Clipping coupons can lead to big savings at the supermarket -- especially if you know some pro-tips. Couponing blogger Kristine Oberg has some expert advice for those looking to reduce their grocery bills.
There wasn't a defining moment when Aimee Geroux knew she was frugal shopper, but the day an angry customer whipped a pair of new shoes at her was a pretty good sign.The woman was fed up with waiting in line while Geroux racked up the savings using her coupons. A pair of airborne sneakers and a few expletives later, and the potential battle had been defused without a coupon sacrificed in the process."I've got a pretty thick skin, nothing really fazes me," she said.So is the world of "extreme couponing," as its participants call it, a no-holds-barred pursuit of savings that has earned itself a weekly TV series and countless obsessive Internet followers who strive to maximize their savings at the checkout by spotting the best sales and hoarding coupons.Entering the world of extreme couponing was almost a last resort for Geroux, but during the last three years it has become a lifestyle. It began when the Hamilton resident moved to Toronto and got a big reality check when her monthly rent was far higher than she expected and daycare costs soared past her budget.She had to start saving fast."I walked into the store and got $300 of stuff for like 20 bucks," said Geroux, who runs a blog called Extreme Couponing Mom, an extensive database of the latest discounts.For the average Canadian, walking into a store with a binder of clippings and a razor sharp strategy isn't practical, but diehards say there are several tactics that can be incorporated into anyone's shopping list.Price matching is one of the easiest ways to reduce grocery bills, and for fellow saver Kristine Oberg it's the base for slashing her expenses at the supermarket. Every weekend she scans through flyers to highlight the sale items."You take the flyer from that store, bring it to your local store and get the same item for the (lower) price," she said.A price match is quick and easy because the cashier will use the flyer as a reference to generate a discount on the spot.One of the best kept secrets of the retail industry is the Scanning Code of Practice, a voluntary standard that's used by most major retailers in Canada. The goal is to ensure consumers are paying the correct price at the checkout, and if they aren't, the item is free to a maximum of $10.