Extreme Couponing USA vs Canada

Extreme Couponing USA vs Canada

Lately I have been asked many times, is Extreme Couponing like what is featured on the TLC show something that can really happen here is Canada? Today I am going to talk about the differences when couponing in Canada vs. in the USA. Since I don’t live in the USA this is just an observation of what I have learned so far.

There are a lot of differences as to what can be done in the USA and here in Canada. In the USA some stores allow what they call coupon stacking. Coupon Stacking is when you can use more than one coupon on a single item. The only place I am aware of that will allow this here in Canada is London Drugs on the West Coast. According to what I have read from fellow couponers, as long as you have different coupons (ones that do not have the same UPC codes) you can use them together on one single item. For example if you have a save.ca coupon and a tear-pad coupon, you would be able to use them both and at the same time. This allows for extra savings often resulting in products completely FREE.

Another difference is that in the USA some stores have special days when they will double or even triple your coupons. A lot of stores will “double-up” to $1.00. This means if you present the cashier with a coupon for .50¢ off they will automatically double that coupon to be $1.00 off instead of the original .50¢. This, combined with weekly sales can equal huge savings and again items completely FREE. I have never heard of any company here in Canada that allows doubling-up.

When I was recently in Florida on vacation this year I was amazed when the weekend paper arrived. Their were lots and lots of coupons available. About double what we typically see in our coupon flyers. Also remember that they get coupon flyers every weekend. Here in Canada we only get coupon inserts once or twice a month. Red Plum and Smart Source inserts are only scheduled once every month and the Brandsaver insert is only a few times a year. I also noticed that many grocery stores also have their very own coupon insert flyers that are available to pick up at their front door. Extra savings again.

Some stores (at least here in Ontario) have caught onto this idea and are also posting coupons at their entrances. I am loving this and hope more get on board and realize how this will help their business.

I also found that while on vacation their was lots of different coupons available that we would not normally see here in Canada. I stopped by a hotel to get directions to a restaurant and found a whole collection on coupons in their front lobby. Brochures just chalked full of great money saving vouchers. You can easily save on everything from dry cleaning, mini-golf, lots of tourist attractions and even the local liquor store. Yup that’s right I saved $5.00 off when I spent $40.00 at Joe’s Liquor store. I totally amazed when I visited the Dollar General Store in the USA. Yes you guessed it-not only do they allow coupons, but the cash register receipt printed out with coupons for $$ off my next purchase printed on the back. AMAZING! However please note the dollar stores over there are very different. They have clothing, name brand makeup and lotions as well as a lot of different foods and yes-booze. LOL I doubt we will ever see this in Canada.

I also noticed while watching the TLC Extreme Couponing series that many couponers that were featured mentioned that they use Coupon Clipping Companies. If you are not familiar with this, they are companies that clip, collect and sell coupons. You can go online and order as many coupons as you wish for a price. I often wish this service was also available here in Canada. This week I had the opportunity to read an article about this particular topic. According to this article there is a new investigation into the legalities of these coupon clipping sites. Apparently it is illegal to sell large quantities of coupons. People who work for newspapers are not allowed to take more than one coupon insert for themselves. Any un-used coupon inserts are supposed to be destroyed. They are not supposed to be retrievable from recycling facilities either. There is a class action suit building right now to make sure that the only coupons out there are obtained through legitimate sources. Now if you buy multiple newspapers that is completely legal, however if you are spending hundreds of extra dollars a year on extra newspapers this should be taken into account when calculating how much you are actually saving. “Just a thought.” The same goes for buying coupons, shouldn’t this be taken off your bottom line of savings? The TLC shows never really discusses these extra expenses. If you live here in Canada, I suggest getting all your friends, family and co-workers to collect, and save the coupon inserts for you. This is legal, easy and will cost you absolutely nothing other than maybe a friendly thank-you hug. :o) Other than that you are welcome to try dumpster diving but that is certainly not up my alley.

In the USA they also sometimes have a frequent shopper card. This card, from my understanding tracks your purchases and rewards you with cents off your next purchases. I have also seen and heard about store cards where you can download all the stores coupons to a card and then just swipe the card at the check out and it will automatically take off any appropriate coupons. I so want this here in Canada.

And how about those Catalina coupons. This is a little machines at the checkout that print out extra coupons that can be used the next time you visit the store. The only ones I have ever seen here are actually on the back of my receipts and generally are just for cents off Dry Cleaning.

So lets have a closer look.

In the USA you could possibly do the following:

-Create a price book and learn what is a really great price on certain items.

-Follow the store flyer sales and combine them with coupons for extra savings

-Order multiple coupons from a coupon clipping company and stockpile your coupons and wait for a huge sale

-Cash in by using store loyalty card at the check out

-Find a store that allows doubling up of coupons to easily cash in on the savings

-Gain Catalina coupons to use on your future purchases.

Now what you can do here in Canada

-Create a price book and learn what is a really great price on certain items.

-Follow the store flyer sales and combine them with coupons for extra savings

-Collect as many coupons as you can. Ask family, friends, neighbours and co-workers to give you any un-used coupons.

-Remember to ask for rain checks when certain items are on sale but out of stock.

-Price Match one store to another- bring your flyers and have the store match the best advertised price

-Join coupon trades and trains -this way your can get rid of coupons you would never use and gain ones that you really want.

-Take advantage of Mail- in- Rebates. For the price of a stamp you will get the majority if not all your money back that you spent on an item.

Here in Canada you can enjoy huge savings. If you get organized and follow a routine you can start saving money in no time at all. You can get items at extremely low prices and many items absolutely FREE. Extreme couponing can and does happen in Canada, it is just at a different level. You can easily purchase $130.00 worth of items for just under $35.00. I have done this many times. 70-80% in saving is possible in Canada. Maybe not every single week, but definitely more often than most people think.

We rarely have coupons off fruit and vegetables and only every once and a while will you score $$ off meats. But when it comes to toiletries, health care items and many pantry and freezer products the savings are there for the taking. Another point to make is a lot of stores in the USA allow what they call overages. This is where the coupon value actually exceeds the dollar value of that particular item. So if you have a $1.00 off coupon and the item is only .75¢ you can actually still use the $1.00 off coupon and they will allow you a .25¢ credit toward the rest of the items in your cart. Multiple this times a hundred or so items and the fruits, veggies and meat will pay for themselves with the overages you gained by using your coupons. According to my local grocery store manager overages are not supposed to be allowed in Canada. Some avid coupons would disagree with me and I have read stores of people here in Canada getting overages applied to other items in their cart.

You must put it all in perspective. I have a feeling that most of the people on Extreme Couponing spent an immense amount of time and effort building their basement/garage stockpiles. This is not something that just happens overnight. It takes a lot of dedication, time and effort to see such results. Remember, they paid for these items, they just didn’t pay full price. It is like a full time job for most of these extreme couponers and as mentioned in almost every single show-”this is the biggest coupon shop I have ever attempted”. They don’t do this all the time. They spend months if not years compiling their stockpiles.

I also have recently started to build a stockpile. It wasn’t totally intentional, but since I have been able to score some fabulous deals lately, my multiples are growing. I personally feel it is a very fine line between saving money as a extreme couponer and crossing the line and becoming a hoarder.

Have a look at my office wall. This is strictly cleaning supplies and beauty products. All food is in my kitchen and I only buy what will be consumed in a reasonable amount of time. No walls of soap cans or pasta sauce here. I think this is mainly because of a phobia I have of eating older food. If I have something in the cupboard for too long I can’t eat it. I fear having an abundance of food that will expire before my family ever has a chance to consume it. I have about four extra boxes of crackers a few extra pasta sauces and surplus chicken broth, but that is about it. The freezer is constantly full with lots of frozen vegetables, convenient meals and some treats. Cereal is never purchased at full price and rice is always bought at a great discount too. I use coupon ever single week. Sometimes it is just one or two and sometime it is more like 15-30 coupons in one single shopping trip it just depends on the sales vs. available coupons.

Please remember that some items are lot less expensive in the USA while other are much more expensive. You have to take into account the over-all cost of living in the USA right now too. Are their wages the same as here? Probably not. We pay more for our groceries, but we also make more in wages.

There is a lot of ways to save here in Canada. Look for money saving coupons on manufacturer websites like SC Johnson’s. Couponing sites like save.ca, brandsaver.ca etc. Follow companies on Twitter and be the first to find out about special offers and coupons. “Like” as many Canadian Companies on Facebook as you can. There has recently been an influx of new coupons found on face book. Sign up for newsletter and actually read your e-mails. Look for keywords like FREE, COUPONS, and SPECIAL OFFERS. Check store shelves for cents off coupons. Look at product packaging, inside and out. There are more and more coupons popping up on packaging lately. Also do surveys like the Shopper’s Voice to gain high value coupons. Write e-letter to companies and tell them how much you appreciate their product. Lots of times they will send you a coupon/s as a thank-you. Join a forum like Canadian Free Stuff and sign up for coupon trades and trains. Trade unwanted coupons with others for ones that are more useful for you. Ride a train and get access to lots of great coupons from other people and share your unwanted ones too.

Create a system that works for you. Get into a routine and stick with it. You will be saving money in no time and who knows maybe you will start a stockpile of your own. It may not be 100 items at a time, but 5,10 or 20 items will add up in no time at all. If you can get and use 3 or 4 of the same coupon in one shopping trip you will be amazed at the savings. Whether it is diapers or deodorant, saving money is always smart. Extreme couponing is just a way of honing your skills and taking it to the next level. Go for it. Find out your stores coupon policies and do your best to follow the coupon rules. Have fun and then sit back and enjoy the savings you have earned.

If you are interested in finding out how to get started couponing in Canada, you might want to check out some previous articles I wrote on ” How To Coupon” Just click here for easy access.

As always I welcome comments and questions-so just scroll down and leave me comment below. :o)


  1. Bikingchick,

    Great, you will have to let me know how you make out. Good luck and will be interested to hear your stories when you get back. cheers-cheetah

  2. cheetah,

    My husband and I are going down to the States for 2 weeks next week so I’ve started printing off coupons for non-perishables. Already warned him that we’re going on a money-saving mission! :-)
    I’m really looking forward to it!

  3. Marian Wilkins,

    Great comment/story. Thank you for sharing. I agree as long as you will use the stuff you are buying than the more power to you. But if you don’t even like mustard don’t go out and buy 100 bottles of it just because it is super cheep with coupons. On your second point I totally agree I wish more stores would take the time to properly train their cashiers on their store coupon policies. My local Store manager recently told me that they were caught up-prepared when the TLC show spurred a whole new group of couponers-she admits it is time to get everyone on board. So glad you ran into a “”coupon fairy”” we all need to do that once and a while. I love finding young moms who can really appreciate a diaper coupon or two. Thanks again and happy couponing!

  4. Michael Friedman,

    Thank you for your comment- you bring up a very good point. Are those that offer double or triple coupon days charging more? Wow never thought about that. Thank again.

  5. Cheetah, hoarding is disorganized stockpiles. Having for the sake of having. In a recession, people are scared of running out of food when the bread winner loses his/her job.

    I got your post about a month ago from save.ca for the coupon for the free box of chocolate cheerios. The catch was that it was only redeemable on June 21. I redeemed it on June 21. The cashier had not seen this and had to look at her screen for today’s date!! Do store managers not review coupon policies and possible coupons that cashiers could encounter?

    I was in Zellers last weekend with my little dollar store coupon filer and encountered a lady that had her coupon binder in the shopping cart. I looked amazed. She offered my a coupon for a free tube of toothpaste. I thanked her appreciatively.

  6. Some stores in the USA actually pay you back the difference when you redeem a coupon with a higher dollar value than the price of the article.

    Also check the prices carefully of the stores that double or triple the value of a coupon vs the stores who do not double the value.

    More than often the stores who double or triple the price have much higher
    selling prices than the stores who do not double/triple the prices.

    It may only pay you to shop at those stores if you have manufacturers coupons for the product(s) that you are buying.

  7. Anna,

    Wow Anna makes me feel better for sure that I am here in Ontario instread of Quebec. I am jelious of those in other provinces that have save on foods and london drugs though. Sounds like they get some of the best deals. :o)
    However today I was able to use $1.00 off Fantastic Spray and my Buy one Get one Free in one transaction so I got two bottles for just $1.50. That kind of deal always makes me smile-thank you Walmart. :o)

  8. Mary Ormstrup,

    Thank you so much for your comment- Sounds like you got an awesome deal. It shows that it does pay off to take your coupons with you or at least leave them in the car when you go out. Sounds like there are a lot of possible changes coming to Canada. I love the idea of being able to upload coupon to a store card- It would make my binder alot lighter that is for sure. Thanks again-cheetah

  9. I agree couponing in the US does seem to offer many more options for the consumer to save big as opposed to Canada and especially Quebec.

    Believe me the rest of Canada has it much better than couponers in the constantly overly complicated and linguistically arrogant land of Quebec where I am unfortunately stuck for now due to family/work. You wouldn’t believe how many offers/coupons/contests specifically state available everywhere in the US and/or Canada except for Quebec.

    Or a site like Livingwell that offers all kinds of immediately redeemable printable coupons but as soon as you select Quebec as your province it changes to a mail-in coupon. I realize it’s still a coupon but you get my drift…

    Sorry for the slight rant just wanted to share that things could be worse for some/most of you and also the further limitations of couponing when you live in Quebec.

    Who dreams of moving to the real Canada one day…?

  10. First of all I would like to thank Cheetah! I have really saved so much money and had so much fun couponing!! Have always enjoyed things on sale but never seemed to have my coupons with me at the right moments – now its a different purse and the coupon book (from a dollar store!) comes with me everywhere! You never know when you will use it! Just yesterday my daughter and I were at Zellers – she found her favorite energy bars marked down to 20C each (expire in late August) she got all 25 of them and used 5 coupons at $1.00 off when you buy 2!! She paid nothing and she uses these bars after every work out and has one in her purse at all times!!
    I digress, what I wanted to share with you is that Safeway will be instituting loyalty coupons onto their club card this fall. I accidently got onto the site picked out the coupons I was interested in and went into the store to see if it was loaded on my club card – no one had heard of this – went from cashier to manager to finally the store manager who knew it was coming to Canada in the fall but did not know any more than that. I showed him the 2 pages of coupons I was interested in and wanted loaded on my card. He checked to see if he could do it – couldn;t yet so said to go shopping and he would honor the mounds of coupons I chose! I didn’t think it was fair so picked one item I was wanting that shopping trip (of course on sale and further on sale with the club card) but these coupons are on top of that!!! Everyone from the store was gathering – learning as well!
    Safeway is usually a more expensive grocery store but I must say it has some great buys in pharmacy and dry goods. The sales along with on line coupons that you choose plus manufacturer coupons will dust off my math skills to handle all that this fall!!

  11. I phoned the Save-On-Foods by my place to find out what there policy is with coupons. They will let you coupon stack as long as the coupons have different codes and don’t go over the cost of the item that you are purchasing. The biggest savings that I have had is $175. That is with using manufacturers coupons and the Save-On-More card.

  12. Unfortunately we don’t have the doubling up coupons and I find that in comparison to the US, our dates on coupons tend to expire quicker.

    The best way to get coupons for free stuff is by calling the companies themselves. You can call them to complain about items and get free coupons, or call to inquire if they have coupons available. Chances are they will send you something so it is definitely worth it. Some brands, (i.e. Pepsi, Hershey, etc) will not normally give them out.

    As for your comment on dollar stores, I heard a rumor that Dollar Giant is not only owned by Dollar Tree, (a big US dollar store chain), but that all Dollar Giant’s may become Dollar Tree’s. Not sure about the east coast, but I know for sure that right now, as we speak, a Dollar Tree warehouse is being built in Vancouver. Not sure where in Vancouver, but I get a feeling it is Richmond. Either way, with Dollar Tree slowly creeping over the Canadian border…we are sure to see more cleaning products, clothes, famous make-up products, etc that we’ve come to expect from local dollar stores. Along with Target, I was also told all Home Outfitters are to become Bed, Bath and Beyond stores and all Bay stores will eventually switch to Lord and Taylor stores. I have heard this from a former HBC employee. Any management on here affiliated with HBC, please correct me if I am wrong…but that is what I have heard. Big Lots will now have a deal settled to buy out Liquidation World stores in Canada as of July of this year. With all of these great stores moving into Canada, who knows how much we will save! Hopefully a lot :)

  13. you can coupon stack at save on foods, I did so over the weekend used buy one deep woods off and get a mini one free on top of the $2 off coupon.

  14. am i mistaken that almost all store flyers USED TO be full of coupons for their store only all the time? i always thought it was stupid – just make the item priced lower, aka on sale, for everyone and not just those who read their flyer?! now it seems rexall stores are the only ones with coupons in their flyers.

    i have seen stores with coupon walls, but the walls at loblaws tend to be for in-house brands primarily (or were when i shopped there).

    some stores give something similar to ‘loyalty cards/points’ – think shopper’s optimum points, PC points, HBC rewards.

    at the end of the day you have to ask yourself – was my time worth the time it took me to have saved what i saved? that should be the real question (though i admit the thrill of the ‘game’ feels good!!).

  15. Dealfinder,

    I have never found a store in my area that allows coupon stacking. I think if I did my stockpile might be a little more crazy. It is hard to pass up getting items for free like I hear some people are with stores that do allow it. I am so jelious of those that can stack.

  16. Cheetah, I agree with your 6 bottle limit, I do like to have a small stockpile of extras on hand so I am not running out.

    The other comment I was going to make is about London Drugs – there is a store quite close to my house but I do not have a lot of success couponing there. The policy on their website states that if a coupon says it cannot be combined with any other offer, then it can’t be used with other coupons. Almost all coupons nowadays have something like that written on them so I have not been able to stack coupons.

    Other people seem to have success there, maybe I just get the clerks that really scrutinize the coupons, I find they tend to read them fairly closely at my store.

  17. Keep the comments coming- this can be an open discussion we can all learn from. The more the merrier. Share your stories and let others know if the coupon policies are different or even better in your city or province. Have you ever shopped in the USA. If so did you use coupons?

  18. Brandy Saver,
    Just want to add that many many years ago, Loblaws and Dominion would double and triple coupons. The coupons were for 2 or 3 cents but you could buy a chocolate bar for 10 cents. My dad did the shopping and would use coupons at these stores in Winnipeg. How times have changes.

  19. I LOVE Extreme Couponing in the US because they double and sometimes triple manufacturers coupons which help lower the cost of your bill and they also pay overage. But in Canada which is my country of residence, i can get coupons from on-line and then ad-match. But overall Extreme Couponing is better in the US :)

  20. Dealfinder,

    Dealfinder- thank you for taking the time to leave your comment. I agree, it is really nice to see people donating to charities. I don’t think I will ever stockpile like they do on the TLC show. I don’t really see the point of having a full basement full of stuff. I say that now, but who knows how I feel a year down the road. LOL For now I buy what I will use. Six extra bottles is about my limit. Anything over and above I start to question if I can creating an illness. Thanks again and Happy Couponing.

  21. coupongirl777,

    Thank you so much coupongirl. I really appreciate you clarifying and sharing your knowledge with our readers. Since you have lived and shopped both in the USA and Canada your insite is very much appreciated. :O)

  22. You make some good points cheetah, I started couponing a couple months ago and getting the good deals seems to hinge on collecting the coupons and waiting patiently for the right sale price to combine them with. I have been watching the extreme couponing show and feel most of the stockpiles are simply organized hoarding. There is no way a person can use that much toothpaste before it expires. I understand the thrill of getting an item for free but I wish more of these people would talk about donating their oversupply. There is only so much one family can use whereas these items that are easy to obtain for next to nothing with coupons are the same items that are always in demand at food banks and charities that help the homeless and working poor. I have started a small stockpile of items I have obtained for free or next to nothing and plan to donate these items to a local charity in a few months – toothpaste, soap,shaving cream, canned goods etc. are the easiest to find for super cheap and always welcome at charities.

  23. Just a correction for you. i did coupon in the states for the past few years and just moved back to Canada.
    At the beginning of the article you mentioned coupon stacking. No store in the states will ever let you use more than one manufacturers coupon against 1 product. Coupon stacking means using a store coupon and a manufacturers coupon for the same product.
    I know that London Drugs allows more than one manufacturers coupon as long as they have different bar codes, this is not how it works in the states.

    Also I have to disagree with the belief about cost of living in Canada being higher because wages are higher. From my experience I don’t believe this is true. For the same job in America (as an engineer) my husband would be earning $20, 000 MORE than he does in Canada. I’m not sure why so many people in Canada believe that wages are better here, because i’ve run into this idea more than once, but I don’t believe it.

    also as far as paying for multiple copies of the newspaper each week, I used to get 5 sunday papers (with 2-3 coupon inserts each each) for only double the price it would have cost me to get 1 paper each week. Most newspapers offer a discount for ordering multiple copies for couponing.

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