I'm addicted to couponing! Well more so to saving money. However, couponing has become another way to help me save the most. I talked last time about the TLC show Extreme Couponing. People just go nuts buying and storing. Going through trash cans and other people's papers to find coupons. They have limits at their stores to how many coupons they can use during a transaction, but nothing compared to the limitations we Canadians face. We cannot double up our coupons. What I have found out in just a mere two weeks is that this means you cannot just institute coupons alone. As a person who used to buy the "no name" or store brands, I have learned that this isn't enough alone either. I have learned a lot watching Extreme Couponing these past two weeks, and a lot from friends. I want to pass on this knowledge to you.
First of all, my first time doing this, and I have saved around $50-$100. I also didn't have to go back to the store for my typical "extras" and I was in my $300. budget that I plan for myself, which I typically go way over. My "extras" this time were babyfood jars that went on sale. Toilet paper that went on sale and I used my coupon. As well as more diapers, with of course coupon use. With four kids milk will always be an extra. Still better than the other extras.
So how did I save $50-$100. No, I did not do it all on coupons. I waited until Wednesday evening when our flyers and Community paper come to the house. (Why we haven't received one in three years, I don't know. But we do now.) I look through each and every one of the flyers. Of course I really don't need the ones from Future Shop or The Brick, so those are a quick toss. The rest, I look to see what is on sale. Things that I actually use. I then check the flyer to see what store is close to my home. There is no point in driving half way across the city for a good price. In this day and age with the cost of gas so volatile, you'll be spending your savings in gas. See if you can find what you like in flyers for stores closest to you.
Once you got your stores down, see what is the same in each flyer. You may not need to drive to all the stores with sale flyers. Make sure you know what the conditions of your coupons are. Know what the retail cost of your item is. It may change from store to store. But this will help you determine what I call your "true savings". Don't necessarily buy 2 of something just because it is half off. Save buying 2 of something if it's half off if you have a coupon or it is something you use very frequently. Toilet paper, diapers, laundry soap. These types of consumables go very quickly, especially if you have a large family. If those types of things don't go fast in your home. Do it for the things that do. Otherwise you are going to have a stock pile that goes on for years and it may not be useful at that point in time. Which is another waste of money. I think the most sensible is just stocking up as you would do if you were putting money in savings. Typically you want enough in there to live off of for six months if God forbid something happens like the loss of a job. Most important of all is making sure to match up your coupons to the sale items.
Here are some more tips:
1) Join sites that help you obtain coupons like websaver.ca and save.ca and gocoupons.ca.
2) Swap coupons with friends. They may have something that you need and they don't and vice versa.
3) Utilize your stores cards.
Safeway has their club card. Bringing costs down a buck or two. Or allowing you to have their sales, then tack on your coupons to bring it lower.
Shopper's Drug Mart has a card that racks up points and in turn can help you take off money your purchases. We wait and use these once a year around Christmas time. Shopper's Drug Mart typically has a great deal with your points then. Oh, make sure you bring your own bag as they take on money for each bag you use.
Superstore also makes you pay for your bags. To help save money invest in their bins. A little goes a long way in the end. They also have a coupon wall when you first walk in. Utilize it! You never know what might be there that you could use. But remember only do coupons for the things you actually use.
Sobey's has a card that works like Shopper's Drug Mart where you earn points that help you get money off your purchases after a certain amount accumulated. Also if you bring your own bag, they take off 3 cents for every bag you use. It's not a lot, but every little bit helps.
4)Not everything is going to have a coupon. Wait until it goes on sale. If you see something on sale that you use make sure you know what the retail price is. I like to go with the stuff that is clearly half off. Then only buy one that shopping period. I'm still saving money.
I hope this has helped just a little. I will definitely share more as I discover more. Happy Couponing!