Today I want to discuss couponing. Pagans are well-known to be short on cash. We love to spend our money on candles, incense, tools and books! To support our spending on these wonderful items, sometimes we need to save money on the not so fun items. Couponing can help us do that.
Couponing in the US is a whole other world that I have very little knowledge about. The policies the US has are worlds away from ours. I have never seen a store double a coupon in Canada. Not only that, but they can be difficult to obtain. We don’t have the same type of newspaper inserts here in Canada. Since this is the case I will only be discussing how to coupon in Canada.
The main ways to get coupons in Canada:
- Newspaper inserts and flyers. Check your local papers and flyers.
- The best websites I have found are here: (Always make sure your coupon is valid in your province!)
www.websaver.ca not only does websaver have printable coupons, but they have a VIP mail to home coupon pack. It’s first come first serve each month. So you have to keep checking when the next release date is and get there early. They go fast!
www.gocoupons.ca – these are typically mail to home but they do have some printables.
No Frills grocery store has tons of printable coupons and since they are manufacturer coupons you can use them at any store. Check online at www.nofrills.ca be sure to put in your postal code so you get coupons you can actually use.
My favorite coupon to get is from bulk barn. Anytime you are about to go to bulk barn just google “bulk barn coupon Canada” and you will get the current printable coupon. They vary from time to time. Sometimes it’s $3 off $15, $5 off $20 etc. but there is always one available.
- In store coupons. There are a variety of in store coupons from tear pads in the aisle to coupon boards at the entrance of the store. (Particularly Loblaws and Supersotres). Again, these are usually manufacturer’s coupons so they can be used at any store.
- Another type of coupon, that can be rare in Canada are known as Catalinas. These are coupons that are printed on the back of your receipt. Rexall often offers $5 off your next purchase of $25. I have gotten Catalinas at Metro also. Always check the back of your receipts for these. Also, many stores will give out coupons at the till when you make a purchase. These are usually dated for the week after. They do this to get you back in the store the next week. You can ask what coupons they are offering and plan your purchases.
- The final way I get coupons is through email offers. Signing up for emails and offers is a great way to save. I get coupons for just about any store through email. My favourites are Bed, Bath and Beyond, and Michael’s Craft Store. Always be sure you know if the coupon is for in-store or online. If you don’t want your regular email account bombarded with “junk mail” (to me coupons are never junk), set up an account you only use for these offers.
Reading the terms on the back of the coupon, or the terms from the website before you plan a purchase is the most important thing. It’s awful when you get to the till only to find out the coupon you have can’t be applied to your purchase. It’s also good to know the coupon policy of the store you shop at. This info can be found online or by calling customer service. Some stores do not except coupons so always be sure.
Here are my best tips:
- Only print coupons for items you are actually going to buy. It is a waste of ink and paper to print for items you won’t use. I found when I first started I printed everything because I was just so excited! I wanted to fill my binder with coupons! Most of them were for things I never bought, so they ended up in the recycling bin.
- Keep an eye on the expiry dates. I can’t stress this enough.
- Look out for the quantity you need to buy. Many Canadian coupons have a limit on the quantity. For instance the smaller, cheaper size is not applicable for the coupon. Usually you will find it is the larger size that can be purchased. So make sure that the coupon is saving you the money. Sometimes the small sizes go on sale and are cheaper to buy than to buy the larger size with the coupon.
- Always be sure it is for the right product. Sometimes the picture on the coupon does not match the product it is for. Or sometimes it is sort of hidden on what the item is. For example: last week my mom sent me a coupon for Oxyclean. (I like to use it in place of bleach in the laundry.) She glanced at the coupon, saw Oxyclean and sent it to me. Turns out the coupon was for Oxyclean DISH detergent. Glad I noticed before I put it on the list.
- Try to always use a coupon when the item is on sale!!! This is the best way to use a coupon because you are saving more money. I got a bunch of coupons for the shampoo my husband likes. It was a promotional time for that product so it also happened to be on sale at Rexall. Rexall allows you to combine coupons with their sale prices so I got a year’s supply of his shampoo for about $5. I used a high value coupon ($2 off) combined with the sale price that was $3 off allowing me to purchase each bottle for $1. You need to do separate transactions as it is one coupon per customer per purchase, but it can be done. Sometimes you need to bring a friend along because they won’t allow you to do back to back transactions. So always be sure you know the coupon policies. Always check the fliers for each store you shop at and combine your coupons with the sale price. Sometimes this means shopping around, but it the savings are worth it, it’s worth a few extra minutes.
- Lastly, be organized! Keep a coupon binder. Go to the dollar store and pick up a binder and those plastic sheets for card collectors. You can keep your coupons in order based on the type of coupon (cleaning, produce, etc.) and when they expire. When I make my shopping list, I highlight the item that I have a coupon for. So at a glance I see 10 highlighted lines on my list, that tells me I should have 10 coupons in my hand when I check out. I use really good clips to keep my coupons attached to my list so I never lose one. Also, keep your binder with you. Sometimes there are unadvertised sales in store and you don’t want to miss out on a deal.
A note on coupon etiquette. First of all be organized. It’s awful when the people behind you are moaning and groaning because you are taking forever with your coupons. Also, give the coupons to the cashier as they are scanning the item. This saves time and confusion. When you take coupons from a tear pad, leave some for others. I am lactose intolerant. Lactose free milk is very expensive. Once in awhile I find coupons for it and then I want to take as many as possible (you can freeze milk!) but I always leave some for others. I take only the amount I actually intend to buy.
Lastly I want to point out that you can get items for your food bank donations at a fraction of the cost by couponing. Check your fliers, see what non-perishables are on sale and look for coupons on those items. You can give a little more if you are saving money. Your community will thank you.
I’m sure there are other tips and tricks to couponing in Canada and I welcome all of your comments on how to do this even better than I am! Please feel free to share and critique.