Then we got sucked in.
My girlfriend and I are now avid couponers. We prowl the Internet for reports of coupons to print or request by mail, and scour local flyers for great sale prices to match up with our coupons. We take our coupon binders (coupons placed in baseball card holders, and organised into a few categories) with us anytime we shop. We have also branched out into price matching in order to get even greater savings. (Some stores in the area will match any competitor's advertised sales price ... this means you don't have to hop around to multiple stores to get the best sales in a week ... plus the product is usually in stock at the store that doesn't have it on sale!) Finding a good deal that can save me money has become ridiculously addictive. It's like a weekly scavenger hunt through grocery store flyers and clearance sections, and the rewards are the savings you find on your grocery receipts.
|A page from my coupon binder.|
On average, I'm saving between $30 and $40 per week in coupons alone. Paired with the price matched sale prices, I'm paying about 1/3 what someone would if they were to pay full price for most items on my shopping list. My overall expenditure per month hasn't yet gone down, as I've been stocking up on products we will use in future. But over the past 2 months I've stayed within our regular monthly grocery budgets but bought a lot of extra food and household items now stored in our pantry. For instance, I have enough paper towels to last a year or two, and about 2 or 3 months worth of breakfast cereal. I expect my monthly bills to begin dropping by next month, as I now have several categories of items which we don't need to buy for a few months to a year.
Some of my best deals so far have included:
- free 2L tubs of President's Choice ice cream
- Free scrubbing bubbles shower cleaner
- family-sized boxes of Raisin Bran and Rice Krispies cereal for 99 cents each
- Fibre Plus cereal for $1.99 ... and there were $5 worth of coupons printed inside the box
- 2 free yoga mats from Kellogg's
|My receipt from a recent shopping trip. |
In blue, the total I paid for my shop: $65.07
In red, the total savings from coupons: $40.04
Many items were price matched, for further savings
not reflected on the savings calculated on the recipt.
Couponing in Canada is not quite as extreme as it can be in the US (you may have seen the TLC show Extreme Couponing), but a little bit of effort can still get you some free products, and great deals on many grocery items by matching up coupons and sale prices.
If you're interested in knowing more about couponing and price matching, I recommend you visit SaveaLoonie.com and check out the "How to coupon" button or MrsJanuary.com and look for the "start here" tab. These sites explain all the basics of couponing in Canada, post links to new coupons and deals daily, and also offer weekly lists of the best sale prices and coupon match ups for the major Canadian grocery chains, saving you a lot of work.
If you want to see a serious couponer in action, keep your eyes open next time you're at Walmart or the grocery store: you'll recognise us by the binders perched in our carts and the sale flyers clutched in our fists.