Who Wants Free Diapers???
Free diapers? Now I thought that title might get your attention…And this is not just a ploy to get to you read my blog either, it’s the truth! I have a confession to make…my name is Carly Russell-Huntley and I am an extreme couponer (“Hi Carly” is what you would all reply if we were in a support group right now.) It has become quite an addiction over the past few months, but I believe a healthy one as it allows me to get hundreds of dollars worth of household items for FREE!
I’m sure most of you have heard of or watched the show on TLC called “Extreme Couponing” where people in the USA can go to a grocery store and walk out with thousands of dollars worth of groceries for free by simply by using coupons. Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but Canada has different rules for coupons. So,unfortunately, we’re not able to go this “extreme”, but we can still get lots of stuff free or extremely cheap by using coupons. My motto nowadays is, “If I can’t get it cheaper, I won’t buy it!”
I started couponing five months ago while on maternity leave waiting for my son to arrive. Since then I have managed to stockpile enough diapers to last us until he is two years old and the most I ever paid for a bag is $5 (that felt very expensive to me as I had gotten almost all of them for free!)
The most common reaction I get from people when I tell them I coupon is that they would love to learn but they just don’t have time (particularly moms.) This is totally untrue. Once you know the basics on how to plan and organize your coupons, you literally only need a couple hours a week. You’ll be amazed at how much money you can save for such little time!
My friends have been begging me to teach them how to do this so I thought I’d answer some of their questions here:
Question #1: How do I start couponing?
I learned how to coupon from internet sites. My two favourite ones are www.smartcanucks.ca and www.mrsjanuary.com (She is my idol!) Both sites offer information about latest freebies or coupons are out there as well as frugal tips to save you money on a daily basis. I suggest going to Mrs. January’s site first and clicking on the “Start Here” tab. You’ll find all sorts of articles on different ways of couponing in Canada. Also I recommend signing up for Mrs. January’s daily email as this will update you on all the cool free stuff you can get each day so you don’t have to remember to check the site.
Question #2: Where do I find coupons?
Coupons are literally everywhere once you know where to look. One of the most popular ways toget them is to order them on coupon web pages. You simply click on the coupons you want and they will mail them to you. The best sites for this are www.save.ca , www.websaver.ca and www.brandsaver.ca. Check these sites often as there are always new coupons to order. There are also tons of coupons you can print off on the internet and companies are always giving coupons away when you “like” them on Facebook (they also give away free stuff this way so I recommend checking out www.smartcanucks.ca first thing in the morning to find out about these offers as they usually go quick!) And of course there are lots of coupons up for grabs at local grocery stores. Next time you go shopping, just be aware and look for them and you’ll be amazed at how many you can find.
Also I’m sure you’ve heard of collective buying sites which offer all kinds of products, often at half price. There are now dozens of other companies in each city across Canada offering these deals which are a great way to save money on places and services you already spend money on. For instance, UsedVictoria just started offering a daily deal (www.deals.usedvictoria.com) and their first one was a grocery gift card valued at $20 which you could buy for $10! That’s literally cutting your grocery bill in half before even using a coupon!
Question #3: I would love to start couponing but I’m embarrassed to go to the store with a ton of coupons and hold up lines at the cashier...
This was one of my biggest fears when I started but there are definitely ways to make your trips to the store as stress free and pleasant as possible. First, come prepared! Make a detailed list of what products you are purchasing with coupons and organize your coupons in order of what you are going to ring through first. The more organized you are, the quicker the transaction and the happier the cashier will be to ring you through. Second, if you have a bunch of coupons, purchase your order at customer service instead of through the cashiers. That way you are not holding up a bunch of people, plus the cashiers at customer service are generally more knowledgeable about processing coupons.
Question #4: How do I get free diapers?
Baby products companies give the impression they want to give their stuff away for free as they are always sending you coupons for their products. Sign up for their programs online and they will send you coupons in the mail. Pampers and Huggies are always offering coupons as well as formula companies like Similac and Enfamil.
Also, get your friends and families to sign up so they can pass on these coupons to you! There are some grocery stores (Save-on-Foods and London Drugs in Victoria) that offer “stacking” which means you can use more than one coupon (they all have be different ones though) on one product. You can save up several diaper coupons and then wait for the diapers to go on sale and use them all on one pack of diapers and hopefully get them free! Just be aware of the rules written on each coupon. If it says “cannot be combined with any other offer” you can’t use
this coupon to stack. I find the coupons you receive directly from the manufacturer usually do not state this (Huggies coupons do not have this restriction).
It may seem a bit overwhelming at first, but trust me, after you do it a couple of times, it will all make sense and you will feel fabulous saving all that cash. And as I’m constantly learning new things about couponing, I thought it might be helpful to post a new tip each week at the end of my blog so watch out for this next week. Happy couponing!