Couponing Tips & Tricks for Canada
Couponing Tricks for Extreme Couponing in Canada
When I first sat down today to write about this topic, I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough content to discuss. After five years of Canadian couponing, I knew I must have learned some “Tricks of the Trade.” Well, good news, I have learned a thing or two. So on to the next couponing lesson.
If you are going to come out ahead by couponing, you have to know your pricing. I know this sounds a little obvious, but I quickly realized that I didn’t know to price as much as I thought. Nothing is more frustrating than standing at a store shelf wondering if the store sale is a good deal.
I suggest creating a price book.
This is easy to do. Get a small notebook or notepad and write down everyday items you always buy. Beside each item, write down the best price for which you have seen that item on sale. When you see that particular item again, check your price book to see if that item is a good deal. You will eventually get a good feel for certain items’ prices. For example, 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. I know Nature Valley Bars regularly go on sale for $1.99, so I will never pay more than that. Get to know if it is 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 quickly determine if the sale is worth it.
Related Article: how to start a Price Book
Once you start using a price book, it will also be easier to figure out unit pricing. What I mean by this is you can more quickly see if buying the oversized super-size item is a better deal or not. Sometimes bigger is not always better.
It is not a deal if it is double the size and more than double the price.
Carry a calculator or use your cell phone for easy calculations.
For example, Sobeys has Kraft Dinner on sale at 2/$1.00. My price book tells me it is regularly.98¢ (so this is a good deal). Walmart has a 12-pack case of Kraft Dinner for $7.97. When you do the math, Walmart 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 to call the “double whammy.” Look for incredible 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 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 that because some coupons say it cannot be combined with any other offer, this refers to having the item on sale.
It means that you cannot use another coupon at the same time on that one item.
Also, please remember that sometimes buying more than one item and using a “buy two and save” coupon is often a better deal than just buying one thing 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 things, 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 vouchers 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, ignore the picture. It is what the coupon 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 list 3 or 4 different items on which the coupon can be used. Sometimes, there is not enough room to print more than one picture on a coupon.
Another hint is to never run out of the basics. Please don’t wait until you need something and then be forced to pay a ridiculous price.
For items that don’t quickly expire, buy them when they are on sale and use your coupons.
I do this with dish soap, laundry, shampoo, tampons etc.
Also, remember that when a store limits the quantity, you can buy, pack up the kids or take a couple of friends with you. Hand out the cash, distribute the coupons and point them toward the sale. Divide and conquer.
If an item is on sale and you didn’t get there on time, and the product is already sold out, don’t worry. Head to the customer service desk with your flyer and ask 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, ask them to extend it or issue you a new one.
An easy trick is to get stores to price match. Price matching is when a store matches or beats a competitor’s price. To do this, you will need first to know which stores in your area price match, and once you do, take your weekly flyers with you to the store. So the cashier the flyer and asked 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 to the next point I wanted to make. Get to know your store’s coupon policy. Just about every store has a set of rules for 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 severe couponer, you will have a copy of each store’s policy on your binder. Since policies can change over time, stay up to date. You can email your local stores and ask them about 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. Buy that specific item, retain your receipt and circle that item on your receipt. Please fill out the mail-in rebate offer or take a picture of your receipt, enclose it with your receipt in an envelope, and mail it off.
I love getting the cheques in the mail. It does feel like finding money. You pay for the product and usually get the total price back, so you get the item for the stamp cost.
Take advantage of rewards and point systems. There are Air Miles, HBC points, PC Optimum, Aero Plan Miles, Club Sobeys, etc.
Oh, I just thought of a good one to add to these. Learn your stores’ “Scanning Code of Practice” What this means is that in some stores, depending on their policy, when you or they scan a product at the checkout, that item comes up at a higher price than listed in the store or advertised in their flyer you are eligible for a discount.
Some stores’ policies state that you will get that item utterly FREE if the item scans wrong! However, if the thing is 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 regarding this. It is up to you to know your prices and watch as the items are 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 at $8.99 (the regular price). I immediately told my hubby to stop scanning, called the cashier, and explained that they scanned through at the wrong price. I hinted that they should be FREE for not scanning correctly. 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 they would not allow this again (it only applies to the first item when buying multiples) and used my coupon still to get a second box for just $4.99 when I used my coupon. I scored two boxes, typically $17.98, at the regular price of 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 points,
- 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!
THIS IS JUST ONE OF A SERIES OF COUPONING ARTICLES I HAVE WRITTEN.