Get out the scissors and save some money!

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Statistics Canada reports that the average Canadian household spends $241 per person on food each month. Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do to avoid paying this bill – we all have to eat!

Statistics Canada reports that the average Canadian household spends $241 per person on food each month. Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do to avoid paying this bill – we all have to eat! But you can significantly reduce your food budget as well as what you pay for personal hygiene products and household supplies like cleaners, toilet paper, and laundry detergent by investing a little time and effort in a popular money-saving trend – couponing!
Due to television series’ like Extreme Couponing, many people may be reluctant to try couponing themselves; the show gives it an unpopular label by focusing on the most extreme ‘couponers’ who spend the equivalent of a full-time job each week planning strategies, clipping coupons, and visiting stores, etc.
Thankfully the average Canadian can take part in this trend without dedicating nearly as much time; they can easily avoid raiding neighbours’ recycling bins and dumpster diving for coupon inserts, spending 12 hours in one store, having their ‘stockpiles’ occupying entire rooms in their homes, or making their children coupon-clipping slaves.
There are a few common ways coupons are distributed to the public: as newspaper inserts, on product packaging, or by ordering or printing them online. Some companies offer coupons to customers who email feedback about their products. You can also ask friends and family members to keep their coupons for you.
Once they are collected, clip the coupons and keep them in one location. You don’t need large binders like they show on TV; a small, discreet folder will work just fine. Carry it with you when you go shopping. The best way to save is by pairing coupons with sales; go through flyers before heading out so you can put the needed coupons aside to save time at the register.
Some stores have price-matching policies that allow you to purchase certain products for the same price advertised at another store; it saves time to get your entire list in one location and saves travelling costs. Who doesn’t want to save money on gas? And these deals can also be paired with coupons.
Reward cards also increase savings. Many stores offer points for buying certain products, which can then be redeemed for in-store cash. Often, you will still get the same amount of points even if you pay less for the product using coupons. Doesn’t that sweeten the offer?
Lastly, stock-up. And I don’t mean taking over the spare bedroom! When you can buy a product for a really good price, don’t be afraid to grab a few more than you generally would,    if it’s non-perishable. Products generally go on sale in rotations every few months; if you were to buy only what you need right now, you risk having to pay full price to get you through until the next sale.
Mainly, couponing simply requires patience and dedication as well as some time to catch on to the techniques. It could become a very well-paying and money-saving part-time job!

Allyson Beauregard, Editor