Tips & Tricks of the Coupon Trade

 

Couponing  Tips & Tricks for Canada

Couponing Tricks for Extreme Couponing in Canada

Ok, when I first sat down today to write about this topic, I was a little afraid I wouldn’t have enough content to talk about. I knew that after 5 years of Canadian couponing I must have learned some “Tricks of the Trade”. Well, good news, I have learned a thing or two over the years. So on to the next couponing lesson.

If you are really going to come out ahead by couponing you have to know your pricing. I know this sounds a little obvious, but I quickly found out that I really didn’t know to price as much as I thought I did. There is nothing more frustrating than standing at a store shelf wondering if the store sale is really a good deal.

I suggest creating a price book.

This is really easy to do. Just get a small notebook or notepad and start writing down common items you buy all the time. Beside each item, write down the best price you have seen that item on sale for. When you see that particular item again, check your price book to see if that item is a good deal or not. You will eventually get a good feel for what price certain items should be. For example, me, I know without hesitation that $4.99 or less on Royale Bathroom Tissue (12 rolls or more) is a good deal especially since I always have a $1.00 off coupon to use. I know that Nature Valley Bars regularly go on sale for $1.99 so I will never pay any more than that. Get to know if it is truly a sale or just an advertised price. There is a difference. Look and learn what an item should be at a regular price and then you will easily determine if the sale is worth it or not.

Related Article: how to start a Price Book

Unit Pricing

Once you start using a price book it will also be easier for you to figure out unit pricing. What I mean by this is you can more quickly see if buying the larger super size item is a better deal or not. Sometimes bigger is not always better.

If it is double the size, but also more than double the price, it is not a deal.

Carry a calculator or use your cell phone for easy calculations.

Example Sobeys has Kraft Dinner on sale 2/$1.00 my price book tells me it is regularly.98¢ (so this is a good deal) Wal-Mart has a 12 pack case of Kraft Dinner for $7.97. When you do the math Wal-Mart is charging.66¢ per unit compared to Sobeys that is .50¢ (Wal-Mart is more expensive, but still a good deal)

Great Sales + Coupons = Double Whammy

Another trick to remember is what I like call the “double whammy”. Look for great sale prices by looking through and reading your weekly flyers. If you don’t get them delivered to your door you can read most of them online  Reebee is a great app!  Combine the sale price by using Canadian coupons and turn it into a super deal.

There is absolutely no reason why you cannot do this. I have never been denied using coupons on sale items. Some people think because some coupons say that it cannot be combined with any other offer that this refers to having the item on sale.

What it actually means is that you cannot use another coupon at the same time on that one single item.

Also, please remember that sometimes buying more than one item and using a “buy 2 and save” coupon is often a better deal than just buying one item and using the single purchase coupon. If you have a coupon to save.50¢ when you buy one item and another coupon to save $1.50 when you buy two items, then the second coupon is the one to use.

Tear Pads – Coupons

When collecting coupons from store shelves don’t just take one. If it is an item you buy all the time and the coupon doesn’t expire for a while then take three or more. However, taking a whole pad of coupons is not acceptable it is just wrong. Don’t take more than what you plan to use yourself or can use in a trade or train.

When using manufacturer or store coupons don’t pay attention to the picture. It is what the coupon actually says that is important. If the coupon shows Olay Ribbons in the picture, read the coupon, it might say save on any Olay product or it might list 3 or 4 different items that the coupon can be used on. Remember, sometimes there is just not enough room to print more than one picture on a coupon.

Basics

Another hint is to never run out of the basics. Don’t wait until you really need something and then be forced to pay a ridiculous price for it.

For items that don’t quickly expire, buy them when they are on sale and use your coupons.

I do this with items such as dish soap, laundry soap, shampoo, tampons etc.

Also remember when a store puts a limit on the quantity you can buy, just simply pack up the kids or take a couple of friends with you. Hand out the cash, distribute the coupons and point them in the direction of the sale. Divide and conquer.

Rainchecks

If an item is on sale and you didn’t get there on time and the product is already sold out don’t worry, simply head on over to the customer service desk with your flyer and ask them for a rain-check.

A rain-check will allow you to get the sale price when they re-stock that item. Remember some stores put a 30-day expiry date on their rain-checks and others don’t. If they still don’t have the item in stock at the end of the 30 days just ask them to extend it or issue you a new one.

Price Matching

An easy trick is to get stores to price match. Price matching is when a store will match or beat a competitors price. In order to do this, you will need to first know which stores in your area price match and once you do, just take your weekly flyers with you to the store. So the cashier the flyer and ask them politely to price match that particular item. This way you are not running around town from store to store and wasting all your coupon saving money on gas for your car.

This leads into my next point I wanted to make. Get to know your store’s coupon policy. Just about every store has a set of rules when it comes to couponing. The problem is most cashiers are never trained in this. It is up to you to know your store’s policy. If you are a serious couponer you will have a copy of each store’s policy on the back of your binder. Since policies can change over time make sure to stay up to date. You can actually e-mail your local stores and ask them their couponing policy. Most will send you an email back with all the details.

Another great tip is to take advantage of mail-in rebates. These also can be found on store shelves, on packaging and online. Simply buy that specific item, retain your receipt and circle that item on your receipt. Fill out the mail-in rebate offer or take a picture of your receipt and enclose it with your receipt in an envelope and mail it off.

I love getting the cheques in the mail. It really does feel like finding money. You pay for the product and usually get the full price back, so you really are getting the item for the price of the stamp.

Take advantage of rewards and point systems. Remember, there are Air Miles, HBC points, PC  Optimum, Aero Plan Miles, Club Sobeys, etc.

 

Oh, I just thought of a really good one to add to these. Learn your stores’ “Scanning Code of Practice” What this means is that some stores, depending on their policy, when you or they scan a product at the checkout and that item comes up at the higher price than listed in the store or advertised in their flyer you are eligible for a discount.

Some stores policy state that if the item scans wrong, you will get that item completely FREE!  However, if the item is a higher priced ($10.00 or more) they will give you $10.00 off instead.

They won’t catch this error, nor will they tell about their rules in regards to this. It is up to you to know your prices and watch as the items are being scanned.

I recently was shopping at Fortinos and saw that Maple Leaf Prime Chicken Tenderloins were on sale for $6.99 and I had a $2.00 off coupon. This was enough incentive for me to take advantage of the sale and finally give them a try. When I went to the self-checkout and scanned them they rang up at $8.99 (the regular price) I immediately told my hubby to stop scanning and called the cashier over and explained that they scanned through at the wrong price. I hinted that they should be FREE for not scanning properly. She called for a price check and motioned for her supervisor to come over. They gave me the chicken completely free and I retained my coupon.

I sent my daughter to retrieve another box knowing that they would not allow this again (it only applies to the first item when buying multiples) and used my coupon to still get a second box for just $4.99 when I used my coupon. I scored two boxes that would normally be $17.98 at regular price for just $4.99. I love it when this happens.

Wrapping it Up

So to wrap things up –

  • Remember, don’t use coupons until the item is on sale,
  • Get rain-checks for items, not in stock,
  • Don’t wait until you run out of something to buy it,
  • Collect rewards and point,
  • Learn your unit pricing and remember buying in bulk is not always the best deal
  • Read your coupons, look at expiry dates,
  • And most importantly, take your coupons with you everywhere. You never know when you are going to find a great sale.

I hope I have been able to help you with these little tricks of the trade I have learned over the years.

I look forward to your comments.

Happy Couponing Everyone!

~Cheetah

THIS IS JUST ONE IN A SERIES OF COUPONING ARTICLES I HAVE WRITTEN.

YOU CAN SEE AND READ MORE OF MY COUPONING ARTICLES HERE.


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