This post was first published on Motivating Mum. It is the post that first introduced my readers to the American trend of  extreme couponing and set off a bit of a media whirlwind…

For anyone who has not been reading my blog over the last two weeks or so (shame on you!),  I recently had the opportunity to attend the SaveUp conference organised by Savings.com (I went as a guest of their UK sister company Savoo).

The conference was great, good company, good location, good food and lots to think about. I love it when you come away from an event so inspired, if a little bleary eyed after four non-stop days.

So I got back in one piece from my whirlwind trip to New York, and survived the concert that I was committed to performing in less than 12 hours after arriving home,  I’ve slept like a log and had a very relaxing Sunday, followed by a couple of days of wading through all of my correspondence (how can it build up so much after just 4 days away from my desk?)  So now I can finally sit back and take stock, and share with you some of the stuff that I learned at SaveUp 11.

Savings Stories

It was amazing to see just how the community of  Savings.com is set up in the USA, to meet the central team and the cream of the American DealPros, people who subscribe to the site and share tips relating to saving money, making a small commisison for themselves in the process.   It was very humbling to hear some of the delegates  “savings stories“, ranging from a family that lost  everything after their business failed, people who needed to save money to pay for medical bills for their spouses or children, single mums trying to raise their families on welfare, and one lady who is rebuilding her life after a tree fell on the family house.

Some of the stories had me close to tears, and made me feel utterly thankful that (at the moment) I am only trying to save money because I think it is right, not for some dire necessity. I came to the conclusion that you never know what may be around the next corner, and although I made a commitment to saving money before I went to SaveUp, I now feel passionately that I need to do what I can for my family.

Blogging Tips

The second thing that struck me is that many of the American DealPros make a full time living from blogging, and have mastered the art of blog monetisation to  a fine art.  They certainly gave me, and this little blog,  something to aspire to.

To further this aim, we were helped along the way by some fantastic presentations from Stella Louise and Marcus Flemming, the SEO and blogging gurus at Savings.com.  I thought I knew quite a lot about SEO, but boy, do I have some catching up to do!   The content of those two presentations on their own, was worth going to the States for,  and I look forward to putting some of it into practice and reporting back to you how it goes.

The blogging masterclass continued in the round table session  – many DealPros shared their favourite Word Press plugins and other ways to make money with their blogs.  Many of them were frantically blogging during the presentations, and were happily sharing the latest affiliate deals so they could all bring them to their blog readers and save money for everyone.

Extreme Couponing

I learned a lot about ‘Extreme Couponing‘ from the amazing Jenny Martin of Southern Savers.  That girl is a complete human whirlwind. I don’t think I have ever seen anybody pack so much into a half hour presentation as she did.

I’m sure some people who have seen that show in the UK, will think the whole ‘Couponing’ thing is a rather strange American fad, worthy of nothing more than poking fun at.  I would agree that the people making the television show did focus on the quirky and eccentric people – after all that is what good entertainment is all about.

But don’t let that put you off the whole idea of couponing, or trying to save money on your groceries –  by the time Jenny had finished her masterclass, I certainly wasn’t poking fun – a lot of what she said made perfect sense, and I am determined to experiment with just how much I can save by playing the UK supermarkets at their own game. Again, I intend to experiment for myself with how much I have learned actually translates to the UK market, and then I will share my finds with you.  I might even start teaching ‘Extreme Couponing’ myself – just watch me!

Community Spirit

The final thing that struck  me was just the amazing sense of community within Savings.com.  The employees are all lovely and the community of DealPros was just so supportive.  They clearly keep in regular touch in their skype room and elsewhere.   Whether at work or at play (and boy do these people know how to party!)  there was just a huge sense of sharing, of community and of gratitude.  From those who are blogging and couponing out of dire necessity, to those of us, who thankfully are still afloat and just experimenting with ways to save money, from technological whizzkids (thanks Mitchell) , and computer virgins,  everybody shared willingly with one another, deals, tips and know how.

In conclusion, I had a wonderful and inspiring time at SaveUp11, and would like to thank the teams at Savings.com and Savoo, for allowing me to be there. There is talk that Savoo may run a similar event in the UK next Spring, and if that goes ahead then I will be first in line for a ticket.

if the UK team at Savoo, succeed in putting together a community that is in any way comparable to the American Deal Pro community (and the way they are going I don’t see how they can fail!) then I will be immensely proud to call myself one of the original UK Deal Pros and will be recommending Savoo to every blogger and would be money-saver in the UK. If you haven’t joined Savoo yet, I suggest you take a look – a community is only as good as its members – the more the merrier!