Day one

I can’t believe it’s the first day already!  I have thought and talked about this idea so much I wasn’t sure I was actually going to do it.  Well, here we are, March 1st – the first day of Extreme Couponing.  I’ve done quite a bit of research leading up to this moment, and as I have a few leftover groceries from last month and am not in need of buying anything today, I’m going to give a rundown of what I’ve learned so far.

I started a few weeks ago by joining different coupon websites.  I am now a member of Groupon.com, Teambuy.ca, Livingsocial.com, Wagjag.com, and Dealfind.com – all of which are greatly increasing the amount of junkmail coming to my Hotmail account, but are also sending me good deals on restaurants, shops, spas, and entertainment.  These sites are group-buying websites, where products or services are offered at extreme discounts, but the deals only go through if enough people purchase the product/service.

I am also now a member of Livingwell.ca and TheHealthyShopper.ca, which offer printable coupons for their members (free to join, although The Healthy Shopper makes you fill out a very long, annoying survey before you become a member). And I signed up to save.ca, P&G brandsaver.ca, websaver.ca, and gocoupons.ca, where once subscribed (also free), you can chose the coupons you want and they will send them to you in the mail (although you usually have to choose a minimum number of coupons).

Finally there are deal directories that show coupons, flyers, freebies and other deals, such as smartcanucks.ca, freestuffcanadaguide.ca, fabuloussavings.ca, flyerland.ca, and redflagdeals.com.

My favourite online resource so far is mrsjanuary.com, run by a 25-year-old stay-at-home mom in Mississauga.  She offers tons of advice for the newbie couponer and updates the site often with what’s on sale, coupons, free stuff and her spending habits.

my pile of coupons

My pile of coupons to get me started.

Although I’m enjoying my pile of coupons that I acquired online, and the few my grandmother clipped for me from the newspaper (including one for Trogan condoms – thanks nana!), I’m a bit intimidated of how to use them.  I also have quite a few concerns about this month. Will I end up buying a lot of things I don’t need or purchase brand names that aren’t as good (sustainable, eco friendly, etc) just because I have a coupon for them?  Am I actually going to save money? How am I going to buy meat and produce?  I generally don’t eat a lot of processed or packaged food.

On the bright side, I can’t walk into a store, browse, and buy stuff just because it looks good.  Maybe I will save money, if only because it limits what I can buy.  I will have to plan it out.  No spontaneous shopping.