20 Jul 2011

Trying to Save a Buck or Two (Loonie or a Toonie)--COUPONING!

I just got my latest Nestle coupons package in the mail, which leads me to today's post.

I have always been a bargain shopper or a person who tries not to spend full retail price on the merchandise I buy, whether it's clothing, food, or anything else for that matter. Restaurant specials, buy 1 get 1 deals are always nice. The bargain shopping usually led to a bit of shopaholicism for things like clothing and especially shoes!

Then came babies! When baby # 1 arrived, I refused to spend full price on diapers or food.

I found an awesome place that sold "seconds" for diapers. Yes, they exist. They sold diapers at an amazing price for a gigantic bag of 120 diapers. They were not specially packaged in air-tight bags and had been deemed not acceptable for packaging by manufacturing quality control.

The diapers had small things wrong with them, such as the velcro tab was slightly short or long. Or the cartoon character print was slightly off colour or hard to make out. Boohoo. I really didn't care if I could see a certain red character in full, since it was just going to wind up in the garbage anyway! Even better, if you found that one of the diapers was just way too wonky and unuseable you could return it and swap for a better one. This is what I call a great deal and great customer service!

I also began to "stalk" the Thursday flyers in the newspaper. This is what I look forward to every week...the flyers...It is also the only thing I read these days, aside from the random magazine in a doctor's waiting room.

Like a pro, I quickly speed read and scan through up to 8 or so flyers every week to see who has the best deal on cereals, jarred baby foods, formulas, diapers, wipies, and on and on! I can always count on my go-to stores to usually have the best deals every couple of months. I also go online to see the flyers now and then, but I do prefer a good old fashioned paper in my hands--it's easier to circle and star the deals!

This leads me to my other new obsession. Tracking down as many diapers and baby food coupons for any brand. I have no preference as to what type of diapers my babies wear, as long as they do the job. As for food, I do have a preference for certain brands of purees and meals made for my growing boys, who are not yet toddling, but ready for such foods.

If you have twins, as many know, stores often will give a twins' discount...although many of the major stores are starting to steer away from that as the number of twins born continues to rise. Not cool. I have found some places though that do ensure that they help out families of multiples. I registered online with a couple of companies and was prompted to contact customer service if I have twins to request duplicates of sample packages and regular coupons and deals to come in the mail. This is a nice bonus.

One of my favourite shows to watch lately is called, Extreme Couponing. With the stock market crash in 2008, couponing has been on the rise for many families. Coincidentally, my first son was born in 2008. The thing that gets me and keeps me watching this show, is how much the United States' manufacturers are willing to give away!

Watching this show, you will see average families, trying to save a buck or two, rummaging through garbage bins, soliciting neighbours for their weekly flyers, registering online for e-coupons from grocers and any other way they can get ahold of this free money!

What continues to amaze me, is many of the grocers double the coupon discount and often these extreme couponing super-heros walk out of the store taking their merchandise with them, all the while being PAID to do so! Amazing!

People put in long hours to source the flyers, find the best deals and target the stores in which they make their coupon buys, usually in one huge shopping spree! Some of these people work more than 60 hours a week tracking down flyers, meticulously tagging, labelling, filing the coupons in filing systems. The stock they maintain in their own homes is unbelievable!

One of the women on the show had fraternal twins. She was a coupon clipping superwoman. She said she tries to save in any way she can and her best savings ever was having twins--2 for the price of 1 for her hospital labour and delivery stay! Cute.

Previously I wrote about being glad to live in Canada for all the benefits we receive...but when it comes to couponing, I think I live on the wrong side of the border!

Either way, I continue to look for the deals and use the coupons when such deals show up. If a box of diapers is advertised as $11.00 off, then why wouldn't I want to throw in my $3.00 off coupon for the added discount? Coupons are not hard to clip and save and really not hard to file. I often keep some coupons in my car's glove box, some in my wallet and some in my diaper bag, just in case I come across a great deal.

I can't see Canadian couponing ever really getting to the extreme of our American counterparts, as many of our coupons already read statements such as, "Not to be used in combination with any other offer." Others might stipulate that they cannot be used on items already on sale, for example. The rules here seem to be tighter. We cannot "stack" deals as easily--meaning we can't use several coupons on one item being purchased to make it free or nearly free.

On Sunday I went into one of our superstores and neatly organized my items at check-out, all which were on sale, along with their corresponding coupon. The cashier was so stressed out trying to manage my 9 coupons. I can only imagine how she'd react if she had been presented with hundreds of coupons as such Extreme Couponers do to cashiers.

As a mom of twins, my top coupon clipping is done for:
Baby food
Baby "snacks," puffs, pinwheels, etc.

The last time I bought my twins' baby foods, purees and toddler recipes, I encountered another mother in the aisle, whose eyes practically bugged right out of her head when she saw my stack of 75+ jars of food, big and small. They were all on sale AND I had coupons! So if I can use them, I'm gonna use them!

When I come into coupons that are for brands I don't use, I sometimes put a free ad up on the local classifieds website and send them off to someone in need.

You can also often see formula coupons/cheques offers to swap on the web classifieds, which is a very resourceful method for moms out there who really want to stretch their hard earned money.

There are many ways to get your hands on decent coupon offers and it doesn't take too much work, unless you go to the Extremes.

I've always heard other people talk like using a coupon is "cheap" or beneath them, however, like the saying goes, "A penny saved is a penny earned." I'd rather keep that $3.00 I saved by using the coupon and put it towards something else, like a coffee or a couple of dinky cars for my sons to get some use out of, rather than spend it on a box of diapers that really will end up in a garbage can in the very near future!

1 comment:

  1. Stumbled from Stumble Me Friday (sorry I'm so late!!) I hope you link up again this week :)