Subscriber Swap Saturday: Choyster Cash

by Kevin on May 9, 2009

This is the twenty-second edition of Subscriber Swap Saturday.

For the uninitiated, every Saturday I do an interview with another blogger. That blogger also interviews me and posts that interview on their website.We then tell our readers — hey, I think this guy is interesting, you should subscribe to his blog for a week.

Claire Williams is an MBA student and money-saving blogger. She and Choyster Cash have been featured in such publications as Business Week, The Huffington Post, and Runner’s World. Claire also started Hope Runs, a non-profit organization in East Africa. Sign up for her free couponing class!

You can subscribe to Choyster Cash via RSS or e-mail. Be sure to head over there and check out her interview questions for me.

Question (No Debt Plan): You describe a “Choyster” on your blog as someone who knows the world is full of possibilities, but sometimes needs help in making that choice. Why Choyster and not Choiceter?

Answer (Choyster Cash): A Choyster is a term I coined with my co-authors for our first book – Generation Choyster – out next year. A Choyster not only knows the world is full of possibilities – but importantly truly thinks the world is his or her OYSTER. A Choyster thinks he or she can do anything – but often doesn’t know where to start with so many options!

Q: You’ve been featured in some major publications for your non-profit work. Can you describe what kind of work you are doing, and why major media is paying attention to you?

A: I co-founded Hope Runs, an organization that implements athletic and educational programs in AIDS orphanages in East Africa. Hope Runs has been a great project, and one that I care about immensely. Our next big initiative is the Hope Runs 777 Challenge: 7 Marathons, 7 Continents, 7 Weeks. It starts in 2010. Since I’m leading the team, I spend a lot of time running! I’ve been really lucky to be in a lot of press – most recently Business Week and The Huffington Post and I’m just very grateful to get the chance to talk about my favorite things: these kids, personal finance, and running!

Q: Choyster Cash has the word coupon all over it. How did you get “in” to couponing?

A: I honestly never thought couponing worked at all. I was frugal and always was a great saver – but coupons seemed like a complete timewaster. Money saving blogs really turned me around, though. When I first started reading such blogs a couple of years ago I used to be baffled by their weird “coupon match-up” posts on the weekends – where the blogger would essentially go through the deals at all the major supermarkets and drugstores and show you could match up the deals with recent coupons. I totally ignored these for a long time because they looked like they were written in secret code. Over time, though, I started realizing that these bloggers were saving serious cash – and getting tons of free things! That’s when I said – OK I’m going to learn this. And it wasn’t hard at all! At first I began dabbling in it, and now I am completely converted. Kevin – you’ve got to get on board! Currently I’m hosting a free ten-week couponing course aimed to turn newbie couponers into mavens. Go here to sign up!

The coupon game is truly one of the best budgeting secrets out there – and the stuff you can get regularly for free will amaze you! The premise of a coupon is simple. You get a coupon, you use it to save money. However, many people believe you can’t really save more than a few pennies with coupons. But that’s because people aren’t using them correctly. The key is in the COMBINATION and there are so many amazing blogs (like mine, ha) that simply give you a list of what you have to do each week to pick up your free or crazy cheap stuff.

Q: What is the largest discount you’ve gotten using coupons (e.g. $100 worth of merchandise for $15)?

A: I’d say that every month I can bring home on average $130 of free toiletries for less than $8.

Q: How did you discover/develop a passion for personal finance?

A: My parents definitely gave me a lot of financial responsibility early on, and that cultivated an awareness. However, I would say that the real turning points for me came during my teenage years, when I began to realize that my “skill” at saving had afforded me incredible flexibility. I could do most everything I wanted because I kept my finances in order – living a life of spending less meant that I had the money to do the big things I wanted to do. This trend continued throughout my time at Stanford University. Financial responsibility gave me immense freedom and allowed me to travel everywhere over the past five years. So much so that I was able to go on an around the world trip for 8 months and spend less than I would have spent living at home!

Q: If one of my readers subscribes to your blog, what might they discover over the next 30 days?

A: I think there are a couple great things I can teach your readers. First, I can teach them how to play the couponing game to get hundreds of dollars of products free every month from local stores. If you stick with my FREE one-day-a-week e-course for 10 weeks, I can promise you that you will be able to bring the joys of free toiletries, household goods, and non-perishable items into your house on a regular basis. Just a couple years ago I had no idea about any of this, and now I almost never pay for any toiletries or household items. More importantly, though, I think I can teach your readers the number 1 financial tip I have – the thing that really changed my life: Keeping a Money Book!

Q: Where in the world do you reside, and what are your most and least favorites things about that area?

A: Yeah – that’s a tough question. I am from California, but I live in Buenos Aires. However, I am currently in Oxford, England for the year completing my MBA. To make matters more confusing – most of my work in the past few years has been based in East Africa 😉

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Bloggers — interested in being featured? Check out the schedule. I’ve got openings starting in June.

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