Michelle Roy could easily be dubbed the Queen of Coupons.
Roy, 29, has been couponing for the last couple of years — and continues to go from strength to strength.
Roy — a married mother of a three-year-old boy who recently launched her new website, manitobacouponmaven.com — said couponing is beyond a hobby, having become a crucial way to support her family.
"I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for a while in a modest, one-income family and I’m proud that I’m able to do this and, in some way, support my family and make our money stretch further," said Roy, who lives in St. Vital.
Roy fanatically searches for coupons in flyers, online and in-store to help reduce her household grocery bills.
"Ultimately, it’s about reducing household costs, so I’m able to spend money on more important things. For example, I don’t have to buy shampoo for a while, so that’s more money to buy fresh fruit," Roy said.
"It’s about making a paradigm shift in your life. You have to change your household purchasing habits."
Roy said there are many examples in Winnipeg stores where consumers can take advantage of savings on offer to help stretch their dollars.
"You can buy door crasher items only and there are times where you can use coupons with a sale item, so you sometimes end up getting it for free," Roy said, noting that websites such as save.ca and webSaver.ca offer numerous online coupons and companies will often release time-limited coupons for free samples when they release new products.
To share her knowledge and experiences, the Dakota Collegiate alumnus often holds web chat events or small couponing classes and coupon swap meets in local homes or churches.
Roy said while couponing can be addicting, it’s important to keep things in perspective.
"You have to be careful to designate space in your home and, ideally, you should only buy things you need or can use. I often buy things and give them away to family members, friends or charities," Roy said, noting she recently donated a 40-pound bag of apples and a 40-pound of oranges to the organization Lunches with Love, which serves Winnipeg’s homeless population.
She added there is also an ethical side to couponing which goes beyond clearly everything off the shelf.
"I won’t personally clear all the items off the shelf, as that little old lady that goes shopping once a week will miss out. It’s important to pay your good fortune forward. It’s kind of like a video game — seeing what you can get for the lowest price. It’s both an adrenalin rush and fun. People at the checkouts are sometimes in awe when they see how much I can get for so little."
So why is couponing becoming more popular in households across the city?
"In Winnipeg, we’re born and raised to be frugal. In our case, this has put us in a financial situation to get into a house faster. The money I’ve saved on groceries has helped us put money away for a down payment on a house."
For more information, visit Roy’s website or search for Manitoba Coupon Maven on Facebook.