The minimalist guide to couponing
Minimalist guide to couponing
I’ll be the first to admit it – couponing isn’t easy. It takes time to learn how everything works, to grow a stockpile and to know a good deal when you see one.
There are certainly ways to make couponing easier, though. It doesn’t have to be so difficult!
1. Stay organized
Being organized is key when it comes to… well, just about anything in life – but especially couponing. If you want to do some extreme couponing, you will need to be even moreorganized.
Find a couponing organization system that works well for you (I recommend the binder method – but do what fits well with your lifestyle) and keep that system organized. Clip and file your coupons as soon as possible and always remember to remove expired coupons at least once per month.
2. Don’t clip every coupon
Even if you want to be an extreme couponer, you really don’t need to clip every single coupon you come across. When you start using coupons often, you will see just how easy it is to accumulate a mountain of coupons. And who wants to clip a mountain of coupons all the time? I know I sure don’t.
Instead of clipping all of your coupons, only clip the ones that you know for sure you will use, and the ones you think you might use.
Donate the rest, or set them aside for coupon trades or trains (if you set them aside, keep them organized by separating by category and removing expired coupons every month).
3. Review weekly coupon match-ups
When it comes to going through flyers and matching sale items up with your coupons, let someone else do the work to make couponing easier for you.
Every Thursday, we post Canadian coupon match-ups. These match-ups list all of the best deals at various stores in Canada. If there are coupons to match up to those deals, we will let you know about those as well.
Watch for the items with a red star – those are the really good deals.
4. Shop once per week (or less)
Instead of shopping multiple times per week to get a whole bunch of deals, limit your shopping trips to one per week. This will save you time and gas (or transit) money.
Sure, this might mean you miss out on a few deals. But guess what? You don’t have to get in on every deal. I promise there is another great one right around the corner.
To make things even easier, shop only at one store (one that allows price matching, so you can still pick up the great deals that are on sale at other stores).
5. Prepare in advance
Before every shopping trip, make sure that you are prepared in every way possible.
Have all of your flyers (for price matching) and coupons ready to go, and don’t ever leave the house without a shopping list. Prepare as much in advance as you can.
Being prepared is one simple thing that you can do to easily cut down on the amount of time you spend shopping and checking out at the grocery store.
Although couponing can be hard work, it doesn’t have to be that hard. With some practice and determination, you too can be a couponer (or extreme couponer, if that’s what you want to be!) without much effort.
Simplify things as much as possible to make couponing easier for you.
I like the only shop once per week rule. in the beginning you want to go everyday, hunt and go crazy on the deals you find… eventually you realize your spending way too much money on crap you dont need ( my prime example was swiffer duster kits for .64 cents… great deal, but i dont ever use them now and end up pawning them off on friends since i bought a crazy amount cause it was “such a good deal” ..when really it was a waste of money since i dont use them)
you dont need to hunt every deal and buy crap just cause its cheap 😉
I subscribed the other day and just got an email full of this weeks coupons. I am confused though, is it coupons, or prices of sale items from flyers? Maybe I can’t view it properly on my phone or something? On my phone it looks like a list of sale items from different stores. Thanks for your help.
I agree with Lauren. There are phases each new couponer goes through; from buying everything either because it’s a great deal, or you feel you have to use your coupons just because you have one, to realizing good deals come around again, and you really don’t like seeing your money stockpiled in umteen bottles of various household cleaners. (Yeah, you know what I’m sayin’!?) Having to buy extra shelving to stock things or tripping over it in my bedroom closet isn’t really wise. We all learn to “chill”, use up what we have and go for only what we need or actually do want to stockpile. It’s a learning curve. It’s going from a baby couponer to a wiser, mature couponer!
couponing is alot of fun. I use an accordian folder and keep it in my purse. I go through the flyers and see what is a good deal and match up or i check here.
I coupon fairy the ones i dont want.
I like lauren went a little crazy at first my vice paper towels lol! Now i just get the coupons i need to replenish the stockpile.
Good luck and welcome to the world of couponing!
I started couponing 33 years ago when I lived in the USA. I came back to Canada and there were no coupons to speak of so I gave it up even though I kept my eye out for Canada to catch up. They have to a point and I am happy about it. The only problem I have now is that I live in a remote small town and the local grocery and pharmacy do not get tear pad coupons sent from the manufacturers so I miss out.
For organization I use the binder method but I also keep an envie in my purse with coupons I know I will use cause I often forget the binder when I am just running in for coffee cream . So if my favorite faux chicken is on sale, my coupon is in my purse and ready to take advantage of a good deal
I’ve been couponing for just about a year and I still have stuff from last summers amazing deals in my stockpile. It was too hard to turn down deodorant for .17 cents or free pasta. I got excited about every deal I saw under .50. Until I started thinking through the lifecycle of that product. Did I use it in the last 3 months? Does it have batteries that I need to recycle? And, my favourite, how much salt is in those crackers? Now I ask myself these questions before I buy the product.
Cereal was another purchase I couldn’t pass up. I ended up putting them on freecycle when the boxes were getting near expiry. I also donated to the local public school food drive at Christmas.
I think, in the end, it’s a learning experience on what to buy and how much to buy. Greed vs. Need.
My husband and I have 4 kids, so for me, couponing is a way to get what my family needs and uses most often at the best prices possible. I don’t worry about expiry dates very much because odds are, if it is something we use, it’s never going to see its expiry date. lol. Right now, some of my biggest stockpiles are laundry detergent, deodorant, toothpaste and mouthwash. We had an impressive stockpile of cereal and crackers, but it’s dwindling rapidly! And using seasonal cycles, we have been amassing a lot of wieners in our chest freezer these last few weeks to get through the winter because my kids love hot dogs and KD. 🙂
I’ve been meaning to suggest, Would you (Cassie) consider making a list of what good deals are on different items? Something that one can print out and keep in coupon binder to have handy and know for sure if a sale is a good deal or just a deal. That’d be extremely useful for a brand new couponer. I, for the longest time, didn’t know what a good deal was.
I use coupons on sales so I get alot free or close to, real great savings when extra bills need to be paid some months. I really watch flyers too and learn what goes on sale regularly. Your newsletter has been a lifesaver, thanks for all of the advice!
What Nasly said is great – maybe there is one on the forum I don’t know – I’ve started my own pricelist book with excel. I know I read about it here – about watching the prices of products you use all the time for as long as possible so you know what a “good price” for X is. The problem for me though is the cost-benefit: how much time is it worth to know the best price on cheese? or shampoo?
the problem is that everyone lives in different places and has different favourite products. I can use purex for laundry (and it’s a great price esp. when on sale at costco) BUT my husband has particular preferences for some kitchen products (wrap or spices kind of thing and ’cause he does the lion’s share of cooking I don’t argue). But it means I cannot always buy X brand, but need to buy Y brand even if at it’s lowest ever it’s 1.5x the price of X.
Whew. Sorry for the novel but all to say that it’s hard to do a “price book” for everyone.
All awesome points. My favorite is to shop early in the morning or later at night (like 830-9). The stores aren’t busy, and the cashiers aren’t stressed. It makes shopping more enjoyable, and less stressful.
My other favourite is don’t go looking for tearpads all the time. Find someone who knows when they come out, contact the store, etc. and go when you know they are going to be there. Don’t worry yourself about checking constantly.
Kaela: It is both. We post coupon match-ups/sales every Thursday, in addition to regular deals.
Nasly: Here you go – https://mrsjanuary.com/downloads/free-canada-stockup-price-list.pdf
I always check my coupons and make sure to remove the expired ones every few days. I usually shop once per week but sometimes there is an item that I need so that means a second trip……I am not an extreme couponer but I do clip coupons that I can trade with friends and family…..it’s an awesome hobby!!!!!!!!…love it!