Friday, March 19, 2010

Guess what today is?

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A year ago today, I wrote my very first Utah Deal Diva blog post!

365 days and 2,190 posts later, here I am. Still passing along deals and enjoying it so much more than I ever imagined!

My husband and I were thinking about what life was like a year ago. He had just been laid off and we were both stressed out, to say the least. You can read the whole story here if you'd like. We'd always been pretty frugal and I'd used coupons for years, so in an effort to distract myself from the emotional struggle that losing our main source of income presented, I decided to start a blog.

And Utah Deal Diva was born.

The only reason it's still going strong is of course, because of all of you. I really appreciate the fact that so many of you take time out of your lives to visit my site each day. So here's a huge, heartfelt--Thank you. {Check back Monday for a more elaborate expression of my gratitude!}

To celebrate tonight, we're taking the family out to dinner! {Don't worry, we have a coupon!}

To have a little fun online though, I thought I'd open up a Q&A session to you all. If you have any questions for me- whether they're related to saving money or not, leave a comment and I'll update this post throughout the weekend, as the questions roll in.

Again-- thank you. And Happy Birthday Utah Deal Diva!

Q: Do you ever splurge? And if so, what do you splurge on?
A: Hmmm...this is tough. I bought 2 shirts and 2 skirts at the mall about a month ago. All were on sale, but no coupons. I felt like that was a splurge. But my mom told me to buy stuff for myself at least a few times a year, so my justification is, "my mom told me to do it."

Splurging is a lot different now than when I was in college. It's now researched and carefully planned. Not sure if that counts as splurging or not!

Q: How much time do you spend on the computer each day?!
A: It really varies. I'd say anywhere from 1-6 hours each day. However, that time is really broken up- 30 minutes in the morning, 1.5 hours while my 2 youngest kids nap, 1 hour after every one has gone to sleep, etc. Sometimes time really gets away from me- I'll sit down to answer a few emails and before long, it's been 2 hours! I try to limit it to about 15-20 hours a week doing UDD stuff.

It could easily be a full time job! I decided several months ago though to just do what I could, and not worry about keeping up with all the other millions of blogs out there.

Q: Does this blog support your family? Has financial success been an added bonus of having such a popular blog?


A: When I first started blogging, I understood it had the potential to make our family some extra money, which it does. We took a nice pay cut when my husband got his new job, so it is nice to have the added income, but it's far from providing for our family! Early on, I decided to focus on good content for this site, as opposed to heavy monetizing. I do offer deals that I get compensated for, but I do my best to make sure they're legitimate, relevant offers that I feel would be a good fit for my readers.
 
Overall though, I'd say blogging has brought in a decent part-time income.
 
Q: Have you ever calculated how much you spend on ink and paper printing out coupons? I've had to buy ink so much lately because I'm printing coupons. How do you buy your ink? I assume you do refills. Where and how much?
 
A: I buy all my ink online. Read this article, it will give you some ideas as to what I do to save money. I do some serious heavy printing on a regular basis. I print off all the supplies and handouts for the free coupon classes I teach, which really adds up! Altogether though, I spend $50 every 4 months on several ink cartridges for my Canon printer. I use about one $2 ream of paper every other month. It averages out to about $14 each month, which I'd say 50% of that is for coupon printing. I normally print only the coupons that are really high value or the ones I realistically intend to use. In my Smith's trip this week, I redeemed over $40 in manufacturers coupons, $24 of that were printable coupons. So yes, I think it's cost effective!

Q: What are your favorite couponing websites to visit?

A: Isn't it obvious?! ;) Here are a few I really like: Money Saving Mom, Common Sense with Money, and if I ever want to see the 10 latest and greatest deals on the web, I visit Hip2Save because chances are, she's posted them all in the last hour! That girl is an animal! ;)

Q: How do you file/store your coupons?

A: I've had several methods over the years. You can see my current method for storing and organizing here. I suggest people begin couponing using the Clipless Method simply because with so many coupons available each week, it's difficult for newbies to decide which ones to clip! Then, once you clip them, you have to somehow organize them! So I recommend not clipping any for at least a few months, until you get better at knowing which ones will likely create a great deal.

My binder is pretty different than most other couponers who have been doing this for a while. First of all, it's only 1.5"! I cut about 30%-40% of coupons total. I don't believe in cutting each and every coupon. I have them all in my file at home, if I ever want to access some I didn't clip. As far as finding great deals at the store and not having my coupon on hand? If I didn't clip it, I probably didn't need the item in the first place!

29 comments:

Amy said...

Happy, Happy Birthday Utah Deal Diva!!! I love you! Jessica,I attended a couponing class of yours 5 or 6 months ago and it has changed my life. THANK YOU for helping me learn to control my budget!! I used to have no control. I really owe ya.

Catherine said...

Happy Birthday. I love your blog and appreciate the time and effort you put into it.

vickiemariko said...

Utah Deal Diva changed my life! I have always been frugal with my money, but you changed my entire outlook, especially when it comes to couponing. Thank You Thank You!! My question for you is... Do you ever splurge? And if so, what do you spluge on?

The Smith Family said...

Happy Birthday! I LOVE LOVE LOVE your site and check it about a million times a day! I hope you know how appreciated you are! Here's my question...how much time do you spend on the computer each day?!?!?!?! Thanks! Janelle

Kori said...

Wow! I can't believe you have only been doing this for a year, I never would have guessed! A very happy birthday!!! I just read the story of why you started your blog - your situation sounds almost identical to what we went through. I didn't learn about couponing until after my husband secured a new job, but the lessons we learned during the unemployment and everything I've learned since then about coupons have made us so much better prepared for the future. Thank you for helping us find those great deals! I SO appreciate it!!!

Heather said...

Congratulations! I've learned so much from you, Jessica! You are great!

The Simple Country Chick said...

Thank you for taking all the time to post all these amazing freebies and deals. I really appreciate it and look forward to it. Happy Birthday Utah Deal Diva and again Thank You!

Anonymous said...

That's funny! Today is my Birthday too!
I didn't realize that UDD had the same birthday as me :) I'm 40 today.
Happy Birthday to both of us! LOL!
Sure appreciate all of the great posts and advice this past year.
Kim in Cali

Candice (Mot) said...

Happy Birthday!
My question is, have you ever calculated how much you spend on ink and paper printing out coupons?? I've had to buy ink so much lately because I'm printing coupons.
How do you buy your ink? I assume you do refills. Where and how much?

Katie said...

Happy 1st Birthday!! I too am one of the many that check your blog several times a day and can't thank you enough for the wonderful work you do to bring such great deals to our attention. You have helped us save money in so many ways. Thank you for all your hard work and Happy Birthday again!!

Lacey said...

You just mentioned that this website could be a full time job. My question is: Does this blog support your family? Has financial success been an added bonus of having such a popular blog?

Love you UDD!

Kristen said...

Congrats on your "Blogiversary!" I attended your class last fall and it has been a 180 for me in the way I shop! I used to grab anything off the shelf without even thinking twice! (And then wonder why I had no money!) And guess what I did today? Got cleaning supplies for .14 cents a bottle with a sale/coupon/rebate! GO ME!

Thanks for all you do!

Stephers said...

Happy happy birthday UDD! I just got some free pasta today and read this blog all the time. THANK YOU for all the time you put in!

Chel said...

Thanks for all your hard work! I love this blog!

Colleen said...

I loved reading your story, very inspiring! I would have thought you'd been doing this for years! I love all the things on your blog along with the "deals" like the bread recipe and the food storage! I love visiting your site everyday! I look forward to what pops up next! Thanks for all you do, I hope you keep doing it a long time... I'll be doing it along with you!

Konie said...

I love your blog! I am glad to hear that you research the info you post, I have worried a little about it and now I won't. (My Smith's savings was 73% today and I got 71 items for about $0.65 a peice!) My question is - How far north will you travel to teach classes? Thanks and Happy Birthday:)

Anonymous said...

Here's a question. What are your favorite couponing websites to visit? Is that how you find out about all of your great coupons and deals?

Nikki said...

Thank you for all your hard work! I love your blog!! My deep, heartfelt thanks goes to YOU!!!

Jill said...

Happy Birthday! I appreciate your hard work posting great deals for all of us in Utah. My question: How do you file/store your coupons? If you do the clipless method and store the weekly ads in a file box, clipping only according to ads, don't you just want to kick yourself when you see a deal and don't have the coupon with you?

Megan said...

Happy Birthday! I am amazed at your talent to blog, be an awesome mommy, coupon, grocery shop, do all that yummy cooking and baking, teach coupon classes, etc... Wow!! You are so inspiring!! Thank You Thank You for putting yourself out there for us all.

Melissa said...

Love your blog!!! You've saved me a ton of money, when I haven't had a lot! THANK YOU!

Heidi Gail Richhart said...

Happy Birthday Utah Deal Diva!! also is there a Ben and Jerry's here in Utah anywhere?

Anonymous said...

I have always clipped coupons, but have not ventured into the printable ones. I am really thinking of starting..what printer do you use and what printer ink supply do you use so you do not go broke while printing all the internet coupons.

Also: I live in a small town...do all groceries take internet coupons?

I love your site and your new haircut is adorable!!!

Sonya said...

Happy Birthday and Thank you for all you do! Right now I'm doing the "clipless" method and my question is how long should I keep the fliers before tossing them out. My box is getting pretty stuffed.

Anonymous said...

I am a follower
brandym325@rocketmail.com
first choice is Sams club
2nd choice is Smiths
3rd choice is Disney

Anonymous said...

I love this website. Thanks for everything you do especially matching up the coupons and the ads and the sales.

brandym325@rocketmail.com
1st choice Sams Club
2nd Smiths
3rd Disney

Heather said...

Just became a follower. What a great website. I'm excited to learn how to be a wise consumer.

ourhodgepodge@yahoo.com
1:citydeals
2:smiths
3:disney

Anonymous said...

juliebakker@
I also wanted to know what your printer ink budget is, as I feel like I'm spending a lot more for ink now. 1. Smiths 2. Amazon 3. McDonalds. I've enjoyed your website for a few months now.

Anonymous said...

best deals around! Thanks

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