Toronto mom shares her tips for clipping and saving

Cutting back isn’t easy, but what if you could buy everything you needed and still save? Aimee Geroux, operator of extremecouponingmom.ca, says she never spends more than $50 a month on food and household items. The Toronto mom of two provided us with tips on how to save big at the grocery store and which items you should never pay full price for.

From tear pads at the store entrance and on-box stickers and cut-outs to the web, coupons are just about everywhere. Joining a company’s Facebook page or following them on Twitter can be a gateway to special offers while websites such as websaver.ca, save.ca, gocoupons.ca, smartsource.ca and healthyessentials.ca offer hundreds of printable or mail-out coupons for consumer items.

While coupons aren’t difficult to collect, Geroux says many shoppers don’t know how to use them efficiently. Rather than using coupons for a discount on regular priced items, Geroux recommends holding onto them until the product goes on sale to maximize the coupon’s value.

Make money while shopping? Geroux says absolutely. One of her best money saving tricks is overage. If you have a coupon for $2 off Kleenex and the item is on sale for $1, overage means not only will you get the item for free; the store will give you the extra dollar in cash or towards the purchase of another item in your cart. Walmart is the only store Geroux is aware of that provides overage.

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“The one thing I hear from new couponers is that it’s overwhelming,” says Geroux. Being organized is essential to becoming a good couponer. Geroux keeps a binder with plastic baseball card organizer sheets. She divides the binder into food, health and beauty, household and pets and then organizes the coupons by expiry date. She then peruses flyers and makes her shopping list, organizing coupons into separate envelopes labelled with each store name.

“Being organized before you get to the store, while you’re in the store and at the checkout makes things go a lot smoother,” says Geroux. Plus, your organization skills can save you money. “(When) you’re not scatterbrained looking for coupons, you can pay attention to the prices that are ringing through,” says Geroux. Many stores adhere to the Retail Council of Canada’s Voluntary Price Accuracy Code which states that if the store scanner rings in an item (under $10) at an incorrect price, and you catch it at the moment of purchase, they will give you that product for free.

Some items are easier to find coupons for than others. While personal hygiene products, household cleaners, children’s snacks and cereal are common coupon items, fresh meats and produce are often lacking in coupons. Not to worry, Geroux says price matching can still allow you to get these items for less. While she makes it a habit to check the flyers for all of her local stores, but that doesn’t mean she shops at all of them. “If No Frills has strawberries on sale for $1.88, you don’t necessarily have to waste your gas to go to No Frills to get those strawberries,” says Geroux. Take the flyer to a price-matching store and you’ll get the strawberries for the lesser price.

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The S4 is a little narrower and slimmer than its predecessor, but comes with a significantly clearer and brighter 5in touchscreen capable of full HD video playback and a higher-capacity battery pack that should boost battery life by about 20 per cent. Like earlier models, the Galaxy S4 has removable battery packs – so they can be easily switched when they run out of charge or wear down – unlike the iPhone, which does not allow users to remove batteries.

None of the S4’s hardware updates is what I would call revolutionary, but some software features are pretty cool, such as the handswipe gesture recognition, which enables users to move through web pages, change music tracks or answer an incoming call just by waving a hand a few centimetres in front of the screen.

Two other interesting software advances in the S4 are that it uses facial recognition to spot if a user turns away from the screen, and pauses a running video in a feature known as SmartPause. The SmartScroll feature, meanwhile, allows users to scroll through text or web pages simply by tilting the handset.

Samsung has also paid a lot of attention to the S4’s digital camera capabilities. New camera tricks include the ability to record a series of images in one burst and combine them into a single image. Users canrecord images from the 2-megapixel front and the 13mp (compared with 8mp on the iPhone) rear-facing cameras simultaneously.

My favourite, however, is the ability to selectively remove moving sections of a video clip – for example, if someone walks into the frame. Despite being early software, this feature worked flawlessly.

Other features designed to capture consumer attention include Group Play, which allows multiple S4 phones to play the same synchronised music, and a gaming feature that enables two friends with S4s to compete or collaborate on a video game using the handset’s built-in WiFi direct mode. No separate, external WiFi network is required for this.
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