Saturday, February 5, 2011
I'm not cheap, I'm thrifty!
I never bothered with coupons before because it seemed pointless to carry around a piece of paper to save 50 cents if I remembered to use it. But over the past year, I've really started paying attention to my spending habits where food is concerned and decided it was time to get serious about a few things, the first being the reduction of fast food/processed food, the second was to spend less on groceries.
I used to go to Tim Horton's way too much because it was handy and they had vegetarian products. On mornings when I don't have time for breakfast at home, I try to go to McDonald's for a coffee and muffin. The coffee is just as good as Tim's and their small is the size of Tim's medium. When you add a muffin it only costs 10 cents.
When I have time in the mornings, I make coffee and can survive on one cup a day. I get big tins of Maxwell House and add a bit of cinnamon to the grounds to make it taste better. A big can lasts over a month and I get them for sale for under $6, in fact the last time I bought them they were $4.69 a can so I bought four. I also buy Coffee Mate which lasts a long time, and make sure to have bagels, waffles and eggs with omelette filling on hand so I'm not tempted to drive through Tim's for one of their products.
The other thing I did was follow a forum called Smart Canucks. There are various discussion boards but the two I watch most are Canadian Shopping Deals And Flyers and Canadian Coupons. People post flyers a couple of days before they hit the stores so you can figure out where to shop before things actually come on sale. Coupons are also available on a lot of products, from food to pet supplies to bathroom items. The savvy shoppers on the site are quick to point out which products are at a good price and whether there are coupons available and where. Many can be found online where you can print them off, although quite a few stores won't accept them so you have to know who will and won't.
Finally, I try to only buy gas at the Loblaws gas station near my house. They are always among the lowest priced in the city and you get 2 cents back per litre that can be used in any Loblaws or No Frills store. No Frills is my store of choice because they will price match any other stores on sale items as long as you bring in the flyer and buy the same item they have in stock. It keeps me from running around to a number of stores.
I fill up my gas tank approximately every 5 days and get back about 70 cents each time. It comes to up to $5 a month, which doesn't seem like much but every bit adds up.
This is my current favourite: Special K cereal has an offer inside some of their cereal boxes with coupons inside: $2.50 off a bottle of Renee's salad dressing, $1.50 off any bag of salad and $1 off a bottle of Fuze.
I eat a lot of salad, probably 3 or 4 times a week and try to eat cereal whether it's at breakfast or at night, a couple of times a week. I got the cereal for $3.99 with two $1 off coupon to make two of the boxes $2.99 and the coupons in the box are worth $5 so the cereal was free and then some. I bought a variety of flavours so I don't get sick of it and have already picked up a couple of salad dressings and salads.
In total I've bought 5 boxes of cereal for a total of about $18 which includes the two $1 off coupons. I cashed in $5 worth of auto-cash coupons from a few tankfuls of gas which brought the cost down to $13. I have $25 in coupons to use so I came out ahead by $12. This is a great situation because I have food in the house so I'm not too tempted to spend it outside, and both salads and cereal are healthy which means I can eat an extremely fattening and unhealthy dinner like fettuccine alfredo, LOL!