Monday, 28 May 2012

The Art of Couponing

Over the past couple of months some of my friends have asked me about my couponing addiction and just how that whole coupon thing works so I decided that I would write a blog post on the topic. Now I cannot claim to be a couponing expert in any way, shape or form but I have been doing it for a while now and have actually managed to save a lot of money on my grocery bill. So here is how I do it and hopefully some of this might work for you:

  • First thing you need to do is get coupons. There are 4 basic ways that I do this.
    • There are 4 websites where you can sign up and they will mail them to you. You can also ask some of your friends and family members to sign up as well and to pass along the coupons they won't use. My brother and I do this and its awesome.
    • Tear Pads - many stores (Shoppers Drug Mart, Real Canadian Super Store etc..) have tear pads of coupons either at the main entrance of the store or along the aisle ways. Only take what you are fairly certain you will use and be kind and don't hog them all:)
    • There are a few places online that you are able to print off coupons from:
    •  Newspaper inserts - every few weeks coupon inserts can be found in local newspapers. I have relatives that save these inserts for me as well so that I am able to stock up on products that me and my family love.
There are a couple other ways to gather coupons but I will just stick with the basics for this post and maybe expand upon it another time:)
  • So now that you have the coupons, what to do with them?? Well the best way to get started is to get organized! You don't have to be super organized but if you are a red hot mess and your coupons are everywhere, in you purse, in an envelope, stuck in your car...couponing will not be very successful. As most people know I am not an extremely organized person but I have a binder (see photo below) and I place each coupon in a plastic trading card sheet. Now how you want to organize them after that is up to you, I personally stick all my food coupons together, all my shampoo coupons together, all my toothpaste together etc... this is very helpful when you are actually in a store and want to see if you have a coupon for a specific product. 
yep, I'm a nerd, The Little Mermaid from when I was a child and collected cards.

a bit of a mess since I'm in the middle of reorganizing! Will show another pic once I'm done

 Now I know that it might sound like a lot of work so far but really it isn't. Especially once you get all set up it is actually very easy to maintain. One side note is that when you have more than one coupon for the same product I like to slip them in the same spot in expiry date order. So that the ones that expire the soonest are the ones that I will grab and use first.

  • Ok, so now you've got the coupons, you're organized and you're ready to start shopping!! What I like to do next is make out a LIST!! I find if I don't do this it won't matter how many coupons I have I will always spend more money than I had planned on. Couponing is only good if you are actually saving money on items you already use and NOT spending money (but saving a little) on things your family won't use (or don't really need). To start off I recommend taking your weekly grocery list (you do make one right??) with all the sales and see if you have any coupons that will make those items cost even less. When I'm making my list I have a basic price in my head for each item that I won't pay more than. For example: Salad dressing - I won't pay more than $1.00 for Kraft salad dressing, if its on sale for a $1.00 and I have a coupon that will make it less than that's even better but I won't use a coupon for it when it's full price at $2.49 I will wait until I can get it for $1.00
  • Once you have your list made and are ready to go shopping, I usually pull out the coupons that I KNOW I will be using and put them in an envelope so that when it comes time to pay I will just put the appropriate coupon with the product on the belt for the cashier to scan through. So with your coupons in an envelope, your coupon binder in your purse (in case you spot a good deal/something you need and you have a coupon for it) head on out and start shopping!!!
 After you have been couponing a couple times or if you are feeling extremely adventurous you can up your savings potential and ease of shopping by price matching on top of couponing. As far as I know there are two main stores that will price match and probably have what you are looking for: 1. Walmart 2. The Real Canadian Superstore. I have price matched and couponed at both stores and generally speaking have never had a problem. Here is a generalized description of how I price match:

  • Write out your grocery list by store. Under each store name write your item, size and price. Make sure you bring the flyers with you when grocery shopping. It helps to circle the items you are price matching and fold that page for easy reference
  • Once everything is in your buggy and you are ready to check out I like to begin by placing everything on the belt that you are NOT price matching  (with the appropriate coupons if I have any) and then I like to smile and let the cashier know that at the end of my order are the items I will be price matching. I find if I give them a heads up they tend to appreciate it.
  • Then I place the first flyer followed by the items that I will be price matching from that flyer. If I have any coupons for those items I place them with the product. Then I lay down the next flyer and place those items behind it and so forth and so on until all of my items are on the belt.
  • If anyone comes up behind me in line I kindly smile and say 'I just want to let you know that I may be a bit longer because I am price matching and couponing' More often than not people are interested in watching or they thank me for letting them know and move to another line. I really think it is a simple courtesy to let people know this.
Those are the basics and I know that it sounds like a lot but it really isn't once you get going.

Now I'm going to get up on my soapbox for a second here and say that, personally, I and my girls, have been blessed with a husband and father, who works incredibly hard and long hours to support our family. In turn this allows me to work minimal hours and home school our girls. In response to that I (and this is me personally) feel called by God to be extremely frugal with our grocery money (as well as other areas of our budget) and wherever possible to save, even if it means a little more work and effort on my part. So I clip coupons, I spend more time writing out my grocery list, I deal with cranky cashiers and don't always get things that I want but at the end of the day I feel that I have done my best with what I have been so graciously given. End of soapboxing. (I really don't think that's a word but I like it, so I'm going to keep I'm done:)

A couple great websites to check out that helped me get started:
Let me know if anything is confusing or if you have any questions at all!!


  1. And then there is SDM. Oh how I love you. 20X points plus coupies = $200 in FREE at least 2 times a year. Thanks from a fellow couponer! Kara

    1. Oh I love Shoppers Optimum points!! I was thinking that I could do a whole post on SDM:) That's how good the program is.