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 reward programs, and shopping on a full stomach. However, one surefire way to save money on groceries is by couponing.
For some, a coupon is just a tool for saving a buck on shaving cream or snacks. For others, knowing how to extreme coupon in Canada is a vital life skill. Canadian extreme couponing can help to save hundreds of dollars a month on basic necessities – allowing people in Canada to save money so they can cover other bills or set funds aside for a rainy day.
What is extreme couponing? How is extreme couponing Canada’s most underrated life skill? What are some Canadian couponing sites you could visit to learn more (and find great coupons)? Let's find out!
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. The thing is, couponers on television shows are usually notified when their televised shopping date will be. To make their haul that much more impressive, they’ll save up their highest-value coupons, including “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.
Why Should You Coupon Often?
Why is it important to get into the habit of using a coupon whenever you can (even if you're not engaging in extreme couponing)?
1. To Save Money
The first, and most obvious, reason is to save money. By cutting a coupon for purchases you were already going to make, you can help stretch your budget just a little bit further – which can be very important during tough times.
Check out our Budget + Expense Tracker Template for More Help!
2. To Get Used to Looking for the Best Deals
The practice of extreme couponing helps get you into good spending habits. By planning out your shopping trips – preparing a list of what to buy based on your needs and resources – you can build good deal-finding habits that can help you in other areas of your life with higher stakes.
For example, say you go house shopping (using the funds saved with your highly-developed couponing habits, naturally). Hopefully, the habits you developed to shop around, look for the best deals, read the fine print, and set realistic expectations of your needs will help put you in good stead when dealing with a real estate agent.
It can also help when you start planning your household budget since you'll be more used to planning your spending and cutting unnecessary costs.
3. To Curtail Unnecessary Spending
Odds are that if you’re on a tight budget, you’ve already made some pretty deep cuts to your unnecessary spending. While using a coupon can help you limit your necessary expenses, it can also help you get more used to cutting unnecessary expenses.
For example, do you really need a quart of ice cream (especially if you don’t have a coupon for it)? Odds are that you don’t. But, this is one of those small expenses that most people don’t even think about when their bills are high. It’s usually a spur-of-the-moment buying decision that leaves us feeling good (and with a quart of ice cream to indulge in later as a bonus).
However, the self-enforced discipline that comes with planning shopping trips around your coupons might also help you break this (and other) bad spending habits. By creating a coupon and needs-based shopping list (and sticking to it), you can cut unnecessary spending.
Seven Tips for Couponing
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).
However, this "extreme couponing Canada" trick isn't always available – check the next tip for more info!
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 them 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. This helps to reduce 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 other items that either don't expire or will take a long time to expire.
7. Create a List of Necessary and Unnecessary Items
Just because you have a coupon for something doesn’t mean that you need to buy the item. It can help to take stock of what you have and compare that to what you need.
For example, are you starting to run short on soup, paper towels, or other daily necessities? Add it to your “needs” list and look out for a coupon that you could use. Do you have a big stack of some frozen food that will take you weeks (or months) to work through? Don’t stress too much about missing out on a coupon if you aren’t going through it too fast already.
Where to Get Coupons in Canada
Wondering where you can take part in extreme couponing 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.
Additionally, there are couponing apps that could be helpful to have on your smartphone.
Canadian Coupon Sites
Looking to save a buck really quick? Going online to some Canadian couponing websites can provide some really great deals fairly quickly:
- 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
While a few of these apps don’t have anything to do with coupons per se, they can help you earn a spare bit of cash from your next shopping trip. This can help you stretch your budget just a little further than you could otherwise.
- 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!