rice – and share them with family & friends. I may not use coupons for it but I get a sweet deal!!

Tara realized she was addicted to couponing when… I created a spreadsheet to track my spending/savings (before that was the cool thing to do!) and started taking photos of my grocery trips. Only addicts do that!

Do you think Tara would still coupon if she had 1 million dollars? I think I’ll always be a bargain shopper – it’s in my blood! I wouldn’t be frivolous with my money (you don’t get and keep a million dollars by being frivolous!) but I would probably scale things back a bit. I’ll still look forward to doubles!

Tara’s favorite thing to stockpile… I love having salad dressing and olives on hand. Those are two things that we seem to run out of when there’s not a good sale going on or an applicable coupon! The whole point behind stockpiling!

How Tara learned about couponing… I saw a news segment on TV that introduced a fee-based program that helped people to coupon. I didn’t know about coupon blogs at the time and started my subscription. I still can’t believe I paid for the “service” for a year! Then, a couple of gals came to my MOPS group and explained how to coupon using blogs and I was hooked! AND, a little bothered that no one had told me about couponing with a blog before! Which is why I teach!

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