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Carly Russell-Huntley - Coupon Karma Queen
This week's spotlight is on Carly Russell-Huntley, a coupon pro'!
If you are keen on couponing and want to know more, follow Carly on Twitter @couponkarmavic and read this little interview we did with her recently.
So Carly, we love your usedeverywhere blog by the way (ladies check it out here) and know you describe yourself as an extreme couponer, but you're going to have to explain to us novices what exactly an extreme couponer is!
When did you get into couponing?
Well I had gone on maternity leave three weeks before my due date and was just sitting around relaxing and watching lots of t.v.. I came across the show “Extreme Couponing” where people in the states were getting hundreds of dollars worth of groceries for free using coupons. I thought to myself “i wonder if we can do this here in Canada” and started researching it on the internet. From there, I found a couple of sites that taught me the basics and I just went from there.
What started you off?
I found out that a couple of stores in Victoria did what’s called “stacking” where you could use more than one coupon per product like they do in the states. This is how you really save money and so I collected a bunch of diaper coupons and went down to give it a try. On my first coupon trip, I walked out of the store with a bag of diapers for only $5 when the regular price was $19.99. After this, I was hooked!
How much do you think you save on goods and groceries every month?
I started a spreadsheet for the first few months of my couponing in order to see how much I was saving. After 3 month, I had purchased over $3500 dollars worth of grocery and household items and only spent $300!!! Most of these items were put into my stockpile for the year. On a weekly grocery bill in which I buy the basics like produce, meat and dairy I usually save about 40-50 % a week by using coupons and price matching!
Does couponing take up a lot of your time?
It does take a bit of time at first to learn how to do it, but once you know how you really only need a couple of hours a week to get your coupons organized as well as your shopping list when you are ready to go couponing. Plus I usually check my emails and a couple of coupon blogs every morning for a few minutes just to keep up to date with the daily deals and freebies out there.
Isn't couponing a bit like hoarding? Have you got a cellar full of cranberry sauce and super plus tampons that you'll never use?!
It can be but I don’t believe in hoarding. I mean, no one can actually use 60 deodorants in 2 years!!! What I do believe in is stocking up on items that you will use when they go on sale. This way you are getting the savings all at once and it ensures you won’t run out of something and then have to go to the store and pay full price for it when you need it. Especially on items that won’t expire like toilet paper and paper towels! And when I do accumulate too much of an item in my stockpile, I donate them to the homeless shelter. Last Christmas I was able to donate over $2000 dollars worth of product to Streetlink and everything I gave was free with coupons! I believe in Coupon Karma and helping out others with your couponing skills so everyone wins!
Where do you find your best bargains?
It all depends on what deals are being offered by the stores. London Drugs and Save-on-Foods offered stacking so I usually get my best deals there. Also, you can get tons of free product coupons online by signing up for company webpages and “liking” them on facebook. I’ve received free coupons for ham, cheese, pasta sauce, yogurt, cream cheese, crackers, chips and many more products.
What's your top couponing tip?
Stay organized and never go couponing without making a detailed list of what you plan to buy and what you should spend after you use your coupons. Do not deviated from this plan and avoid going to the grocery store hungry so you don’t impulse buy. Also, make sure to be friendly and patient with the cashiers at the staff as it is extra work for them to put through all your coupons. And make sure you know the couponing policies of each store before using coupons there to avoid any confusion.
Where do you go to find couponing tips and advice?
My two favourite webpages for couponing is smartcanucks.ca and mrsjanuary.com. Both sites offer articles on how to start couponing as well as daily updates on where all the deals are
What's your dream coupon?
And FPCs (Free product coupons) for items that I normally use like diapers, formula, yogurt, cheese, etc. I mean, nothing’s better than walking out of store with a bag full of groceries that cost you absolutely nothing!
And last but not least!! What did you have for breakfast?
I had a delicious banana and strawberry smoothie with milk and yogurt and the yogurt I used was free with a coupon. Food always tastes better when it’s free!