Thank you for your interest and support in All You's America's Smartest Shopper.
The voting period and the Gift Cards Galore Sweepstakes are now over.
The winner of America's Smartest Shopper will be announced on August 24, 2013 and featured in All You magazine's September issue.
About Gina Gina, 32, is an HR manager by profession and also works as an independent chocolatier and trainer for Dove Chocolate Discoveries (a division of Mars). She has always used coupons and looked for sales, but her shopping strategy changed dramatically a year ago when her husband, Jack, 34, became a business owner. When he purchased a local business in Volo, IL, "his research of the area found a free couponing workshop that he encouraged me to attend," she recalls. "During that year, as my husband rebuilt his client base, I was able to keep us in groceries and personal care items for a fraction of the retail cost with a minimum time commitment."
What Kind of Shopper Is Gina? "Super saver!"
What Inspired Gina to Start Shopping Smart? "I was raised to shop smart. If something was on sale, you bought a couple of that item, not just one. My grandmother MaryAnn's favorite phrases are: ‘Any darn fool can spend money; it takes brains to save it' and ‘For free take, for buy waste time.'"
Gina on the Web Gina has three blogs that she frequents to find the best deals: JillCataldo.com (because "she offers great advance notice of upcoming deals"), PocketYourDollars.com (which Gina thinks has "a great layout for many different items per store") and CouponMom.com ("for a quick glance at certain stores").
Biggest Savings Haul Ever Her all-time biggest savings haul? Getting 100 boxes of pasta for free. "This was a rare in-store coupon deal [for Jewel-Osco in Illinois] that allowed for a free box of pasta, no purchase necessary," Gina says. "My husband spoke with store employees and confirmed they would allow multiple store coupons [for everyday essential pasta items from a Jewel-Osco summer coupon book] for pasta. Since it was the end of the day on the day the coupon expired, we used 100 coupons for 100 boxes of pasta and set up our pantry for the next two years."
What's Next for Gina Right now, Gina and her husband are looking for ways to incorporate even more savings into their budget. To cut spending, they've found restaurant specials like half-price pizza, programs that give you freebies for signing up and conserving energy by keeping their thermostat low. "We continue to tweak our savings strategies," she said. "But we don't obsess. We're definitely not spending our whole lives looking for ways to save."