Interview with Nathan Engels of Extreme Couponing

A Dad Gets Extreme About Saving Money

Interview with Nathan Engels of Extreme Couponing



I do the grocery shopping in our house. I find it relaxing, peaceful and I take the art of the deal very very seriously. I bring along my son, Zacharie, and it's a blissful 90mins of Father/Son time each week.

I've taught him his colours grocery shopping (bananas are yellow, cucumbers are green etc). I'm teaching him numbers with the prices and now I'm letting him run the aisles in a scavenger hunt for his favourite pasta. We even have regular routines: when I'm at the deli counter, he runs and gets his block of marble cheese and at the end of the meat section he insists I go over to the fish tanks and say "hi" to the lobsters.


Now that Extreme Couponing from TLC is up and running and tales of people saving 94% on their grocery bill are on each week, I'm captivated. I'm trying to figure out how I can do that.

Nathan Engles is known as Mr Coupon and has been featured on the show a few times.  I interviewed Nathan,(his website is WeUseCoupons) this week and asked him how he does it and how we can do it too.

Coupon matchups are the big thing Nathan says you should do, but things are different in Canada when it comes to couponing as Money Saving Canadian Mom points out:

Why? In the USA they have much more competition because they have more grocery stores than you can shake a stick at. All of these stores are in competition with one another to get YOUR money. So in short, we can get some great deals but not like the US can.

One of the key ways the Extreme Couponing fiends find the deals in the states is by stacking their coupons and then hitting double or triple coupon days at the store. With so many stores in Canada offering the rewards club card system to hit sale prices, they don't do the coupon muliplying - so that's out.

There is, however, one store in the country where you can stack coupons - London Drugs. (Stacking is using multiple coupons from different sources on one item - we try to do it on diapers all the time).

The Money Saving Canadian Mom site is a great resource for tips and she points to many places where you can go and subscribe and print off coupons. BrandSaver, Save.ca, CouponClick.ca, Websaver.ca, GroceryAlerts.ca, ThinkCoupons.ca are all places you should visit regularly or subscribe to.

For new parents, filling out information with the companies directly will get you loyalty coupons. My wife joined both Pampers and Huggies clubs for our boys where she was regularly mailed coupons for the products and collected points from the UPC codes to use online for books and toys. Both our boys had to go on formula earlier than we would have liked and Similac had a great coupon program where we would get $5 - $10 in single use coupons which were awesome.

For me, it boils down to scanning the flyers each weekend over breakfast and knowing my base prices so when I see a deal I can jump on it and take advantage - regardless of coupon. I'm not extreme - yet, but I do love a deal.

What are your tips for Extreme Couponing in Canada?


Don't Take Grandparents For Granted

Take Advantage Of Recording Every Moment

Don't Take Grandparents For Granted

20110410 Train Watching In Calgary - near Baker Park

I have lots of video of my kids.  First heartbeats, first rolls, first foods - it’s all there. Dozens of short 60 second clips capturing everything they do.

When my grandmother passed away last year, I realized I had little to no video of her playing with my boys.  I had lots of photos, but the only “real” video we had of her was one my brother took when she was in the hospital saying she would be home soon. That never happened.

I live in Calgary.  My wife’s family lives in Ontario, my family lives in Vancouver.  The visits from grandparents and great-grandparents is not as often as when we were all in the same city. 

You can easily take those grandparent days for granted when you're all in the same area code.  My parents were 30 minutes away to take the boys to the park or the pool or to sit for my wife and I to have a date night. 

Now that they’re not around the corner, the time my boys get to spend with their grands and great-grands is a magical moment I’m not taking for granted.

Grumps Chooch Grumps hockey 20110408 17th ave

My grandfather visited this weekend and I filmed everything.  Watching the trains, holding my son, visiting a museum - even eating breakfast together.  When you live away from your family, you never know when the last time you see them will truly be ‘the last time.’ 

Take some video, shoot some pictures, write some stories.  These truly are “the good old days.”


Food Fight!

How Do You Get Your Kids To Eat

Food Fight!

I have no idea how my 3 and a half year old survives. He has just a few main food groups: veggie dogs, plain noodles, cucumber sushi and cereal.

Every now and again he'll grab a banana or slurp up some tomato soup or apple sauce, but basically his meals are pretty bland and of the same thing. Everytime.

We just got back from an all inclusive in Mexico and tried to use the deep and varied buffet each night as a way to get him to spread his tastebuds wide and try different things.

No luck.

So for the past 2 weeks, we've drawn a solid line in the sand and are not budging until he tries something new each night. Sometimes its a slice of red pepper, or a chicken finger or a quesedilla (all foods he loved as a toddler). It's been tough, but he's been good at trying - until we put sauce on his noodles.

It's sauce. On pasta. And it sent him over the edge.

We want our boys to have a wide, varied and courageous palate, but we definitely don't want to go the "sneaky chef" route. All that does is get your kids a taste for chocolate cake (and it won't always have zucchini and beets in it).

New commercials for kids' PediaSure gave us a pause to stop and consider it, (because it showed we weren't alone in our struggles) but we quickly dismissed it as we do many prefab kid targeted foods. Our kids will eat the good stuff, made by us, grown by people.

Are your pre-schoolers good eaters? How do you convince them that sauce on pasta is a good thing?