Write On! is pleased to feature Teri Gault, coauthor of Shop Smart, Save More: Learn The Grocery Game and Save Hundreds of Dollars a Month and CEO/Founder of www.thegrocerygame.com, a website that provides shoppers with a fun and easy way to save money. The Grocery Game began as a home-based business in February 2000. Last December, Teri released her book, which she co-wrote with Sheryl Berk.
What prompted you to turn your business into a book?
The Grocery Game posts weekly grocery lists, revealing exactly how I would save on groceries at 160 major supermarket divisions nationwide. Members with a family of four save an average of $512 a month shopping with my lists.
I always wanted to write a book on “how” we strategize at TheGroceryGame.com to save all that money. Plus, my lifestyle of preparing delicious food, storing food, cleaning up, entertaining with ease, and more, have always been bursting out of my chest. I’ve been dying to share what I’ve learned to love about feeding my family and entertaining. I just wanted to put it all into one great book of savings and good living. So Shop Smart, Save More was born.
What was your favorite part of the writing process? What was the greatest challenge?
My favorite part was working with Sheryl Berk, then looking back on each chapter that was finished and enjoying reading all that good stuff! The toughest part was meeting Harper Collins’ deadline. With the economy as it was and is, they wanted the book done ASAP. We worked 7 days a week, at least 20 hours a day. I would wake up in the night and jot down things that I remembered I wanted to include. I was sleep deprived. But it was sort of like giving birth… It was a like a long, difficult labor, but the joy of knowing we were writing a fabulous book was part of every day as well.
Do you have any tricks for keeping track of all of your research?
I have files and files on my computer. They are each named in order of category, followed by sub-category and a date. When there is new information and I want to add to a category, it makes it easy to find the correct file. Then, I back up, back up, back up! I’ve never lost anything, because I always have backups on other computers and other servers.
What is your absolute favorite money-saving tip?
Stockpiling! This is not buying in bulk or even amassing a huge amount of food. It’s simply buying things you know you like to eat—or that you use in your home—before you need it, on sale, and preferably with a coupon too! For example, even if you aren’t out of tuna, but tuna is on sale, and it’s something that your family eats, buy 3 or 4 more cans for your stockpile. That way, you don’t have to go out and pay full price for tuna when you run out. You can turn to your “stockpile” (your own “store at home”) where you have been collecting a back up of everything you use, but always at the lowest price possible.
How did you launch such a successful and comprehensive website?
I built my own first website which was free for 3 months, along with a contract to pay for the site and web tools for 2 years. All the money that I made went back into the company, initially toward a dynamic custom site with custom software. We have had numerous websites launched by professional web developers. And new software is on-going, never ceasing, and hugely expensive! But it’s worth every bit of it. As technology grows, the possibilities for newer and better bells and whistles become possible. So we go for it!
Starting within the next month, a series of books on different savings topics: travel, entertainment, home and garden, health, beauty, fashion, etc.
Any advice for writers?
Nurture your body and be proactive about maintaining good health. Feed your body only good food and drink that will benefit the body and mind. Stay away from sugar, but reach for fruit, whole grains, and long-burning fuel. When on deadlines, find something that rejuvenates you in a healthy way, so that your mind will be refreshed, and creativity will flow. For me it’s exercise and my best relaxation rejuvenator is playing the piano. When I feel exhausted or my back or neck begins to hurt, I’ll go out for a brisk walk, and clear my head, listen to birds, look at the trees, and amazingly, creativity and ideas that I had buried in my brain begin to emerge. Sometimes I will sit on a Pilates ball for brief periods of time off and on, while at the computer. This changes my posture and works my abs, taking the strain off of the same places in my back. Also, stopping periodically throughout the day to play just one classical piece on the piano works wonders to wake me up and get me back to the computer, feeling like it’s a new day! I also like to work with a door or window open, or even sit outdoors whenever possible.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started writing?
Since a lot of what I do is founded on “my success story” coming through hard times, etc… I wish I would have been documenting my life, journaling more and taking more photos.