How To Get Started With Couponing

How to get started with couponingYou may have seen the show Extreme Couponing, or may have been stuck behind an "extreme couponer" at the checkout. How do they do it? Where do they get those coupons from? Does it take a long time to plan and get organized? Well, read on to find out!

I didn't use coupons until a few years ago when I discovered coupon inserts in our local flyers. When I looked through them, I would clip the few coupons I thought I would need and recycled the rest. Back then, I could hold these few coupons in my wallet and still find them easily. Over time, I realized that you could actually get free items, or even make money with coupons!

This was a whole new revelation. I began saving coupons for products that I didn't ordinarily use on the chance that I could pick up a great deal. Generally, these bargains were not on my tested and true brands. Often, I had to purchase something we'd never tried before, but it was close to free or free. At that price, we could definitely afford to try it out!

Gradually, a small stockpile began to take shape. To keep clutter to a minimum, the products that I couldn't use before the expiry date or didn't need were either donated or shared with others. My ever expanding coupon collection needed a new home, so I now keep them in a sturdy pencil case. Extra coupons that I may not use but are still valid, I keep in a letter tray.

Years have gone by since my first days of couponing and I now have enough for our household that I don't need to jump on every sale. In fact, if you do miss a sale, keep in mind that sales occur in cycles and another is right around the corner.

Related: What To Do When Something You Already Bought Goes On Sale

Know What You Need

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How to Budget Without Tracking Every Dollar

How to budget without tracking every dollarFor most people, 'budget' is an ugly word. Very often when we hear it on the news, it's usually about the government spending too much, followed by discussions about services or programs being cut to get the 'budget' back in balance. Personally, I prefer the term 'spending plan'. It sounds less restrictive.

In my former role as a debt counsellor, I helped many clients with their spending plans, usually trying to find out where their spending had gone off the rails and brought them to my office. What I learned from those days was that many people are not fully aware of where their money goes. Some were better than others, mind you, but it wasn't until we started putting things on paper that the light bulbs went on. "Really, is that what I spend at the coffee shop every month?"

Related: Why You May Not Need An Emergency Fund

After going through all of the items on the spreadsheet I used with clients to mark down their monthly spending, the bottom of the sheet had a number indicating what was left over at the end of each month, based on what the clients told me they spent. Sometimes the number was positive but other times it was negative, meaning the client was over spending. I would ask, "Does that number look right to you?"

Occasionally the answer was yes. More often, the answer was no, especially when the number at the bottom of the spreadsheet suggested the client had money left over based on the numbers he or she had given me. When the answer was no, I would tell the client, "Okay, that just means that something is missing from the list or some of these numbers are higher than what we have here".

Budgeting Can Be A Lot Of Work

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Best Deal EVER On The Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite 4% Cash Back Credit Card

Best deal on the Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite 4% cash back credit card

The Scotia Momentum Visa Infinite has been one of the best cash back credit card available to Canadians for the past couple of years after the MBNA Smart Cash was slightly devalued, but there were two big things stopping many Canadians, including myself, from applying for one.

  1. The $99 annual fee.
  2. No sign up bonus for applying, so why switch?

Starting in 2014 Scotiabank has been having regular promotions that really make applying for this card worthwhile. At first it was the annual fee waived for the first year and a $100 gift card if you applied through RateSupermarket. The current 2017 offer is also worth a look:

  • $99 annual fee waived for the first year.
  • $75 gift card available through RateSupermarket.

To get the latest deal, use the link below.

Link: $75 gift card + First Year Free

Why It's One Of The Best Cash Back Cards In Canada

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What To Do When Something You Already Bought Goes On Sale

What to do when something you already bought goes on saleEveryone likes to find a good deal on the things they buy. But, what happens if you buy something, thinking you got a good deal, only to find the same item go down in price after you bought it?

Use Price-Matching

Most retail stores in Canada offer a 30 day price match policy. This means if the price of an item goes down at either the same retailer or a competitor, the store will match the price and refund the difference.

Related: A Complete Guide To Price Matching

There are usually a few stipulations for a store to match a competitor's price on an item:

  • The item has to be identical (brand, size, model, etc) to the one you bought and it has to be available for immediate purchase.
  • Specific sales from competitors usually aren't honored such as ‘going out of business' sales, advertising misprints, limited quantity sales, holiday sales or sales that involve buying multiple quantities of the same item.
  • In order for the store to match the competitor price you'll need to show proof (an advertisement) of the item with the lower price.

My Costco Price-Match Experience

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