Happy Friday: Building an Emergency Fund By Couponing

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Sent from reader, Marilyn:

Hi Collin! My name is Marilyn and I have been following your site since I was just a freshman in high school!

This past year, I graduated college and got a full-time job and moved out of my parent’s house (woo adulting!). I am adjusting to the financial burden of living on my own and having to make big purchases like furniture, car payments, etc…. all while trying to pay off my student loans as fast as possible!

This year I decided that I would grow my once non-existent emergency fund with couponing. I dedicated one of my savings accounts to put in money that I receive outside of my salaried paycheck. Any time I secret shop, get a rebate, or make money from surveys I put it directly into my emergency fund account. In one year I have reached $1,000!!! This is money I feel like I didn’t have to “work” for. This is money I have gained from being a smart consumer and savvy couponer.

I plan to continue this through 2017 and see how much more I can grow this (and possibly invest!). Next year my goal is to put all my money I get cashback from my credit card purchases as well – maybe I will get to $2500. Thank you Collin for all that you do, I wouldn’t have been able to get started off as a young adult as well as I have if it wasn’t for Hip2Save!!!


Do you have a funny, “Hip”, or unique photo to share?! Email us at happyfriday@hip2save.com. Every Friday, we post one photo, submitted by a Hip2Save reader, that gives us a glimpse into their frugal lifestyle or simply makes us smile. If your photo is published on Hip2Save, we’ll email you a $10 Amazon e-card!

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Comments 41

  1. Ashley

    Awesome Marilyn!

  2. Rocky

    This is so inspiring! I am too a college student working a part time job, I will finish my degree this year and I support my sister and my mom with home items that I coupon as well as financially. I’m happy to say that I am debt free because of following Hip2Save 😊

  3. Daisy


  4. Frecklelily

    Great job! My I suggest The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey? It’s great and you will learn a lot from it!

    • Victoria

      I agree! I read that during college and I paid off my college loans within 3 years of graduating. I didn’t follow it word-for-word, but the general ideas helped keep me on track

    • Jennifer

      (Outside of his no cash back credit card stance.)

  5. Christy

    Awesome!!! πŸ‘πŸΌ πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌ

  6. Diana

    Marilyn, this is a very smart money move on your part. Congratulations on saving a very nice sum of money for an emergency fund. This will keep you from turning to credit card debt should an unexpected expense arise. While you are continuing to build your emergency fund, begin researching investments and make it your goal to get started funding a retirement account within a year or sooner if you can. You are well on your way to a bright financial future!

  7. Darcie

    Awesome Marilyn!!!! Wish I’d been as smart with money at that young!

  8. Kristy

    You are smart young lady. You will go far in life because you learned discipline in this area. Congrats

  9. Anna

    Great job!!! Keep it up!!

  10. Denisec!!

    Love your story Marilyn!!! I’ve followed Hip2Save for several years, I have saved so much money and I stay stocked up on many items and am able to help out family members and friends with the discounted or free items! Little did I know how important saving the money and stocking the items would be. My husband was hit by a car 7/2/2016 and in the hospital for over 7 weeks (I had no salary for 12 weeks) and after being released from the hospital, I couldn’t leave him alone for several weeks even to run to the store. Hip2Save should be so proud to know how they really touch people life’s thru this site!!! Love you all!!!

  11. Heather C

    Good for you Marilyn… You will go far!

  12. Laura

    Good for you!!!

  13. Beth

    Another good way to save money is to put your change away and only use dollars. In one year we saved over $1500. It made Christmas a lot easier and I rolled the change in November and had cash for Black Friday.

    • AP

      Great tip! I started in January 2016, and now have about $125 in change (when I get bored, I start counting it and putting it in Ziploc bags. That’s how I know how much I have. LOL) . Not too bad considering I rarely have cash on me. Also, many banks now have a “keep the change” program, where they round each debit card transaction up to the next dollar, and put the difference/change into your savings account. That can add up pretty quickly too, especially since people use debit cards more than cash nowadays.

      • VaNeSteR

        I have the keep the change program on my personal account since i rarely carry cash. My husband on the other hand always has cash and puts his loose change on the table. He keeps the quarters for laundry and quick wash on the car. I roll the rest of the coins and will deposit into our house account.

  14. Sammie

    Great job! Does anyone have any suggestions for reputable secret shopper gigs? Saving to buy a house and love this idea! Thank you!

    • LindaS

      Great job Marilyn!

      Sammie I’m curious too. Marilyn or any other Hip2Savers, what secret shopper companies do you shop for? Any tips you have? I’ve been reading about mystery shopping for quite some time but afraid I’ll forget half the stuff I’m supposed to be observing and end up not getting paid.
      Maybe someone can write a Happy Friday post about secret shopping?

  15. Jing Chu

    Great job, Marilyn!
    I am actually a member of Saivian. I can receive 20% cash back for all my groceries, gas, restaurants etc after all my coupons and discounts. I would like to help you and all the couponers to save much more.

    Do you spend $625 or more a month on your groceries, gas, restaurant, cloths etc. after coupons and discounts? On top of that, you can even save 20% more today!

    Saivian is a company that allows you to get a 20% cash back on all your purchases, and all you have to do is to scan your receipts and send email to the company once a month. The membership fee is $125 per month, but you can easily break even if you spend just $625. You can earn a profit if you spend more than $625 a month on daily groceries, gas, restaurant etc. Learn more at saivian.net.

    If you are interested and would like to sign up for a member, please contact me at ruangigi@hotmail.com.


    • Kelly

      Wow, that’s expensive! $125 a month?!

      • Erin

        Yeah sounds shady to give them money

        • Steph

          I would never pay to earn rewards. Ebates and shopathome.com are free

          • Kelly

            Totally agree, I earn cash back from sites like ebates and shopathome, and they are FREE. No way you should be paying to get cash back.

            • Jing Chu

              I like ebates and shopat home too! However, Saivian is a big data industry and it has been around 20 years providing 20% cash back. They encourage consumers to upload their receipts to the company. Yes, they charge $125/month for membership fee, but for a family, if you spend more than $625/month for everyday groceries, gas, restaurant, coffee run, clothes etc. it actually is a profit for you. However, if you don’t have a family and spend less than $625 after coupons and discount, this program definitely is not for you.

      • Tina

        Yeah, feels like a scam

    • Holly

      Folks, please don’t contact him.

      • Jing Chu

        Holly, this is not a scam. I am a couponer for more than 8 years and follow this site since 2009. I just want to let my words out and help more couponers out there to save more. That’s all.

    • Amyy

      It’s no more of a scam than any other MLM like Young Living, Rodanthe and Fields, DoTerra, Thrive, etc etc. I would never join any of them, but calling it a scam isn’t accurate

      • Jing Chu

        Thank you! You can join as a member to save money, but you don’t have to do the MLM business. You can recover your membership fee in about 4 months as the 20% cash back is like the rebates. You submitted the form and the receipts and the process takes about one or two months to get your rebate check in the mail. I like this program is because I don’t have to change my spending habit and get cash back. Yes, I will need to cover the first, second or third month’s membership fee, but I know that I will get it back in couple months. I am actually not spending extra money on it.

    • Julie

      Well, you do earn commission every day from recruiting people to this program and your commission increases based on the number of recruits you have. Although the company isn’t selling a specific product and it’s based on your receipts (only from your top 10 stores), that is the resemblance to a pyramid scheme that I think it’s important to disclose. You left that part out when you were explaining the program.

      Just like with work at home positions, I don’t think you should have to pay anything to be involved in cash back programs. Just be careful about these things, everyone! πŸ™‚

      • Jing Chu

        Julie, I love coupons and save money just like everyone here, so I joined Saivian and I think this program will help lots of consumers to save money for everyday purchase. Saivian said if you think 20% cash back is good, you can refer a friend and you can get commission. I know that Ibotta is doing the same thing. If you refer a friend, you can get $10 commission. We are all familiar with rebate. You go to the store and buy the product. You actually pay for it first, and then you submit your receipts to the company and you wait for a month and two to get the rebate check in the mail. I left the MLM business part is because not everyone will accept the concept of MLM business. Don’t get me wrong. My purpose here is to help people to save more money on everyday purchase. It is your choice to use the program as one of the saving tools like rebate or coupons or you would like to choose to get involve with the business. Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

  16. Mo

    You should be so proud of yourself! Way to go!!

  17. Missy

    Great job! I second the Dave Ramsey recommendation. Changed my life!

    • Brittany


  18. Beth

    Also when my kids were in college and working full time we never charged them rent. Instead we told them they could not move out unless they had enough money to cover 6 months of living expenses. While they were at home they still had to follow our rules and ask permission to do things. Our oldest has been out for a year and just bought his first house all on his own at the age of 22. By doing it this way, he had to make a concious decision to save his money. He paid monthly bills like car ins, phone, and was able to build his credit.

  19. Danielle

    Great idea! I highly recommend starting to put a little money into a Roth IRA. My husband and I both did that in college about 10 years ago and we have continued​ to add to it. It’s worth much more than it was. We use Vanguard.

  20. thehenrydthoreauh

    My son is 13. He has a $1,000 plus emergency fund. He bought clearance with me during the hey day of 90% off. He bought $.25 Viewmaster slide packs and resold them for $10/pack for example. My emergency fund saved me from financing a $4,500 dental bill. I was also able to cover all the medicine and other expenses. It is time to rebuild while paying off a credit card and a tax bill.

  21. Fit Mountain Mama

    Way to go Marilyn!

  22. Pat

    I am so proud of you Marilyn. Now go out and teach other young people…………

  23. @ihellalovedeals

    What a great idea!! I use TONS of rebate apps & I just use the money right away, saving it is a way better option πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

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