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Annapolis Valley frugal moms show how to get more by spending less

Frugal moms Lisa Rose and Natasha Vaughan can’t go to a grocery store without people stopping them to chat about the best sales. The pair have been helping Annapolis Valley moms find the best deals for about 10 years. HEATHER KILLEN
Frugal moms Lisa Rose and Natasha Vaughan can’t go to a grocery store without people stopping them to chat about the best sales. The pair have been helping Annapolis Valley moms find the best deals for about 10 years. - Heather Killen
NEW MINAS, N.S. —

Lisa Rose remembers a time when she counted cans of zoodles in her cupboard and wondered if she’d have enough to feed her children until the cheque comes in.

At that time, Rose was a single mom living on social assistance and struggling to make ends meet.

The turning point came after she was diagnosed with cancer.

She was talking to Natasha Vaughan, her best friend, when she had an idea that not only helped her family, but countless others.

“It all began with a kitchen table conversation over toilet paper,” says Rose. “We had both been watching Extreme Couponing on TLC and I had just gotten my first cancer diagnosis. I’m the sole income in my house and I said to Tasha, ‘I have no idea how I’m going to do this.’”

Worried how she would make ends meet, they talked about how much money can be saved by using coupons and that’s when they started researching how to do this. The pair soon started a Facebook group, Annapolis Valley Frugal Moms , to share tips, information and coupons they found to help other people save money on groceries and everyday necessities.

"I work hard for my money and I’ll work even harder to save it." - Lisa Rose

This group has since grown to about 2,400 members who swap information about their frugal finds around the Annapolis Valley.

“People are always coming up to me and saying, ‘I know you - you’re the frugal mom!’” says Rose. “They recognize me from my videos. Our focus evolved from couponing, to price matching and offering information and other support.”

Ten years and two tattoos later, the pair have nearly achieved celebrity status at the grocery store. They started two other Frugal Moms’ groups to offer support and information.

HELPFUL TIPS

Frugal Moms 30 Day Challenge, the newest information group, offers healthy recipes and tips on how to live well and spend less. Rose posts how-to videos and healthy recipes on this site to offer suggestions on how to lead healthy lifestyles on a budget.

It could be old school tips on how to cure diaper rash with burned flour, making preserves, or turning apple peels into jelly, to information about best practices for Keto lifestyles.

The other group, Annapolis Frugal Moms Helping Hands, is an online swap group that allows people to post unwanted items that others could use, including clothes, furniture, and vegetables.

When Lisa Rose was cleared of her cancer, she and bestie Natasha Vaughan marked the occasion with matching tattoos. And yes, tattoos were discounted that day. HEATHER KILLEN
When Lisa Rose was cleared of her cancer, she and bestie Natasha Vaughan marked the occasion with matching tattoos. And yes, tattoos were discounted that day. HEATHER KILLEN

“One person may have extra sheets and shower curtains that another person could use,” says Vaughan. “Waste not, want not.”

The idea is to work together and pool resources, following the more traditional practices of repurposing and finding value whenever possible. The dynamic duo has gotten so good at finding smoking deals on everyday items that they have been able to stockpile items for themselves and others.

They use weekly specials combined with coupons and other savings incentives to collect food and household items for pennies. Vaughan added that in recent years coupons have become harder to find, so they have begun using apps like Check-out 51, Flipp, Flashfood, and in-store programs like PC points.

“There are lots of deals on Check-out 51,” she said. “Every year something new comes out to help save money,” she said. “The best way to save on meat is to shop early, or last thing at the end of the day. That’s when they discount.”

They have a knack for finding Tide for dimes, getting personal care items and cleaning products for next to nothing, and bundling other offers to walk away with free cheese.

By Christmas they had stockpiled enough sundry items to sponsor eight families in need, able to provide not just Christmas dinner and trimmings, but also gift items.

HELPING OTHERS

“People let me know what they need, and I put a call out to the universe (post a message on Facebook) and before I know it, it’s here,” Rose said.

The group also regularly shares its best deals with non-profits, often providing detergents, toothbrushes, personal care products, and cleaning products to various service organizations.

Rose added that they are part of a network that partners with other groups to help distribute food and supplies to people in need. Whenever they hear farmers have excess produce that is misshapen, or not suitable for stores, the group picks up the cast-offs and redirects them to people who need them most.

“It’s about learning to manage your money and get the best deals,” said Rose. “And it’s about sharing information.”

The Facebook sites also help local businesses share their sale prices. Hairdressers have posted weekly discounts, a local photographer recently offered a special rate on family photos. When Rose was found clear of cancer, Vaughan found a Tattoo artist who was offering discounts and the pair celebrated the milestone with matching tattoos.

Rose says she looks for a deal before she buys anything. To her, it’s all about being smart with money and resources.

“My husband looks at me and says, ‘do we really need a coupon to eat at Burger King?’” she laughs. “If we don’t have a coupon, we don’t eat out. I work hard for my money and I’ll work even harder to save it.”

What is your best money-saving tip? Comments are open to members on this article at SaltWire.com. 

Heather.Killen@kingscountynews.ca

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