Mission to Save: How Mary Hoover Turned Her Deal-Hunting Hobby into a Successful Brand That Helps Others
10.3.17 Online Savings

Mission to Save: How Mary Hoover Turned Her Deal-Hunting Hobby into a Successful Brand That Helps Others

By: Jon McDonald

The Crunch: Mary Hoover’s journey began by searching for coupons and bargains at her local grocery store in Columbus, Ohio, but led to her becoming an expert on discounts. She used her experience to launch Mission to Save, which has emerged as a valuable and information-rich resource for beginner and expert couponers alike. Over the last five years, Mary has used sponsorships from brands she trusts and television appearances to grow her audience and her website’s profile. Balancing family life and business, she has stayed focused on giving back to the community, and her website routinely spotlights opportunities to donate to charity. Mary uses her website and blog to invite others on her journey to save.

Mary Hoover was a deal-hunting, stay-at-home mom who started couponing to save her family money on groceries. When Mary began her quest to find discounts, she didn’t expect it to become a full-time job. But she got so good at scouting savings that she decided to use her knowledge to help others.

Photo of Mission to Save Founder Mary Hoover

Mary Hoover founded Mission to Save as a tool to help families save money.

In 2012, Mary turned her bargain-finding skills into a business, launching the website Mission to Save. Over the years, Mary has used television appearances and brand sponsorships to grow Mission to Save’s profile and audience.

Today, the site is an invaluable tool that makes available a treasure trove of resources for families looking to save money. The site offers advice on how to coupon, a blog with money-saving tips, and deals at major grocers, drug stores, and restaurants.

Mary’s commitment to helping others includes couponing classes and guidance on how to pay it forward by donating to charity. As her website continues to grow in popularity, she now describes herself as a stay-at-home mom, a part-time working mom and a work-from-home mom on a mission to empower others to save money and use some of the money they save to help the less fortunate.

Her Passion for Couponing Now a Popular Online Resource

The story of Mission to Save began with Mary looking for ways to save her family money at their local grocery store in Columbus, Ohio.

“I was a stay-at-home mom when my first child was born, and we were doing fine being a one-income family,” Mary recalled. “But then I got pregnant with twins, adding two more mouths to the family, a minivan, two more sets of diapers. I thought it became my job to find out how to save money for the family, and so I was able to learn how to use couponing to cut our grocery bill by 50% every month.”

Mary’s couponing began as a way for her family to save $3,000 to $4,000 a year, but it turned into a hobby when Mary and her friends would find deals to share with one another. Then the idea came to turn it into a business with a blog about bargain-hunting.

Screenshot of Mission to Save homepage

Mary Hoover had the idea to start a website when she realized she had access to deals that other sites didn’t.

“In 2010, a lightbulb went off, and I said, ‘Oh, people actually do this as a business,’” Mary said. “So a friend and I decided to throw our hat in the ring because we were finding deals that other people weren’t finding.”

Since no one was covering deals at the local Marc’s grocery, they started by covering that store. In 2012, Mary started her own website, Mission to Save. Today, the abundance of money-saving info on Mission to Save includes the weekly advertised deals at major grocery stores, drug stores, and other national retailers. A database of printable coupons and a Coupons 101 lesson for beginners — complete with a dictionary of terms couponers use — came soon after. The site also includes tips on affordable DIY beauty and home décor projects, ways to save while Christmas shopping, Facebook freebies, details on rewards programs and a treasure trove of other tips.

Leveraging Partnerships to Help Readers Succeed

Mary has used a series of sponsorships with brands she trusts, partnerships with other respected money-saving blogs, and television appearances to boost her site’s audience and spread the word on how to save money.

She contributes to the Savings.com DealPro Network and its deal-hunting, price-comparison app Favado. Mary praised Favado for selecting only credible and trusted contributors and said that being part of the DealPro Network proves that her site is a valuable resource.

Photo of Mary Hoover on Good Day Columbus

Mary Hoover frequently makes TV appearances, including segments on Good Day Columbus.

She has also used sponsorships with family-friendly brands she trusts to generate revenue and highlight some of their money-saving deals. Those include Chick-fil-A, where she is a member of the advisory Mom’s Panel, HP, and Cricket.

As a rule, Mary said she only takes sponsorships from brands she trusts and uses to protect the credibility she has worked hard to establish and maintain. For example, she is adamant about trying to live debt-free and turned down a deal offered by a persistent credit card company.

“I can’t promote a product if it’s something I wouldn’t use personally,” she said.

Television appearances have also contributed to the growth of Mission to Save. In Ohio, Mary regularly appears on Good Day Columbus on the local Fox station and has contributed to other local stations.

She also goes out into the community to teach couponing classes. Since the Sunday newspaper remains a hot spot for coupon inserts, she’s forged partnerships with newspapers to sponsor those couponing classes. Mary said she realized her work was helping people when a woman took her couponing class for a second time to thank Mary — and get a refresher on ways to save money.

All of these partnerships and outreach efforts have resulted in a growing audience that includes 45,000 monthly page visits, more than 8,000 Facebook likes, and nearly 8,600 Twitter followers.

Encouraging Others to Give Back to the Community

Mary’s mission is to teach people how to save money so they can live a better life and give more freely.

She lives out that goal, balancing her blog and website with family life. She volunteers at her church and her children’s schools, and drives her kids to all of their extracurricular activities.

She’s also committed to supporting charity, and that shows on the website, directing users to organizations that are in need of assistance.

The site’s giving section has information on food drives for those in need, hair donation programs, Christmas toy drives for children, stores that donate a portion of their proceeds to charity, and other ways to give.

And if someone finds a good “Buy one, get one free” deal on her site, Mary often offers tips on Ohio area charities that need the extra items.

Mary Invites Others to Join Her on a Mission to Save

For Mary, couponing and deal-hunting started as a necessity, transformed into a passion, and eventually launched a business. To this day she remains committed to encouraging people to use the resources on her website to find coupons and hunt out bargains that will save them needed money.

Sometimes, she admits, even friends and family members remain tough to sell on couponing, but she stays persistent.

“They roll their eyes when I talk about the things I get for free,” Mary told us. “But they don’t mind when I bring my free things to the party.”

Through Mission to Save, Mary is trying to teach everyone to make couponing a habit — and stick with it.

“Learning a new savings habit is like going on a diet. You’re not going to lose five pounds in a day, and you’re not going to save in a day,” Mary said. “But once you catch that savings bug and see how much you can save, you’re not going to go back.”