Make us your home page

Dad leaves the rat race, finds refuge in coupons

LARGO — Michael Batdorf was living in the darkness and every day, he looked at himself in the mirror and wondered if his paycheck was worth it: worth the hours, worth the stress. He had gotten divorced and shared custody of his two boys. His world was upended.

Batdorf was a scrappy, persistent man intent on climbing whatever ladder he happened to be on. After three years in the Marines, he got a job with Auto Trader in the mail room.

In 11 years, he worked his way up to the position of sales manager. Then he left for duPont Registry Magazines and clawed his way up to vice president of sales. He spent eight years there and, in 2006, he'd had enough. He'd met an amazing, kind woman — Lisa, who also was divorced, with two boys the same ages as his — through a Christian dating site. She gave him the support he needed to let go and leap.

He quit the corporate world and began his own magazine, the Tampa Bay Family Guide, which is free and highlights family-friendly places and events.

Then, a few months ago, he created another business: couponsof, which offers free coupons from local businesses in Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco counties. Batdorf dreams of expanding this nationwide; a place where people can go and, with a few clicks, get coupons for places in their town.

Right now there are coupons from about 150 businesses on the site. Posting coupons on his site is cheaper than direct mailing or other advertising means, Batdorf said.

Customers don't have to sign up to get them — you just find what you want and print. Batdorf also has links on the site to money-saving articles.

"Our goal is to help people," he said.

All about family

He also started his own publishing company called It Matters, which means family is what matters.

Batdorf and his siblings grew up in Maryland and moved to Largo when Batdorf was 12. Their parents were both alcoholics, Batdorf said, and for a time, the children lived in foster homes.

His mother has been sober for nearly 30 years and is doing very well, he said. His father has lost contact with Batdorf.

Going through all of that growing up, Batdorf made the decision to be the best dad he could be. Instead of following a destructive path, as did a brother who died before the age of 40, Batdorf went to the other extreme. He is fit and healthy and drinks very little. And the decision to leave corporate America also was based on the boys.

Batdorf and Lisa were married nearly a year ago and their four boys live mostly with them, though both of their former spouses live within a mile of them, so going back and forth between homes is easy. Batdorf and his wife work from home and they are there whenever the boys need them. Batdorf still works at least 60 hours a week, but he can be flexible. He can go play football with the boys in the afternoon and can supervise them at the pool.

Sure, it's terrifying to be your own boss and not have a steady paycheck.

"But I'm happy," he said Wednesday afternoon, and then looked at the door. Lisa had just come home from picking up their boys at camp and the kids ran inside, all tanned with hair bleached by the sun. From his computer — his office — Batdorf reached out and grabbed one and hugged him tight.

After the boys settled down, both Batdorf and Lisa — at separate computers in separate rooms — went back to work, with Lisa holding one of the boys on her lap and the sounds of the rest of them, talking, laughing, padding around, filling the house.

Erin Sullivan can be reached at or (813) 909-4609.

>>Fast Facts

To learn more

For information on the Tampa Bay Family Guide, go to or call (727) 492-7425. For information on coupons, visit the Web site, e-mail Michael Batdorf at mike@coupons or call (727) 492-7425. Similar coupon companies can be found through an Internet search engine.

Dad leaves the rat race, finds refuge in coupons 06/22/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 25, 2008 10:54am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 'Toxic' times: How repeal of Florida's tax on services reverberates, 30 years later

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Long before Hurricane Irma attacked Florida, the state faced a troubled fiscal future that the storm will only make worse.

    Robertson says the tax debate is now “toxic.”
  2. Fewer Tampa Bay homeowners are underwater on their mortgages

    Real Estate

    The percentage of Tampa Bay homeowners underwater on their mortgages continues to drop. In the second quarter of this year, 10.2 percent of borrowers had negative equity compared to nearly 15 percent in the same period a year ago, CoreLogic reported Thursday. Nationally, 5.4 percent of all mortgaged homes were …

    The percentage of Tampa Bay homeowners underwater on their mortgages  continues to drop. [Times file photo]
  3. 'What Happened'? Clinton memoir sold 300,000 copies in first week


    Despite being met with decidedly mixed reviews, What Happened, Hillary Clinton's new memoir about the 2016 presidential campaign, sold a whopping 300,000 copies in its first week.

    The new memoir by former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton sold 300,000 copies in its first week.
  4. After Irma topples tree, home sale may be gone with the wind

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — To house hunters searching online, the home for sale in St. Petersburg's Shore Acres neighborhood couldn't have looked more appealing — fully renovated and shaded by the leafy canopy of a magnificent ficus benjamini tree.

    Hurricane Irma's winds recently blew over a large ficus tree, left, in the yard of a home at 3601Alabama Ave NE, right, in Shore Acres which is owned by Brett Schroder who is trying to sell the house.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  5. Unemployment claims double in Florida after Hurricane Irma


    The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dropped by 23,000 last week to 259,000 as the economic impact of Hurricane Harvey began to fade.

    Homes destroyed by Hurricane Irma on Big Pine Key last week. Hurricane Irma continued to have an impact on the job market in Florida, where unemployment claims more than doubled from the previous week.
[The New York Times file photo]