Confession & New #Workshops (#Autism, #AutismSupport, #FamilySupport)

Confession: I LOVE public speaking! I know, I know, it’s one of, if not the top fear that most people have, but I love it. Role playing however…that’s a different story for me. And I have to role play counselling scenarios every week in one of the courses I’m taking right now…but I digress.

A number of years ago, I met a lovely woman named Melissa. We Facebooked and saw eachother every so often. Then earlier this year, she said that she was meeting a number of parents with children with Autism/Asperger’s through her career and asked if we could meet up. She wanted to understand more about what these families were facing (how awesome is she?!!). One coffee date later, and we decided to start holding workshops together, which where later called “Autism – Family & Financial Workshops“. She would be able to talk about the financial aspect of things (budgeting, RDSPs, etc) and I could talk about whatever was timely dependent upon the time of year.

Yesterday, we held another workshop, with me talking about IEPs since it’s that time of year, and how to work with the school. She spoke of budgeting, couponing and price matching. We also had an expert in RDSPs (Registered Disability Savings Plan…available in Canada) come share with us as well.

The chemistry in the room was awesome. I’m so glad that people felt comfortable enough to ask questions throughout my schpiel! If you’ve ever been to a presentation I make, I encourage questions. When people were leaving, they said they felt supported and asked when the next one is being held (January 28th at 10am, for anyone in Hamilton, ON Canada). We put it out there that maybe we should do a “coffee hour”…and people loved the idea. So, we’ve now scheduled an information get together over coffee (November 6th at 10am).

Something amusing happened during our workshop yesterday though that I also wanted to share. We asked for people to complete feedback forms, and when they gave them back, the form was put into a draw for a door prize (it was a beautiful Sherpa throw rug…so soft!). Can you guess which feedback form was completed by an adult who was newly (as in, this week!) diagnosed with Autism, just based on how the paper is folded? 😉

Feedback forms

Yup, that would be the “accordion style” one in the middle. She has a son with Asperger’s, a daughter being assessed for Autism, and she herself has now been diagnosed with Autism…and she’s proud of it…proud of knowing why she always thought of things in a different way; why she always did things just a little bit differently than others around her. Her son is NOT happy though…he liked being the only one in the family with an ASD diagnosis. Poor little guy. 😉

Anyway, if you are in the Hamilton, ON Canada area, please join the Facebook group to learn more about upcoming workshops and coffee times.

If you are outside the Hamilton, ON Canada area, but would like myself and/or Melissa to come to your area whether to offer a workshop series, or even a one-time presentation, please comment below or email me: imamomtoo.meghan@gmail.com.

Hooked After My First Extreme Couponing Experience

Aimee, from ExtremeCouponingMom.ca was kind enough to take me shopping on Saturday for my very first extreme couponing experience. Even more exciting is to realize it CAN be done in Canada!

 

Normally, a 15 mins drive, it took us more than an hour to get to WalMart because of highways being closed for construction and walkathons so we kept getting detoured. A bit frustrating, but we laughed about it knowing it just made the experience that much better! We went to a WalMart that isn’t on a bus route and, as I was walking to the store with my binder of coupons, I started getting really excited to learn from my “guru”. You can learn from Aimee too as she offers coupon seminars.

 

Aimee is amazing! She had looked through my coupon binder in the car ride there (which included the $47.50 worth of coupons I had received in the mail the night before! It’s the pic at the top of this blog).  She was able to remember when I had coupons vs her binder that weighs more than 30lbs (!!!!). The tricks they mention on TLC’s Extreme Couponing are very true…pay attention to sizes of the products you are buying. If there’s no restriction on your coupon, then look in the areas of the store with travel sizes, or smaller sizes. If you have a coupon for a few dollars off, then you will probably get the smaller sizes for free.

 

The coolest part of shopping was when I loaded 30 boxes of Ziploc bags…for free!! By price matching with another store where they were on sale for $1.99, and having a coupon for $4 off when you buy 2, I was able to get 30 boxes for FREE! A few people around us were watching intently (including one mentioning that he wanted to get a box, but only if there were some left…we did leave some, no worries), so I kept reminding Aimee to hand out her business card.

 

Prior to this experience, I didn’t understand why there’s so much marketing around price matching. Now I get it, especially when gas prices are so high! Didn’t have to drive around everywhere. Aimee brought a spreadsheet where she listed the sale items at other stores so we were able to take advantage of those sales at WalMart because she also brought the flyers with her.

 

It took about an hour for both of us to check out (I told each new person who came in line behind us that we had lots of coupons and were price matching so, if they were in a hurry, they may want another line). Eventually, a older couple just joked that they weren’t in a hurry and were excited to see the process. One of the women from the neighbouring aisle even asked where we got our plastic sheets to hold our coupons because she just brought them all in her pocket. I handed Aimee’s card to each of them, and our cashier who was having fun with our coupons too.

 

Here are our carts before checking out:

 

 

Here’s my loot:

 

Which included, among other things:

  • 1 box of 100 Pampers (for which I paid $14.97!)
  • 2 bags of 8 rolls of paper towels
  • 4 boxes of Koolaid Jammers
  • 4 toothpastes
  • 1 Glade roomspray with 2 refills (this is a gift…shh, don’t tell anyone!)
  • 30 boxes of Ziploc Sandwich bags

 

So, the “numbers” from our trip:

  • 2 hours in store
  • 86 items bought
  • coupon value used: $143.62
  • spent $90.56 ($20.81 of that was tax)
  • brought home $212.52 worth of products (which is based on the price-matched price, rather than the regular price of each item)
  • 68% saving (excluding the taxes)

 

To put it all in perspective, if I had bought all the Ziploc bags at the price-matched price of $1.99 and the box of Pampers, all the other 55 products for FREE!

 

I’m TOTALLY hooked!!