youngandthrifty’s Mildly Extreme Couponing

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Inspired by Sandy from Yes I am Cheap sharing her Non Extreme Couponing Experience, I thought I would share with you my somewhat mild extreme couponing experience.  As you know, I have been a bit of a coupon fiend lately, watching the show Extreme Couponing gets me riled up and excited (though I definitely don't agree with buying 90 tubes of toothpaste, or 123 deodorants “just 'cause”).  I am more of the variety of buying items that I need with coupons to save money, and not buying 15 of them.  Two to five of the same items, maybe.  But not fifteen.

As you also know, I have been reading Mrs January's blog (looove it!) because she matches up the coupons in the mail to the sales in store.  I have been saving up my free product coupons (like the Glade coupon) for those days where you need to purchase $50 worth of goods to get 20x the points at Shoppers Drug Mart (one of my favourite stores not only because I'm a shareholder, but I find that Shoppers shows growth, flexibility, and not to mention, it has a great rewards program).

So, last Saturday, there was a 20x the points event.  Usually each dollar you spend is only worth 10 points.  But on these special days, if you spend $50, you can get 20x the points.  50,000 points gives you a $80 redemption, so you can see that if you spend $50 on these days five times, you can get $80!  If you couple that with the more bang for your points days (that's what I call them anyway), you will get to $100 for 50,000 points.

So here's a recap of the mission:

GOAL: To accumulate $50 worth of groceries/ necessary items and obtain 20x the points (about 10,000 points) using the least of amount of money possible.


  • Buy items that are on sale with coupons associated with them, therefore reducing total cost
  • Utilize the “free product” coupons to make the total more than $50 pretax
  • Accumulate coupons beforehand as most websites like and mail you your coupons.
  • Obtain coupons ahead of time to avoid Canada Post mail delivery service strike
  • Remember to bring Shoppers Optimum Card
  • Remember to bring coupons- set out coupons necessary for shopping mission
  • Utilize points credit card to do a double whammy in terms of stacking points (namely Visa RBC Avion Travel Reward card)
  • Write down the exact shopping list and amount saved, amount added up to ensure it does not go largely over $50
  • Do not stray from aforementioned shopping list



  • Bread on sale for $2.29
  • Chips on sale for $1.99 each
  • Lunch containers on sale for $2.99
  • Cereal on sale for $2.99
  • Campbells soup on sale for $0.59 each
  • Oh Henry bars not on sale, but BF is addicted to them, so bought them for $3.59
  • BBQ sauce on sale for $1
  • vitamin D on sale for $4.99
  • Yogurt on sale for 2 for $6
  • Scott Paper towel on sale for $4.99.  $2 coupon used, total is $2.99
  • Royale bathroom tissue on sale for $5.99.  $1 coupon used. Total $4.99
  • Catelli Smart Pasta is $2.29.  $0.75 coupon used total $1.54
  • Oasis Health Break juice $3.29 on sale.  $0.75 coupon used. $2.54
  • Vitamin Water. On sale for $1.50 each.  Two coupons for free product used.
  • Glade Air Freshener (automatic).  $11.59 not on sale.  Free product coupon used.
  • Multivitamin. On sale for $11.99.  $10 coupon, total cost $1.99.

Total coupon savings, about $30.  Total bill without coupon savings, $77 + tax.


  • Accomplished but some straying from shopping list occurred- though straying entailed purchasing products on sale
  • Unfortunately, ran into some road blocks.  Wanted to use a “Buy one Get one Free” coupon for all purpose cleaner advertised in flyer, except only one cleaner was available on the shelf.  Wanted to buy another Oasis juice (different type) and use different coupon, except store did not have this product.
  • Actually felt nervous and sweaty as products were being rung up.  Just like in the show (and don't even know why because it's not like I was purchasing 201 of one product or anything)
  • Subtotal of total goods purchased after coupons savings $47.  After HST, $53 total cost.
  • >10,000 points obtained.  Now at 105,000 points, enough for $200 worth of goods at Shoppers Drug Mart.  Will proceed to use points on special points days, which rumor says is to occur on the first weekend of June.

I hope you enjoyed my mission of mildly extreme coupon savings!  I think if I didn't purchase all those non-coupon items, it might have been more impressive.  Anyhow, I'm happy that I'm at the top of the points pyramid!  I'm also glad that Shoppers Drug Mart seems to be diversifying, you can buy electronics and a Wii or Sony Playstation at the drug store now (not that I want or need one.  Just sayin').

Readers, have you forayed into the world of couponing (or at least using high value couponing) ever since the show aired on TLC? (I know that my sister definitely has been inspired!)  What is your favourite coupon savings of all time?  Please share! 🙂

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Young is a writer and former owner of Young and Thrifty and the main "twitter' behind Young and Thrifty's twitter account. She lives in Vancouver, BC and enjoys long walks on the beach, spending time with her anxious dog, and finding good deals. If you like what you read, consider signing up for email updates.


  1. Obsessive Compulsive Daniela on June 1, 2011 at 9:09 am

    Interesting, I would have thought you’d need to spend $50 before taxes to get their bonus points.

  2. Steve Zussino on June 1, 2011 at 8:32 am

    Great job!

    SDM Optimum points are great.

    Another idea is to use a mail-in rebate these days (20x points) since you will get your money back.

  3. Steve Zussino - Canadian Coupons on June 1, 2011 at 9:36 am

    Usually need to spend over $50 before coupons to get the bonus.

    It depends on the store and cashier.

  4. chipsforsupper on June 1, 2011 at 10:27 am

    I don’t shop at SDM because I always thought that they were more expensive. In general, how do their prices compare to places like Superstore and Walmart?

  5. The Passive Income Earner on June 1, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Well done! Would you consider yourself a professional shoppers 🙂

    Now, did you actually save money if you compare with the other stores (Super Store and such)? I am just curious. My wife will usually compare against all the stores – to the point that she knows who sells what the cheapest and I get an earful when I stray 🙂

  6. young on June 1, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    @The PIE- Thanks! Haha, I don’t think I am professional. More of a hobby enthusiast lol. Superstore isn’t ALWAYS that cheap. I actually just went to Costco (where it’s supposed to be the mecca of thrift) but didn’t find anything that cheap (regular price cheap but in comparison to stuff on sale at other places, it’s not that comparable). Sounds like you have a good wife! (The typical Millionaire wife- as described in the book I most recently read). When stuff is on sale at Shoppers, they are a good price. Regular price at Shoppers, not so much. If you couple that with the bonus points you can get, it’s a good deal. I don’t have the PC Mastercard, so I don’t get grocery $ back.

  7. young on June 1, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    @chipsforsupper- There’s something about SDM that draws me to them vs e.g. London Drugs. I like the clean lines, the marketing, the colours. I like how they branched off and have a high end cosmetic store called Murale. Their prices are comparable to places like Superstore when it’s on sale. As for Walmart, I would assume Walmart is cheaper, though Walmart is sooooo far away from me, I might as well save gas money by not going!

  8. young on June 1, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    @Steve Zussino- Yeah it seems to be mixed depending on the store (the comments on Mrs January’s blog seem to indicate this). I was pretty close though, at $47, so perhaps she let it slide for me? 😉

  9. young on June 1, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    @Steve Zussino- I did that last time 🙂 Except I haven’t gotten my $ back yet (though it said to expect a cheque within 5-12 weeks or something like that).

  10. Sandy @ yesiamcheap on June 1, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    I love the title of this article. I’m very proud of your shopping trip! I know that anxiety at the check out counter well. You do a silent prayer and beg the register to make all of your coupons go through. It doesn’t always happen though so I always have my handy dandy emergency credit card with me.

  11. retirebyforty on June 1, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    Wow, that was impressive. 🙂
    I’m doing terrible with the coupons. We haven’t put enough efforts into finding coupons and we don’t have CVS or SDM nearby. Maybe when it’s a bit less busy…

  12. Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter on June 2, 2011 at 11:50 am

    This is impressive. Good for you. I must admit we don’t use coupons very much. Most of the things we buy don’t ever have a coupon like organic produce and whole foods.

  13. MoneyCone on June 2, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    You’ve fallen into this too?! 🙂

    But glad you are saving! Just curious, how much time does this consume?

  14. young on June 2, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    @MoneyCone- It doesn’t really consume too much time. I think it took me half an hour to write the shopping list out. Mrs January does the work for me 😉 (Thanks Cassie!) as I just sort of match up what she has. It takes perhaps about half an hour a week to print out coupons online or order them online. I’m sure the couponing activity will be a bit quieter, thanks to the Canadian Postal worker strike (starting Friday).

  15. young on June 2, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    @Miss T- That’s definitely the drawback, oftentimes there are not coupons for more fresh goods. I have been sticking mainly to using coupons for stuff like paper towels, or bath tissue, and other household items.

  16. young on June 2, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    @retirebyforty- SDM is a Canadian company, so that’s probably why you don’t have one near you 😉 Though who knows, Target is coming up north, so perhaps in the future, SDM will move down south. Well, I think you definitely have no trouble keeping your costs low, as evidenced by your fantastic credit card bills! 🙂

  17. young on June 2, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    @Sandy- Haha, that’s exactly what was going through my mind at the cash. Thanks for giving me the inspiration to share my attempt at extreme couponing as well 🙂

  18. Helly on June 4, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Fascinating! I love rewards points too– I typically shop at Ralph’s (Kroger) because they have an excellent rewards system– 1 point for every $ spent, and you get $1 back for every 100 points, each quarter. So 4x a year, I get a nice coupon for actual cash off, plus coupons tailored to my shopping needs, as they are based on frequent purchases. Really handy!

  19. young on June 4, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    @Helly- Oohhh- that sounds like a really good deal. I’ve never actually shopped at Ralph’s (krogers). I’ll have to keep an eye for that if I’m ever in the states- though I doubt they’ll have the reward system open to Canadians though.

  20. Little House on June 6, 2011 at 6:54 am

    Don’t forget about rain checks. For that cleaner that was out of stock, you could have asked for a rain check and if the store would honor the buy one get one price when they get more in. We did this on some deodorant that was on sale for $1.50; they only had 5 and my husband wanted 20 (yes, he gets a little extreme when it comes to a good deal!) We went back the next week and bought what was left using our rain check price.

  21. young on June 6, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    @Little House- Ahhh Rain Checks- I do love them. I got a Rain Check for tide detergent once, and kept checking back (like weeks later) at Canadian Tire (aka “Crappy Tire”) and they didnt’ have it. It was for the HE laundry detergent, so I guess it was in high demand. Your husband sounds really great!! I wish my BF was into getting a good deal like your husband is 🙂

  22. Gil Spencer on June 7, 2011 at 11:50 am

    I’ve been thinking about doing more couponing and doing it more intentionally (not just the “hmm, what’s on sale?” or “hey I have a coupon”), but looking to get more coupons. The inspiration is a friend who pointed me to She (and I too) am in California, but I have a feeling that a lot of the general tips apply to a lot of places. And she might be considered an extreme couponer.. except she doesn’t have insane amounts of stuff she’ll never use. Instead she has what her family will use AND also gives stuff away to those in need, all the while sometimes making money on her purchases! How’s that for extreme!

  23. young on June 8, 2011 at 12:10 am

    @Gil Spencer- Cool. Just checked out The Frugal Find. It reminds me a lot like the other Canadian Deals websites (e.g. Grocery Alerts, Mrs january etc.). making money on the purchases is indeed extreme (it’s mind blowing to me! I haven’t tried it yet though) but its done here too. I think they call them “overages”. That’s how I got started too- just thinking about it, and acquiring coupons. The coupons that I like are the FREE product coupons, everything else I am skeptical of being able use the coupon with a good sale.

  24. Canadian Coupons on June 24, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    good score! if you want, check out my blog for my recent hauls!

  25. young on June 27, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    @Canadian Coupons- I love checking out hauls! Will definitely check your site out.

  26. Carmen on December 8, 2014 at 4:03 am

    🙂 That’s where pc plus with loblaws comes in! Digital coupons for organic produce. 🙂 it’s rarely on sale so the targeted offers are basically digital coupons for organic produce.

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