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Frugal Fanny talks coupons

September 2012 | Frugal Fanny

Coupons, coupons, coupons! For any of you who have watched Extreme Couponing, it is hard not to feel envious, and a little stunned, at how much some people in the US save by using coupons. True some of them are excessive (really who needs THAT much toilet paper?) but it is amazing what they are able to save. I am so envious!

It is challenging to do this in Canada but you can save money using coupons. In the US they seem to have much broader access to coupons and it appears that many of the stores down south will accept coupon “stacking” (where you can use more than one coupon at a time on an item – fantastic savings). The only store in Canada I’ve been able to find that will allow stacking is London Drugs – and you can save a significant amount of money when you do this! On one shopping trip to London Drugs I bought a number of items on sale and I had one or more coupons for each. The total value was $88.45 and I paid $34.49! I was amazed!

I have heard recently from a fellow Frugal Fanny that WalMart will also accept coupon stacking.  I haven’t tried it yet myself, but I’m hopeful.
One challenge with using couponing is organizing the darn things so that you use them. Initially I used a little accordion holder but quickly found that wasn’t workable with the amount of coupons I had.

I switched to using a binder with inserts for holding sports cards as they have little pockets you can file your coupons in. To use the binder method I found I needed to sit down with flyers, my shopping list and my coupon binder to go through and pick out the coupons I needed to make sure they were in my purse when I went shopping. Although my coupons were very organized, I found that I would be out shopping, see an item I needed on sale but my coupons were at home!

Then a friend sent me a link to The Couponizer. Now this is a great organizing method and way more convenient. This little book not only is great for organizing it fits in my purse so I ALWAYS have my coupons with me and can take advantage of those times I come across a good sale while I’m out and about. Although I did flinch when one of my friends asked, “are you one of those crazy extreme couponers?” when she saw it, I love it for its convenience because you don’t save money using coupons if you don’t have them with you.

So where do you find coupons? Some of the best options I have found are

Some tricks for using coupons

Create an email specifically for signing up for websites, deals and coupons – then your regular account doesn’t get cluttered up with emails.
Whenever possible, combine a coupon with an item that is on sale – increase your savings!

Organize! Organizing your coupons will make your life and savings much easier. Use a Couponizer or a binder with sport card inserts. Organize your coupons by theme – canned goods, health and beauty, cleaning products, etc.

When planning your shopping list for the week, check through flyers and your coupon binder. Make a note beside the items you have coupons for so you remember to use them.

Take advantage of sales and coupons and develop a “stockpile” in your home – a supply of items you use often.

A warning about coupons – just because you have a coupon doesn’t mean you need that item! It’s tempting to buy something you have a coupon for but ask yourself “is this something we need or will use?” before buying.

There are several deal sites on the internet that can alert you to fantastic deals in your community. They do require you to sign up to their site but you can use your frugal email account!

There are also many websites that can provide you with great information on sales, deals, coupons, strategies, tips and ideas:

Frugal Fanny is a Burnside Gorge resident on a personal journey to save money and reduce household spending. To connect with Fanny, send her an email.