Kate Gosselin: The Celebrity Who Loves to Clip Coupons!

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Kate Gosselin: Saving Money Is My RealityWhat can a mother of eight teach us about saving?

A whole lot.

You might recognize Kate Gosselin from her former reality shows “John and Kate Plus 8” and then “Kate Plus 8,” or from her book “Multiple Blessings,” but in real life, Gosselin spends her days as a mom of 11-year-old twins and 8-year-old sextuplets.

Gosselin has a secret, though. While she and her kids might always appear effortlessly put together, it turns out a whole lot of budgeting (and coupon clipping!) underlie those efforts.

In fact, Gosselin often shocks cashiers by handing over coupons that shave a few cents off her shopping tab. “They don’t expect television personalities to be frugal,” she laughs.

Smart move, since being a TV star doesn’t automatically make raising eight kids any cheaper. Especially when you think ahead to paying for college—times eight!

LearnVest sat down with the reality mom to get her take on allowances, budgets and how she affords groceries for herself and eight mouths (plus a dog!). Not to mention the three questions she always asks before making any purchase.

What would you say are the most financially challenging aspects of parenthood?

With eight kids, I can’t think of any aspects that aren’t challenging! It’s very unnerving to know that I am the major breadwinner for a family of nine and one dog. If I had to list some of the most challenging aspects, it would be saving for college, which is still a few years away. But it’s tough that even clothing, shoes, food, shelter and recreation are always multiplied by eight. For example, a few weeks ago I had to buy clown wigs for each of my 7-year-olds for a school program, and it cost me $65. Nothing is a small purchase in our home.

What are some ways you stick to your grocery budget, especially when you’re tempted by impulse purchases?

An impulse purchase is okay once in a while for everyone. I just ask myself three questions. First, is this a good buy? Second, if I leave the store without this purchase, will I be sorry? Third, is this a need or a want? It should be a “need.” If I pass the test on all three, chances are, it fits my budget and I’ll buy it.

As a mom, you probably understand that it can be tough to make ends meet. What are some strategies you rely on to make shopping and financial decisions?

I try to buy for the long run. In other words, I can buy cheap backpacks and lunch boxes for school each year, or I can buy a better brand for $10 more each and use them for two consecutive school years. In the end, if I do that I’ve saved. I use that strategy with winter coats and boots, too. I buy a bigger size and use them for two years each. I also have coats and snow boot purchases scheduled on alternating years so that I don’t go into debt when winter comes.

Do you set a household budget? How do you stick to it?

I have a mental budget and operate on a system that unless we need it, we don’t purchase it. I also tend to look around and recycle and reuse things throughout our house before I’ll go and buy something new. Many times, with a little creativity, you can save money just by scouting the house for a basket or a lamp that is better used somewhere else. I love those finds … and the savings.

Do you give the kids an allowance?

I don’t officially hand out allowances. I do, however, reward my kids when they do an extra job beyond what is on the chore chart. I offer $1 almost daily to Mady and Cara for doing extra things to help around the house. This benefits them because they are always willing to work for extra money, and it benefits me because I have extra help and am teaching them the way real life works. Beyond that, I believe in families working together to get the work done. My kids have everything they need because they are such willing helpers.

Are there any areas of finance you are afraid of?

Finances make a lot of sense to me. I spend a lot of time budgeting, balancing and saving so there aren’t really any areas that scare me. However, I don’t enjoy the paperwork aspect. I’m old school, so I have a bill paying notebook; it’s not done on the computer. But I am very organized in that area, so that helps.

What prompted you to clip coupons? Have you always been frugal or did becoming a mom push you to the frugal side?

I have always been frugal. I am obsessed with saving money, and I grew up understanding the concept of saving, sales and coupons. I’ve always felt the exhilaration of getting the same exact item for the lowest possible price, and coupons definitely help me reach that goal.

Has clipping coupons taught your children anything?

Yes. Mady and Cara will often sit in my room at night and clip and sort coupons for me. They also organize my receipts according to “business” or “household” so I can file them appropriately. They love helping this way, and it’s a great way to introduce them to budgeting and organizing household finances.

What are your favorite tips for clipping coupons?

Most importantly, don’t spend money just because it’s a good deal. If you get a great coupon or see a sale on an item that you know you will always use and have room to store, stock up (think paper towels, soup, toothpaste and other things that you don’t need to use right away). But you shouldn’t spend money just because it’s a good deal or a good coupon.

Also look online. People don’t realize shopping online often offers better prices than in-store shopping. For example, if you need stuff from Target, you might find an exclusive online coupon code for $5 off orders of $50 or more, plus you’ll get free shipping so you’re saving on gas and babysitters.

Lastly, stack coupons. In many cases, you can use a coupon code on top of sale prices. Free shipping is easy to find online, too. In fact, CouponCabin has a page that lists all the stores that offer free shipping. (Kate recently signed on as a blogger for CouponCabin.)

Do you clip coupons? How else do you save money to have family fun on a budget? Share in the comments below or in our discussions.

  • Sport NorCal

    Shockingly uninspiring, like the woman herself.
    95% of what comes out of her mouth it total B.S. and the rest she just plain lies about.

  • Marie, Vancouver

    Sorry, LearnVest, but you made a huge mistake by presenting Kate as someone we should look up to, or respect for her money-handling savvy.  She has NEVER done anything that makes me think I would have any reason to like or respect her. She’s nothing but a money-grubbing reality TV has-been who shabbily used her own kids to make money.  Please don’t ever feature her again.  

  • Julie

    Once again, a couple of the five freakishly obsessed Kate Gosselin haters who sit on Gosselin’s twitter all day have found another article to comment on. Do you not realize that you are the nasty losers, and not Kate Gosselin? Pathetic.

  • Against Kate Hate

    I see Kate’s haters have wasted no time trying to squelch anything positive Kate might do. This was a GREAT interview. It’s too bad that there are those who refuse to let Kate lead her own life and raise her kids as she sees fit. 

  • Loriann

    Great interview!  Thanks!  Love learning how other people try to stretch their money, and always love hearing about Kate and
    her family.

  • Ollie

    Kate has 8 children whom she is teaching a very valuable lesson, just because someone has money does not mean you have to spend it foolishly,
     Bethany Frankel is a multi millionaire and she still buys sale items and never pays retail , IMO that is being smart. 

  • AugustaH

    Great tips. If Kate can do it with 8 kids, we all can be more budget savvy. I like her organized, common sense approach.

    • mirageseekr

      ya she really has to budget to afford those pesky nannies, vacations compliment of her V.I.P. status etc… watched the show when it was new, wasn’t surprised when Jon grew a set and left her, and the only thing she has left to do is a B-rated porno like octomom. Bad article, try asking people who are really pinching pennies to get by

  • Bunny

    Does Kate really need her manicures, NYC hairdressing days and extra cars?

  • bb12338

    Did anyone else notice all of the savings are what she buys for the kids. She has had so much given to her but never gives back.  Giant foods GAVE her groceries for years but she never mentions shopping there.  Has she ever given to the church that gave her cash  The state of Pa. welfare checks. Has she spent the money that was set up for the kids college? Has she ever bought anything on sale for herself?  Was the sports car something she needed?  The kids are fed eggs every meal and doesn’t buy milk for them because it’s to expensive. Wonder what it cost to fill that huge swimming pool?  Trips to NYC and pays thousands on hair, nails, tanning etc. Trips out of town with paid bodyguard.  Housekeeper, babysitter

    My Point is……………What a joke for this selfish woman to give advise on saving money  

  • bali1228

    Very nice interview, thanks for the tips!

  • Hfgytiresdgu

    I’d like to tie her to that chair and force my cock in her mouth. I like to have fun and need action in my life

  • http://www.discountqueens.com/ DiscountQueens

    Thought that she has sponsors! Anyway, with eight kids in tow, she needs to save that much.