By Chandra
August 11, 2014
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One thing I no longer am embarrassed to admit now that I am a mom: I am cheap. I refuse to buy bottled water; it doesn't matter how hot it is outside. Concessions at the movie theater are off-limits (and any other event, actually). And I cringe when I have to pay $1 at a kid's lemonade stand (even though I know it's the right thing to do). But one thing I have never been able to stick with is couponing. Even though I have the cheapness gene (inherited from my own mom), what I don't have is the stamina that it takes to really save enough cash with clipping coupons or taking advantage of all those online

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reward sites. I have tired but I always give up after only saving 50 cents on a total grocery trip. Deep sigh.

But tons of moms have mastered it, and I am jealous of their savings. I'm sure you've seen the reality shows of extreme couponers who stack their grocery carts to the max with products and come out paying $2.12 or something insane. Who are these people I always wonder? I wish I knew how they did it. Then I stumbled upon one. Turns out one of my kids' babysitters is a frugal shopping pro. Lauren Ragusa of New Rochelle, NY has two little kids of her own and has mastered the art of managing and combining store sales, loyalty cards, coupons, and online rewards programs. She does admit that those reality shows can be misleading (surprise!), but she still can knock off up to 60% from her grocery bill. Amazing isn't it? And now she's sharing her secrets in a new e book called Top Secrets From a Frugal Family. (And it's only $4.99!!)

In the book she tells how she pays next to nothing for baby food, clothes and gear; for example she breaks down exactly how she pays only $2 for 4 bottles of baby formula (and moms, you know how pricey that stuff is!) with a combo of store sales and coupons. And I love her tip of using her town library's season pass to get in free to a popular Children's Museum (who knew?). She also has tips on how to save at chain restaurants, movies, and nearly everything else. This book speaks to the cheapskate in me and has put me on a mission to start couponing again! I encourage you to check it out -- and to share your cost-saving secrets in the comments below.

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