, Newburyport, MA


January 4, 2013

Cha-ching: Love a bargain? Buy next year's gifts now


“I do not buy my kids new games and stuff like that,” she says. “A new (Nintendo) DS is $160-$170. I bought them refurbished last year for Christmas for $70 — and they came with a one-year warrantee. The cartridges are $5 apiece.”

In addition, Holbrook watches the sales flyers for good deals on groceries, clips coupons and does a whole lot of meal planning.

“We’re doing better right now than we ever have,” she says. So well, the family is paying cash for a spring trip to Disney World.

“We wouldn’t have been able to do that even a year ago,” she says.

Melissa Buckles of Troy, Mich., has made a career out of saving money. The 42-year-old mother of two was working as a human resources manager for General Motors until her second daughter was born.

“I took a leave of absence and never went back,” says Buckles, who now runs the website “We took a cut of about half of our income when I decided to stay home. … It was a big adjustment, and I needed to figure out ways to save money wherever I could.”

She started out by paying close attention to grocery store sales flyers and coupons, and quickly realized that she could cut her shopping bills in half by buying things only when they’re on sale. She stocks up at the low price, and it lasts until the items she needs go on sale again. Now, she says she pays about $75 a week at the grocery store to feed her family of four.

“All of my friends were saying, ‘How did you do that? How did you find a coupon for that?’ … I felt that I had a unique voice, and I’d be able to help people and make a little bit of money and stay home at the same time. The website kind of just grew out of that.”

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