Extreme couponer offers P.E.I. workshops

A Stratford, P.E.I., woman is offering workshops on how to save money through extreme couponing.

Scissor wizzard saves hundreds of dollars

A Stratford, P.E.I., woman is offering workshops on how to save money through extreme couponing.

Sondra Ross, a mother of three with another on the way, began taking coupons seriously a few months ago to fight a growing grocery bill. 

She said she has already saved more than $600. On a great day, she cuts her family of five’s grocery bill in half.

"That's happened a few times. I’m no pro, but I'm still learning. It takes a lot of planning, a lot of thought," she said.

The real savings comes from getting freebies when they’re on offer.

"The prices just keep going up and up and I find it harder and harder. Before I started couponing, I was just like, ‘How am I going to get all this stuff? We need it,’" she said. "Couponing is extremely important for us."

She decided to share her skills with others. Her first workshop is in Charlottetown next week and it’s already sold out.

A second class in February is filling up and she has been asked to speak to budding extreme couponers in other parts of the Island. A Facebook group, Extreme Couponing P.E.I., helps people share tips and deals.

Ross said she got hooked the first time a coupon gave her $4 off a box of headache pills. She bought nine boxes.

"In my head I was saying, 'I can't believe it, I can't believe it!’ I left the store smiling from ear to ear," she said.

Husband a convert

She’s even spreading her enthusiasm to her husband, Patrick. He said he was initially sceptical, but was won over.

"Look at the money we've saved," he said. "I went into a store and I tried it once. I had the nervous feeling and the excitement."

Ross puts the money she saves using coupons to products that don't typically have coupons, like milk, meat and produce.

"With a budget of $150, I find meat, dog food, diapers can take a good chunk out of that, so having the coupons saves you just that little bit. It gets you through," she said.

"A family of five on one salary needs to maximize every dollar. We have to come up with different ways to stretch our budget."

The workshops cover how to begin, how to organize, coupon lingo, and store coupon policies.