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)


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