Grocery store expenses can really wreck a budget (in fact, they were number one on our list of household budget killers). There are many ways to reduce how much you spend at grocery stores, such as making a list and sticking to it, taking advantage of grocery store rewards programs, and shopping on a full stomach. However, one surefire way to save money on groceries is by couponing.
Couponing in Canada
Television shows like TLC's Extreme Couponing in the United States have helped fuel Canadian couponing (it’s no longer on the air, but can still be streamed). Extreme couponing is an activity that combines shopping skills with couponing in an attempt to save as much money as possible while accumulating the most groceries. In one episode, couponers were able to reduce their grocery store expenses by nearly 80%!
So, does extreme couponing work in Canada? Yes and no. As Maple Money points out, the couponers on the television show are notified in advance about when their televised shopping date will be. To make their haul that much more impressive, they’ll save up their highest-value coupons and “free product” coupons and use them all at once on that day. Some even use paid coupon clipping services, and those costs aren’t factored into their savings either.
So, don’t feel bad if you’re not saving hundreds of dollars on every trip to the store – those extreme couponers aren’t either! However, it’s still possible to save quite a bit of money using coupons if you’re organized and dedicated enough.
Six Tips for Couponing in Canada
On Extreme Couponing, many couponers had compiled databases, store maps, and piles upon piles of coupons they’d been categorizing for months, even years. Many of us simply don’t have that much time on our hands! However, even taking a page or two from their book can help cut down on grocery store purchases. Here are six couponing tips to consider.
1.Collect Coupons for Products You Purchase Regularly
When couponing, you should zero in on items you normally purchase. You’ll want to be flexible about which brands you purchase, but you shouldn’t clip coupons for products you don’t normally use. There’s no sense in buying soda just because it’s on sale when you normally drink filtered water.
2. Practice "Coupon Matching"
Using a coupon when something is priced regularly can save you money, but “matching up” a coupon with a sale item can save you even more! Coupon matching is the art of using a coupon on an item that is already on sale or clearance. This guarantees you the lowest price possible!
3. Practice "Coupon Stacking"
Coupon stacking is using more than one coupon on a single item. For example, you may be able to stack a manufacturer coupon and a store coupon to maximize your savings. Once you’re comfortable with coupon stacking, you might try triple coupon stacking! That’s the trifecta of using a manufacturers’ coupon, a store coupon, and a cash rebate app (more on those in a moment).
4. Check Store Policies and Coupons
You want couponing to be fun, and nothing ruins that like an embarrassing checkout experience. So, be sure you know whether the store you’re at accepts manufacturers’ coupons (this could vary by region). You’ll also want to check the coupons themselves. For example, if they say “not redeemable with any other offer,” you won’t be able to use the coupon stacking strategy.
5. Organize Your Coupons
You don’t necessarily have to create a computer database like some extreme couponers, but you should at least invest in a small folio case that you can pick up at a dollar store. There are even some specifically designed for coupons that allow you to organize by date (never let a good coupon expire!) or category (canned goods, freezer foods, personal care, etc.). Using one will make separating and keeping track of coupons much easier (and make checkout much simpler, too).
6. Stock Up on Sale Items
It’s best to avoid stocking up on items that will expire, as that can become wasteful and defeat the whole purpose of couponing. (If you do, be sure to constantly rotate your stockpile so the oldest items are at the front, reducing the likelihood of spoilage.)
On the other hand, if you have the space, stocking up on non-perishable sale items you know you will eventually use makes good sense. We’re talking about certain canned foods, cleaning supplies, toiletries, personal care items, and the like which won’t go bad over time.
Where to Get Coupons in Canada
Wondering how to get coupons in Canada? You can clip them the old-fashioned way or you can use one of the many Canadian coupon sites offering manufacturer coupons, grocery store coupons, and more. In addition, there are couponing apps that could be helpful to have on your smartphone.
Canadian Coupon Sites
- Flipp – Offers a large database of flyers in your chosen area, with a built-in search function to easily find the products you need in order to price match
- Save.ca – Offers exclusive coupons on anything from bread to peanut butter to detergent. Coupons can be printed at home or mailed to you.
- Savealoonie.com – Offers printable, digital, and order-by-mail coupons, plus features a coupon match-up section for all the major Canadian grocery retailers, updated weekly. You can also find fast food coupons here.
- Smartcanucks.ca – Offers food and home coupons and features a forum section for members to discuss and post new finds.
- SmartSource.ca – Offers a huge selection of coupons, however print-at-home is the only option to get them.
- Websaver.ca – Offers printable, digital, and order-by-mail coupons. You can browse by flyer, item, category, or recipe.
Canadian Coupon Apps that Let You Earn Money
- Caddle – Snap a photo of your receipt after making qualified purchases to earn cash; when your balance reaches $20 or more you can request a cheque.
- Drop – Link your credit or debit card and Drop automatically tracks your purchases, giving your points for qualifying items that can be redeemed for cash or popular gift cards.
- Paymi – Works just like Drop; why not try them both out?
- Rakuten (formerly Ebates) – Visit your preferred retail website through Rakuten when shopping online and automatically earn cash back on your purchases. With 750+ partner stores, you’re sure to find your favourite.
Couponing in Canada Can Really Pay Off
Couponing in Canada isn’t what it used to be. Sure, some clipping may be involved, but today’s technology often makes it much easier to coupon… and much easier to save! For more money-saving ideas, check out our popular blogs How to Save Money on Groceries and How to Shop for Meals on a Budget. Happy couponing!