How to get the most out of your couponing

As prices continues to increase, more people are turning to couponing to look for the best deals on different household items. But some might not know where to start.

Change how you shop with price matching and cash back deals, says expert couponer

If this is what you picture when you think about using coupons — a pile of clippings — think again. (Submitted by Catalina Barrios)

As prices continues to increase, more people are turning to couponing for the best deals on different household items. But some might not know where to start.

"Lots of people, when they think about couponing, they think of those … TV shows where you have a cart full, you're holding up the line. It's intimidating," Nichole Schaubroeck, better known as the Coupon Cutie on Instagram and TikTok, told The Homestretch on Thursday.

"But that's not how we coupon really in Canada. We focus on doing small deals, like getting a couple things for free, price matching your groceries, just doing a couple of things at a time to help you save long term."

According to a recent survey from Angus Reid and the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University, 18 per cent of Albertans are using coupons more than they did six months ago.

Canada-wide, consumers under the age of 35 are more than twice as likely to have increased their coupon use compared with consumers over the age of 55. If more coupons were available, 68 per cent of people would use them more often — and Schaubroeck, based in Manitoba, is seeing that increased interest.

She's been couponing for nine years and has an Instagram page with over 170,000 followers. She posts deals and instructions for how to navigate the world of saving as you shop. She says it's rare that she can't find some kind of deal for an item.

"Every time I go to the store, I'm not just buying something. I'm looking up price matches, I'm seeing if there's a coupon or if there's cash back," she says. "It's completely different than just grabbing something off the shelf. I'm always thinking, is it cheaper somewhere else?"

About the apps

If you're thinking of couponing as clipping out a pile of paper coupons and holding up the line at the grocery store, think again. While some coupons are still printed, Schaubroeck says there are lots of deals you can find electronically.

If people are interested in seriously couponing, she recommends downloading the PC Optimum app for points-based offers, as well as Checkout 51 and the Flipp app for earning cash back and price matching.

Schaubroeck advises to try buying things when they are on sale, before you completely run out and need them. Those couple of cents saved might not seem like a lot, but they can make a big difference down the road.

"Start looking for deals wherever you are — you know, clearance items, bulk discounts if you can."

Another tip is to look for items that are commonly on sale. Schaubroeck says you can often find heavy discounts for toothpaste, toilet paper and menstrual pads.

For example, she says last week at Walmart, pads were on sale for $4. Combine that with a cashback deal on Checkout 51 for $4 back and "you could get the box completely free."

Frozen french fries are another item that, with a little work, can be really cheap or free.

On the other hand, fresh fruits and vegetables don't usually have coupons, but Schaubroeck says you can still save money on those items by using price-matching with other grocery stores or getting cash back. 

With files from The Homestretch


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