Borrow Debt

How The Coupon Lady Found Herself In Debt

Haley Paskalides  |  May 15, 2024

Lauren Cobello was one of the most popular coupon influencers on social media. Here’s why she gave it up and reinvented her career.

In 2010, Lauren Cobello (formerly Lauren Greutman) created an entire brand as “The Coupon Lady” after she shared her story of how she got her family out of $40,000 in debt by couponing and budgeting. She had no financial background, but quickly found herself being invited to share her story at churches and seminars, and eventually, she was making thousands of dollars on a single YouTube video. 

By 2016, she was posting multiple times a day, had written books about couponing and budgeting, and was filming family finance videos with her kids and her husband as main fixtures in her online universe. 

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But here’s the thing about creating a brand and a community around your personal story — sometimes that story falls apart. By 2017, Lauren and her husband split, leaving her to navigate life as a single mom of four….and back in debt again. For a while, she continued to post to keep her brand alive, but felt completely inauthentic doing it. 

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“I wasn’t passionate about personal finance anymore. I was really passionate about helping people build their brands using books and media,” Cobello says. “Man, was it scary to jump out and just say, I’m selling that website and going to this new one, but I hired the best publicists that I could find, and I’m having the best time.”

Lauren Cobello is now the founder and CEO of Leverage with Media PR – where she works with nonfiction authors on all things book promotion, but she’s also held onto some of the strategies she taught as a personal finance influencer. 

While she says she’s over her Coupon Lady identity for the most part, she still utilizes personal finance hacks to keep her budget in check. Her favorite strategies for saving money to feed her four kids are meal planning and freezer cooking. 

I call it my fast five meals,” Cobello says. “So five meals that I can make in 10 minutes or less. I always have ravioli, jarred sauce, and frozen garlic bread. I also always have stuff for grilled cheese and tomato soup, and my kids love rice bowls, so Trader Joe’s has individual jasmine rice packs that you can stick in the microwave for three minutes. So I get those and add some chicken that I can just shred up, and then, finally, we love brinner. You can’t go wrong with pancakes and eggs.”

In Mailbag, we hear from a listener who’s wondering if she should pay off her high-interest debt using her emergency fund money, or take out a home equity loan. We also check in with someone who’s looking for advice on new home insurance coverage after hers went up by 30%.


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All advisory services offered through Financial Engines Advisors L.L.C. (FEA), a federally registered investment advisor. Results are not guaranteed. AM1969416

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