On any given day, Heidi Gollub will find you a deal. Free food, free events….. it’s all there. And it’s not just one deal a day, no… she posts several for all of us frugal mamas out there. She’s even managed to sneak a deal into this feature!. Now that there’s Free Fun in Austin, you can do more while saving money. Thanks, Heidi, for finding all of those deals for us!
LiveMom: Tell us about how Free Fun in Austin came to be.
HG: My brother bought me the domain name freenius.com and told me to write a blog about how to get stuff for free. I thought I’d try it for fun. On the first day I wrote one post. On the second day I wrote six. I was hooked. When more people than just my dad started reading it, I changed the domain to FreeFuninAustin.com.
LiveMom: When did you launch the site?
HG: February 1, 2010.
LiveMom: Have you always been a bargain hunter?
HG: Absolutely. I was trained young. My mom would take me to garage sales and whisper, “Ask the man if he’ll take a quarter for this. He won’t be able to say no to you.”
LiveMom: How much time do you spend finding free stuff to post on your site?
HG: Too much! About 30 hours a week. I probably should spend a few of those hours cleaning my house .
LiveMom: As a busy mom to four kids, what sacrifices have you had to make to maintain Free Fun in Austin?
HG: Sleep. And down time. I try to only blog when my kids are asleep, which means that I don’t have much time to relax myself. I used to read a novel or two every week. Now, I’m lucky to read one every few months. I’m still working on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which I started in May.
LiveMom:Are there any plans to expand the site into a more national site or will you be keeping it local to Austin?
HG: I actually had a national deals site that I started at the same time as Free Fun in Austin. But I enjoyed writing about local fun so much more, that I dropped the other blog.
LiveMom: In your hours of spare time that you have per year, how do you like to spend it?
HG: I have a bad habit of filling spare time with more projects. Right now I’m directing a Christmas production, so any extra hours are spent on meetings and rehearsals. But when I do manage to run away for a bit, I love going to movies at Alamo Drafthouse or out to eat with my husband. Our new favorite restaurant is Nuernberg Brauhaus in Pflugerville where, I can’t help but mention, you can eat for less than half price if you buy a gift certificate from Restaurant.com.
LiveMom: Are you originally from Austin? If not, what brought you here?
HG: No, when we came to Austin it was the 17th time I’d moved. My husband’s job brought us down here from Canada.
LiveMom: Where all have you lived in your life? Which place was your favorite?
HG: I have lived in 6 states and 5 countries: U.S.A., Canada, Australia, France and United Kingdom. I loved things about each place, but I have very happy memories of growing up in Australia. We traveled a lot while we lived there, so our family vacations were to amazing places like New Zealand.
LiveMom: What do you like most about living in Austin? What would you change?
HG: I love that everything is convenient, there’s always lots going on, and it’s warm enough to get out and enjoy it year-round! We moved here from the chilly North where it snows 7-8 months out of the year and gets down to -40 in winter. I used to wait outside for my bus to work and when I blinked my eyelashes would freeze together. So, I can’t think of anything to complain about when it comes to life in Austin. There are garage sales here all year long. I’m in heaven.
LiveMom:What’s your dream vacation? Would your kids be there with you or would you leave them at home?
HG: My dream vacation would be to rent a house in the south of France, where I spent a year in college. I’d take the whole family. We could bike to the zoo, take the bus to the beach, walk to the market, and drive to nearby towns. There would also be lots of pastries involved.
LiveMom: If Hollywood was making a movie of you, who would you choose to play you?
HG: Reese Witherspoon, because she’s ridiculously adorable and can make anyone seem interesting!
LiveMom: If you could give out unsolicited advice to anyone, who would you give it to and what would you say?
HG: I would tell first time moms that they are doing a great job. I’d say that it is normal to be half-way to Crazy Town and that we’re all messes, some people just hide it better. I once had an old man come up to me and say, “It’s obvious that you are a good mother.” I think that may have been the happiest moment of my life.