How one savvy shopper saves £7,000 a year on her groceries | Personal Finance | Finance

Dianne Debarros, a 34-year-old mother embarked on a couponing journey to ease the financial strain of raising her two children.

Amid the post-pandemic surge in food prices, Dianne’s affinity for couponing blossomed into an all-consuming passion, aimed at curbing her grocery bill. In the past, she typically spent an average of $200 (£157.33) per week on groceries, but with her newfound couponing prowess, she has miraculously slashed that figure down to just $30 (£23.60).

Hailing from Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, Dianne, who works as a digital freelancer, recounted her motivations, saying: “After the pandemic, everything was getting so expensive. We were like ‘Well we have a backup plan’ as we know we know how to coupon.

“It has made a huge difference. I have met so many couponers across Canada and in the US – it is a community of people.”

Beyond the immediate financial relief, Dianne’s ultimate goal is to save enough money to purchase a house, as she currently does not own one. Recognising the necessity of adapting to the rising expenses, she explained: “We are trying to save to buy a house as we don’t own our home at the moment.

“With the cost of everything going up, some of the money we save will go to other things but we have a good chunk saved for our down payment to buy a house.”

Dianne’s foray into the world of coupons began in 2017 when she and her family were still growing. Her coupon collection tactics range from online sources and apps to fortuitous discoveries right within supermarket aisles.

She said: “Coupons come out on a rotational in Canada. Each week you can go to new stores and get coupons in the aisles. You can use cashback apps and digital coupons.”

While she takes advantage of coupons for various items, Dianne primarily focuses on reducing her grocery budget to an astonishingly frugal $30 per week. She said: “There are also lots of programmes you can sign up for. I have recieved free make-up, diapers – you can get all sorts of things.”

Dianne’s fascination with coupons intensified during the ongoing cost of living crisis, driving her to maximize their potential for grocery savings.

She said: “We use coupons mainly for our grocery budget to be $30 a week so if we can get our budget to $30 that is fantastic. When we first came out of the pandemic, we would spend $200 a week.

“It was too much, we knew we needed to get serious and use our points better as spending $200 a week would not work for us.

“We always pick up a lot of shopping that we can donate. My mum comes over and shops at our house too.”

Dianne is quick to point out her dedication to couponing stems from her desire to save money, rather than an urgent need for extra cash. She explained: “In a year we are saving close to $9k (£7,079.72) a year. I couponed in secret for a while as I was worried my family would think we are struggling with money.

“We don’t need money, we are doing this to save money. I thought my family’s reaction would be negative but it was positive and they were proud I am saving so much.

“It has made such a huge difference to our lives.”

Channeling her shrewd savings into community support, Dianne actively contributes to local initiatives.

She frequently visits community fridges, replenishing them with much-needed food supplies to assist those grappling with the cost of living crisis.

She said: “Community fridges are amazing as they help alleviate food banks’ stress. “These community fridges help a lot of people. We don’t have any in our small city but we often visit family in Toronto and there are tonnes in that area. This past weekend we visited three community fridges that were empty and we filled them up.”

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