Shop Smart & Save…With Coupons

Whether it’s concern about the economy, debt or saving for retirement, everyone worries about money.  But when it comes to cutting back on expenses and daily costs it’s hard to know where to start.

The first step is to monitor your spending habits. By keeping track of the money you spend you can successfully create a budget and identify the areas of spending where you can make cuts. Once you have a solid understanding of your personal and family spending habits, you can begin to implement strategies to reduce your expenses and cut back on the amount of hard earned money that leaves your pocket each month.

One strategy to slash your flexible expenses is to shop smart with coupons.  Over the last year Canadians have turned couponing into an art form.  With more and more consumers look for ways to save a buck, manufacturers are increasing their couponing strategies to entice your to buy their product.  However, as couponing becomes more popular and increasingly necessary for Canadian families, it’s difficult to know where to begin.

Following the tips on this list of Couponing Do’s and Don’ts is a great way to get your feet wet and take advantage of the manufacturer and store rebates being offered to Canadians and their families.

  • Do clip coupons for the products you use on a regular basis.
  • Do keep your coupons handy when you write your shopping list.
  • Do match coupons to sale items in weekly flyers
  • Do a regular coupon clean-out and toss expired coupons.
  • Do have your coupons organized when you reach the checkout (be courteous to other customers)
  • Do trade coupons with your friends.
  • Do learn store policies on the use of coupons.
  • Do pay attention to the cashier and make sure every coupon is being deducted from your bill.
  • Do read your coupons carefully, making sure you have the right product and quantity.
  • Don’t be embarrassed to use coupons; every dollar you save is money in your pocket.
  • Don’t buy a product you do not regularly use just because you have a coupon – that isn’t savings.
  • Don’t purchases more than you need. This isn’t a good use of your money.
  • Don’t copy coupons.  It’s illegal.

Jeffrey Schwartz is the Executive Director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada and President of the Credit Association of Greater Toronto (CAGT). Consolidated Credit is a national non-profit credit counselling organization that teaches consumers about personal finance through web-based budget and debt analysis tools, financial literacy community outreach programs and in-person or telephone counselling. Visit www.consolidatedcredit.ca for more information on credit counseling, debt management and budgeting.