Mercedes on a Budget
You can save $5,000 this year. A local mom offers you all the tools to do it.
Mercedes Levy knows money. A CPA and auditor with an MBA, she has all the tools to crunch numbers. So when she and her husband decided she would stay home with her sons Ben and Josh, she crunched the numbers to make it work.
"When we decided to become a one income family I started learning a lot about how to stretch our budget and make our money go farther," the Sheboygan County mom told us.
Once a money expert, always a money expert. She quickly learned how to save hundreds of dollars every month.
"I can't think of the last thing that I bought that was not on sale," she told us.
She demonstrated one recent bargain score... dishwasher detergent.
"This is usually $3.25 in the store. You can get it for 75 cent after coupons. That's $2.50 that you now have."
In fact, she's so good at saving money, she started her own blog, "Common Sense with Money."
The blog took off. She now has more than a thousand subscribers, and national attention.
Wal-Mart invited her to join a social money-saving community online, called elevenmoms.com
"I want to give you practical advice, things that you can do right now to save money today," she said.
Some of her tips:
• Only buy what's on sale.
• Stockpile enough to get you through to the next sale.
• Clip coupons or print online coupons.
• Use promo codes online.
Mercedes posts new deals every day, including lots of freebies. "When you start using coupons... You find there's a lot of free things you can get using coupons," she demonstrated.
The proof is in the numbers. Mercedes tracks her savings. She estimates she saved $6,000 in 2008. And she wants to help other do the same.
"Frugality is not about living without it's about using the resources that you have better and making them last longer," is her final word on it.
Don't have time to clip coupons or surf for deals? Mercedes says you can still save money buying "loss leaders"-- those special "doorbuster" sales at the grocery store. Just buy enough to last you a few months until the next big sale.