Yes, I have joined the world of extreme couponers. With some exceptions. I do not have room in my house to start a huge stock-pile that includes a one hundred year supply of deodorant, but I am using coupons for items that I do use and in the quantity that I need.
I will not say that couponing is easy, it takes a lot of work, first off, you have to find the coupons. Coupons are not as readily available in Canada as they are in the USA, which means a longer search and a bit more work. Then, after you find your coupons, it is wise to make a spreadsheet with the coupons so that you know what you have. And then, you need to look for sales, if you find a sale on an item that you have a coupon for, its more savings.
So, first off… Finding the coupons. There are always coupons in the flyer inserts of your newspaper, as well as coupon inserts. We are still deciding which newspaper to subscribe to, so for now I have been using the internet to find coupons. Here are some great websites I use to find mine !
this website has a link to all coupons, as well as hidden coupons from other sites
sign up to this site to have coupons mailed to your home,
another sign-up and mail-to-home site
sign-up and mail-to-home site
sign up for this site for hidden coupons on web-saver
sign-up mail-to-home site
coupons for a lot of clothing stores and shops in the mall
website with some coupons, and a link to all flyers for stores in Calgary
an awesome site for information about couponing in Canada with links and updates !
One of the things you need to do, is make sure you check up on these sites at least once a week, in order to check what is new. I find that going through these sites takes about 15-25 minutes, depending on how much there is. After you check the sites and get your coupons, any printable coupons that you have saved to your computer need to be entered into your spreadsheet. At the end of this post I have included a picture of one of my spreadsheets. I make sure that I have them clearly labelled, the discount, and the expiration date is a must. Using Excel helps me to be able to constantly be sorting my list so that the quickest to expire would be the first that I use.
I have a bunch of different sections that I file my coupons under.
Groceries, Body Stuff, Household Items, Things to Do, Fun Things, GTL, Fast food, mall stuff, Golf, Hotels, and Automotive. Yes, GTL is a pun on Jersey Shore, I have coupons for gym memberships/trials, and I have coupons for tanning services, the laundry turns into “haircuts” as to what else I put in that envelope. It just made me laugh.
So, once you have coupons, and they are categorized, and easily available, go shopping. Remember that I am only getting coupons for things that I will use. Yes, I prefer to use the Lysol apple spray, I have coupons for scrubbing bubbles… so which one will I be buying? I always buy sale items, and I am not overly picky about using specific cleaning products, as I base what I buy on the price at the time that I need it. I do of course have products that I don’t like to use, so I don’t get coupons for those products, and if I can’t get a coupon for what I like, I wait for it to go on sale.
If there is a product that you like using more than others, consider contacting the manufacturer and requesting coupons for that specific product from them. Quite often they will comply.
Another way to save in Calgary, is buying gas. Now this only works if you do quite a bit of your shopping at Calgary Co-op, I do, and as such this works for me. Buy your gas at CO-OP, don’t bother looking at the price of the Macs across the street, just get it at CO-OP. the reason, is because if you have a membership (costs only $1 with amazing perks), you get so many cents/litre added up in a coupon form for savings in groceries. I am unsure of the exact number, I will find it out, but when we put gas in the truck, about $25-$30 will normally get us at least $1.00+ off of groceries. Lets say, there are 2 vehicles parked in front of our house, 1 fill up a week (just ballpark here) gives us about $1.75 per car in savings, which adds up to $3.50 savings a week. Now, take that $3.50 and take the four weeks of the month, and that makes $14.00 in savings per month, and A total of $168 per year in savings on groceries. Adds up pretty quick.
In the next post I will have an example of how I keep track of my coupons used. I’ve missed quite a few, but from now on I will be keeping track more precisely.
More updates to come !!!