Stephanie Nelson | 

How to Live Rich on One Income

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It was my desire to not go “without” that initially led me to bargain shopping. But eventually, I taught myself all the hacks to living rich on one income with the help of couponing.

Instead of foregoing having nice things or passing on spendy groceries like meat and fresh produce, I like to find ways to buy the things that many families assume they can’t afford.

The result is that I get higher-end stuff for much less than everyone else pays. Here is everything you need to know about how your family can have all the nice things you want without a six-figure budget.

Download the Krazy Coupon Lady app to get the latest money-saving hacks.


Give up generics and coupon brand-name food for 50% less.

You knew I’d have to throw couponing in here, right?! After all, it’s the one thing I did to start living rich on one income. Couponing allows you to buy brand name food much cheaper than buying the generics like your mom did, when she didn’t have access to all the tricks we use nowadays. Win.

  1. If you’re new to couponing, start with the Quick Start Guide to Couponing. This will teach you how to get started by mastering Target. After you’ve made Target your catwalk, add another store and learn that store’s loyalty program.
  2. Download the KCL app to make your couponing list and get visibility to all the deals. Start slow; add stores as you go.

Another tip I give beginners is to start off couponing for household items like laundry detergent, body wash, toilet paper, etc. These are some of the most expensive brand name items on your grocery list, and there are almost always deals for them.


Take your family to Disney for free (twice in one year!)

This entails signing up for credit cards, so if that makes you gag, scroll on, friend.

I used to be a skeptic about credit cards because — let’s face it, there is a risk involved. If you cannot pay off your balance every month, this isn’t for you.

But the reason I think this works even for single-income families is because you can do it without spending more than you’re already spending on bills, groceries, fuel, etc. Instead of using your debit card and getting nothing for it, you use a credit card and rack up points you can redeem for actual plane tickets. Then you spend whatever you budgeted for these items to pay off your credit card every month.

I’ve done this for the past two years when I flew four of my family members for free to Disney — twice. Sure, we still had to pay for hotel and food on the trip, but we got over $2,000 worth of free travel. (Also, I don’t get paid to mention credit cards. I genuinely think they’re a killer way for families to travel.)


RELATED: Bills You Can Pay with a Credit Card to Earn Points


Buy your Coach bag at 6pm and save up to 75%.

I’m not talking about factory versions of Coach, either. I mean a real Coach bag.

You can find Coach bags online from for up to 75% off. The discount fashion site lets you sort by brand, size, color, price range and more. You can also sign up for the 6pm newsletter to find out when Coach flash sales happen. I’ve seen a $418 genuine leather Coach bag for just $99.


Wear name brand jeans for a fraction of the cost.

A woman holding Lucky Brand jeans.

Want to wear jeans like Hudson, Joe’s, and Lucky and for the price of Old Navy jeans? You can.

For Hudson’s, shop Nordstrom Rack online, and for Joe’s Jeans, shop — or for both, head to T.J.Maxx. I’ve found $119 name-brand jeans for $29 there. You can also buy clearance Lucky brand jeans through Ibotta from Lucky brand online, and save up to 67%.


RELATED: Find out more about where and when to buy your favorite brand of jeans.


Stock up on turkey in November and prime rib in December.

Meat is easily one of the most expensive items on my grocery list, so I buy it at its lowest price, or I stock up when I can get a discount.

In the past, Safeway, Albertsons and even Office Depot have offered a free turkey with a minimum purchase (usually over $150). This makes for a $25-$30 savings on your turkey if you’re already doing a big grocery shopping trip. If you time it right, you could in theory shop one of these stores every week or two and get multiple free turkeys. Check out our guide to how to get a free Thanksgiving turkey for more info.

Costco also offers a 20% discount on prime rib around the holidays. It’s usually a HUGE order (60 pounds), so grab a friend and split the cost (or freeze them ribs)



RELATED: Foods You Didn’t Know You Could Freeze


Stock up on luxury shampoo and conditioner in January and July during ULTA’s Jumbo Love Liter Sale.

ULTA’s Jumbo Love Liter Sale happens in January and July, and most major professional hair care brands (think: Matrix, Redken, Bedhead, Biolage, Joico, Kendra, American Crew) have liter-size shampoo and conditioners marked up to 72% off, depending on what brand and formula you’re buying.

Here are some deals we’ve seen in the past:

Buy 2 Sexy Hair Shampoo or Conditioner (reg. $23.50-$28.95) $12.99, sale price
Apply $3.50 store coupon on orders $15 or more
Free store pickup or free shipping on orders of $50+
Final Price: $11.24 each, when you buy 2
Buy 2 Matrix Total Results Select Shampoo or Conditioner (reg. $23.50-) $12.99, sale price
Apply $3.50 store coupon on orders $15 or more
Free store pickup or free shipping on orders of $50+
Final Price: $11.24 each, when you buy 2
Buy 1 Joico Shampoo or Conditioner (reg. $31.99-$34.99) $15.99, sale price
Apply $3.50 store coupon on orders $15 or more
Free store pickup or free shipping on orders of $50+
Final Price: $12.49


Keep an eye on ULTA deals to learn when the sale happens, and we’ll help you figure out which formulas fall into each threshold and help you save.


RELATED: ULTA Beauty Hacks That Will Save You Serious Cash


Buy high-end appliances like a KitchenAid mixer or Ninja blender at Kohl’s to save over 50%.

Woman picking up a KitchenAid from a shelf in Kohls

You can often find discounts on really nice kitchenware, like Ninja blenders, KitchenAid mixers, and Cuisinart small appliances at Kohl’s. But when you use a combination of sale prices, rebates, coupons, points from Kohl’s loyalty program, Yes2You, and Kohl’s Cash, you can save even more.

Buy 1 KitchenAid KSM150FE Artisan Series Bundle 5-quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer with Flex Edge Beater (reg $399.99) $279.99, sale price
Save 5% ($5 for every $100 you spend) with Yes2You Rewards
Get $50 Kohl’s Cash
Final Price: $215.99

Sign up for KCL emails to find out about current KitchenAid deals and Ninja deals. And keep an eye on Kohl’s deals too!


Get high-end, home decor knockoffs at Overstock and save 60%.

Do you write off upscale decor from Anthropologie and Pottery Barn as out of your price range? Don’t! You can often find near-identical replicas of items like lighting when you shop Overstock, Wayfair or even World Market. Except you’re gonna pay a lot less. For example, this gold floor lamp from Overstock looks the same and it’s 60% cheaper than the one at Anthropologie.

Buy 1 Madison Park Signature Bringham Gold Floor Lamp, sale price $161.99 from
Get free shipping
Final price: $161.99
Price Comparison: $528 from Anthropologie


Buy wine in bulk to save serious cash.

bulk wine and wine delivery from Naked Winery

Is there a worse feeling than wanting a glass of wine and seeing your wine rack is empty? I think not. That’s one of the reasons I like to buy my wine in bulk. But it’s also to save money.

You can have a case of wine delivered right to your day through Winc, Naked Winery, WSJwine, and even Macy’s to save dollars on each bottle.


Stream (and share!) TV instead of paying for cable.

You can share your Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu accounts with people you trust and save tons of money. There are many ways to do it — each family pays for one service every month, or total up the monthly bill and split it three ways. But no matter how you divvy it up, it’s really the only way to go if you’re not willing to cut back on your shows.


RELATED: How One Extended Family Shares Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hulu Accounts



Stock up on bonus restaurant gift cards in the fall and give them as Christmas gifts.

Tons of restaurants offer a bonus gift card when you buy a gift card. They often advertise “Buy a $50 gift card and get a free $10 gift card.” Or “Buy a $50 gift card and get a $25 gift card.” It depends on what restaurant you’re looking at.

These promotions show up during America’s pre-funk to the holiday season — early November.


Place medical tape on your wrinkles at night and get Botox results.

I know this sounds weird. But it works!

Just put medical tape anywhere on your body and leave it there while you sleep to get similar results as actual Botox — for next to nothing!

Look for a clear medical tape, like 3M Transpore clear 1-inch first aid tape. It’s less than $4. Told ya I was gonna help you live rich!


Send your kids to college for free (or find an employer that’ll pay for it).

If you live in an area where your kids are eligible for free college, I hope you jump on it. For the rest of us, finding an employer who will pay for the cost of a child’s college will have to do.


RELATED: Companies That Will Pay for Your College


Or rent an RV for $1 and take them on a road trip.

There are a few places that rent RVs for $1 one-way. The schtick here is that many RV companies are looking for people to relocate their vehicles — and it’s cheapest for them to offer relocation rental rates — as low as a buck.

So, if you’re up for an adventure vacation, find one that works for you, commit to the destination, and enjoy driving cross country affordably.


Stock your gift closet with LEGO, American Girl dolls and Yankee Candles on the cheap.

Shopping LEGO at Walmart.

If you haven’t built a gift stash yet, you’re missing out on an opportunity to get really great gifts at the lowest price of the year. Plus, who wants to be rushing around to buy last-minute gifts?

The best time to build up your grown-up gift stash (candles, children’s toys, lotions) is anytime you can get Yankee for at least 50% off and Bath and Body Works for 70% off. These deals show up frequently when you’re following KCL, and when you see them, load up!

Black Friday is really the best time to buy toys. Last holiday season we saw American Girl dolls at Kohl’s for $115, plus you could get $20 back in Kohl’s Cash. Or buy one at Costco in October or November and save $65 total when compared with the American Girl store.

Buy LEGO when they’re at least 50% off at Target right after Christmas, and twice a year during Target’s semi-annual toy sale in January and July, typically the second or third week of the month.


Only upgrade your TV in February to get the lowest price of the year

Keep your eyes peeled for TV deals in February — before and right after the Super Bowl. Watch Target and Walmart, and you can easily get a half-price name brand TV (like Samsung).

In recent years, for example, we saw deals like this:

Buy 1 Insignia 32″ Class LED 720p HDTV (reg. $149.99) $89.99, sale price through 2/27
Free shipping on orders of $35+ or free store pickup
Final Price: $89.99 shipped
Buy 1 Sceptre 55″ Class 4K Ultra HD 2160P LED TV – U550CV-U (reg. $399.99) $269.99, special buy
Free shipping on orders of $35+ or free store pickup
Final Price: $269.99 shipped


Use BillCutterz to negotiate and lower your monthly bills.

BillCutterz does the legwork to negotiate with companies to try and lower your cable, internet bills or cell phone bills.

If they’re unsuccessful, you don’t pay anything. If they are successful and get your bills lowered, they’ll take half of the difference (from the savings they got for you) for the first year. After that, you keep all the savings.


Buy your kids’ sports equipment at Dick’s Sporting Goods and save up to 16% before coupons.

Dick’s Sporting Goods has one of the best store loyalty programs around.

Download the Dick’s Sporting Goods app and start saving 3% on every purchase. Then find yourself a Dick’s discounted gift card at Gift Card Granny for up to 13% savings. When you go to buy your daughter’s basketball shoes or your son’s soccer ball, do these two things, and you’ve saved 16% without even using coupons.

Speaking of coupons, as a Scorecard loyalty member, you’ll get plenty of offers you can use on top of that 16% to save even more.


Get the benefit of eyelash extensions when you use castor oil on your lashes instead.

I love having lash extensions. I like how I don’t have to put makeup on my eyes when I’ve got them. But I don’t like having to get them filled every two weeks, and I definitely do not like the price of any of it! An initial appointment to get a full-set costs somewhere between $150 and $200, while a fill costs $55-$65 each time. On the other hand, eyelash growth serums like Grande Cosmetics’ GrandeLASH-MD Lash Enhancing Serum run $65.

But, you can get an 8-ounce. bottle of Heritage cold-pressed castor oil from Target for just $7.19. I’ve started applying castor oil to my lashes instead — my esthetician friend recommended this.

  1. Start by cleaning your face and removing any eye makeup.
  2. Next, take a clean eyelash brush and pour a bit of Castor oil into a cup — slowly dip it into the castor oil.
  3. Finally, use the brush to carefully apply the oil onto your eyelashes.

It’s best to do this at night before bed. In the morning, use makeup remover to remove the oil from your lashes. I noticed a difference in just a couple weeks — for the price of three cups of coffee!


RELATED: DIY Beauty Hacks That Could Save You Thousands


Buy generic Sonicare replacement heads on Amazon to save 80%.

There are a ton of Sonicare deals, and it just kills me to pay full price on the heads when I got the actual toothbrush for such a great price. Then I found these knockoffs on Amazon.

Use Subscribe & Save and you’ll get an extra 5% off.


RELATED: Top Generic Products You Can Get for Dirt Cheap on Amazon


Download rebate apps to double-dip in savings.

There are so many rebate apps, it can be confusing.

You can shop sales and shop with coupons and double-drip by using apps like Ibotta, Rakuten, and TopCashback to get cash rewards too.

Using TopCashback is easy through their website. Shop more than 4,400 retailers partners — like Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Home Depot — and they’ll give you up to 10% actual cash back (or you can pick a gift card instead).

I use Ibotta most when shopping for groceries, but they also partner with Cabela’s, Lowe’s, REI and more than 1,500 other brands.

The easiest way to get cashback through Rakuten is through the app, where you can shop Petco, Nike, Banana Republic and other stores and brands for up to 10% cash back and sometimes even more. You can also install a Rakuten Cash Back Button on your browser


RELATED: The Ultimate Guide to Rebate Apps


Save up to 80% on your DIY projects when you buy leftover wood pieces at Home Depot.

Depot sells lumber they deem “leftover pieces” for a deep discount. But hey, one girl’s leftover pieces are another girl’s reclaimed wood headboard.

If you aren’t sure where to find this wood at your store, check the very back of the lumber section, or ask an associate where they keep the leftover pieces.

The clearance wood pieces are typically marked with purple at my store.


RELATED: Home Depot Sale Hacks You’ll Regret Not Knowing


Get luxury beauty samples for free at Sephora.

Sephora offers up to three free samples of product per “world” (fragrance, skincare, color, etc.). So why not get the high-end samples that cost the most per ounce?! Nobody is gonna judge you if this becomes your new makeup stash.


Don’t scroll up! Here are the related links mentioned:

Insider Ways to Hacks from a Sephora Employee
Home Depot Sale Hacks You’ll Regret Not Knowing
The Ultimate Guide to Rebate Apps
Top Generic Products You Can Get for Dirt Cheap on Amazon
DIY Beauty Hacks That Could Save You Thousands
Companies That Will Pay for Your College
How One Extended Family Shares Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hulu Accounts
ULTA Beauty Hacks That Will Save You Serious Cash
Bills You Can Pay with a Credit Card to Earn Points
Foods You Didn’t Know You Could Freeze

UP NEXT: Everything you need to know about family budgeting.

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