Cut your Grocery Bills In Half
Do you have a one-stop shop grocery store? Do you do all your shopping here once a week, maybe once every 2 weeks? Does it hurt you to pay for that $200 bill? I think it may possibly hurt me more than you to watch you do that. I can understand the convenience, especially for those that do not like grocery shopping or work outstanding hours during the week and do weekend grocery shopping but this is the absolute worst way to shop! Here are some tips that can help you cut your bill by at least 50%!
You know those flyers that come in your mailbox every Wednesday and Friday, or are in the bundle of papers at the front of your apartment building? That is where you want to start. Most sale priced items reflect about 50% of their regular price or more, meaning that $2 bottle of shampoo on the front page of the Walmart flyer would be $4+ any other week. You should NOT be paying regular price for ANYTHING. It will go on sale at some point
BUY IN SEASON
Fruits and vegetable prices vary by season. When they’re in season they’re extremely inexpensive, but out of season they will cost you an arm and a leg. And most fruits and veggies can be frozen and kept for up to 6 months so this is not an area where you want to be splurging a lot of the time.
Is your favorite shampoo on sale? Spot a great deal on toothpaste? See some clearance items that are a fraction of the regular cost? If there is an amazing deal on a product you regularly use, why not stock up? Sales cycles rotate anywhere from 2 months – 6 months so it’ll be a while before this deal comes around again, and let’s face it, you don’t have the time to run out to the store every time you run out of toothpaste. Pay attention to the expiry though, you don’t want to overbuy. Stocking up does not mean you need to buy to the extent of the stockpiles seen on TLC’s Extreme Couponing, that’s a little too much for me. I personally have a family of 4 and have about 20 tubes of toothpaste currently in my storeroom. And yes, they were all FREE with coupons.
DO NOT SHOP HUNGRY
Did you know that the average person spends about 30% more than they normally would if they shop while hungry? People tend to impulse buy and purchase items that they don’t need to satisfy their visual craving at the time. Try going after a meal, or if you’re between meals, make sure to pack a snack!
LEAVE THE KIDS AT HOME
You’ll be free to run around the store as you wish and check out all the sale match-ups with your coupons. And are you really going to say no to your googly-eyed 4 year old when they run up to you with their full priced, favorite box of crackers and say “please please please”? You might, but chances are you won’t and you can kiss your budget good-bye. Shop alone instead, and when that brand of crackers goes on sale, grab a few boxes and stock up.
I know there is a certain social stigma that goes along with using coupons, and yes I have received the stares and listened to the exasperated sighs from the people behind me in line as I pull out my stack of coupons. But, when it comes down to it, I leave the store with $200 worth of items and $20 out of pocket and the person behind me stands with their mouth hanging on the floor, envious and dumbfounded as they realize their purchase of 5 grocery items costs more than my 50 items. Haha, well that’s not what always happens, but it feels great to hand over pieces of paper that you get for free instead of my own hard-earned money. And with the current economy, can we really afford to hand over more cash than we should?
Read More Here: Save Money On Grocery
Things That you should never pay for
There are certain items that you can always get for free with coupons if you follow the extreme couponing tips on this site. Well maybe not ALL the time but with the sales cycles rotating every 2-4 months and high-value coupons for these items you’re bound to get these for free at some point, so when you do, stock up! Here are some items that I personally NEVER pay for and you shouldn’t either!
- Toothpaste– There are always coupons for toothpaste out in circulation, whether it be from in-store or online or from your dentist’s office. Smaller tubes often go on sale for ~$1 so with a $1 coupon, FREE!
- Toothbrushes– Same deal with the toothpaste. These will often go on sale for $1 and there are constantly $1 coupons out so it’s free! Plus with the average toothbrush needing to be changed every 3 months and a dentist’s appointment every 6 months, you’ll be set!
- Shaving cream– Currently there are high-value coupons in the p&g brandsaver flyer and p&g coupons online that will give you $5 off when you purchase 3 Gillette products, this includes shaving creams for both men and women! This is just an example, but there are constantly coupons that can be used for these products that will make it dirt cheap or free!
- Deodorant– Sticks of deodorant will often go on sale for $2 or less and paired with coupons similar to the shaving cream deal, your deodorant will be free!
- Feminine hygiene products– Pads, tampons, pantyliners? Yup, all free! I personally hate paying for anything that is a one-use then throw away type of thing, and I think the manufacturers understand that the prices of these items add up so there are coupons out all the time. Notably, Stayfree pads and carefree liners always issue high-value coupons that allow you to get the items for free with a sale price.
- Over the counter pain medication (Advil, Tylenol)– Advil and Tylenol does not have to purchased in bottles of 100 to get the most for your money. Do you know those little bottles of 10 or 20 pills? Those are cheaper, AND free with coupons. That bottle of 10 count Advil on sale for $4? Check your $4 coupon for size restrictions. Often they won’t have any and it’ll be yours for free!
- Aerosols/household smellies– Do you use glade aerosols for your washroom? Have any candles at home? These are items that go on sale for $1, $2 all the time and can be paired with coupons to keep your house smelling fantastic, without costing you!
Have a read over our other tips to ensure you’re well prepared to maximize your savings during every shopping trip!
Where to Find Coupons
Coupons in USA are distributed in many ways. There are coupon cycles and new coupons coming out all the time. Get clicking and get searching and you’ll see your coupon stash growing in no time.
One very important point I want to make before you get started is, just because you don’t need to buy the item now does NOT mean that you shouldn’t grab the coupon. Coupons are free and are there for you to use on products you want to try or products that you regularly use. When you see a coupon, check the expiry date and grab a few for use later on with a sale. Then you can get the item for cheap or possibly free. So, to get you started here are some places to look:
There are 3 major types of newspaper coupon inserts in USA.
- P & G Brandsaver – every 2-3 months (and also the best one!)
- Redplum – about every month
- Smartsource – about every month
These inserts can be found in your newspaper subscription, the newspapers that are sold in stores and the flyers that are delivered to your house or newspaper. This does depend on which area of USA you are in though. If purchasing your newspaper, always check to see if the inserts are there as they are not distributed in every paper that is sold.
In stores there are a few different types of coupons:
- Store coupons- certain stores have in store coupons, such as the Loblaw’s owned chain of stores (Superstore, Extra Foods, No Frills, Zehrs, etc) that can be found around the store in front of the products or at the front on the coupon board
- Manufacturer tear pads- At the beginning of every month new coupons are put out by smartsource for different products. There are also coupons distributed from other manufacturers at various times during the year. If you take a browse around all the aisles of a grocery store, you’re bound to find some coupons that will be useful to you at some point.
- Peelies- Sometimes a manufacturer will issue a coupon directly on the product for use on your purchase immediately. These are great as they are usually high value, but these should not be taken unless you are actually purchasing the product
- Demos- On weekends especially your local grocery store might have a representative from a certain company doing a demonstration of their product in store. They might be giving out samples, or showing you how their product works and 90% of the time, they have COUPONS! These are usually special coupons that you can’t find regularly on tearpads so I personally use my conversational skills to chat up the rep to get a few extra
There are a number of online resources where you can get coupons. These sites are partnered with manufacturers so you can order coupons from the site and they will mail it to you for free!
- www.save.caoffers coupons from a variety of manufacturers and is constantly adding new coupons, so check back often! You can often reorder after 1 month as well.
- www.brandsaver.caoffers coupons from Proctor and Gamble every 2 or 3 months when their newspaper issue comes out.
- www.gocoupons.ca offers coupons from various manufacturers and lets you order once a week!
There are also printable coupons offered by many sites for use right away! A few notable ones are:
- www.smartsource.ca that offers a variety of coupons
- www.livingwell.ca that offers coupons for over the counter medications
Some company websites will also offer a coupon for a product they are trying to promote. I will get a printable coupon section up soon that lists them all for you!
From the Company
Do you have products that you use all the time? Are you brand loyal to a certain company? Have you ever had a complaint about a product you were unsatisfied with? Well, the company wants to hear all this feedback from you. And quite often, if you let them know that you love their products and use them all the time they’ll send you complimentary coupons as a thank you for being a loyal customer. If you had an unsatisfactory experience with a defective item they may send you a replacement coupon.
The most difficult area of marketing for any company is not reaching new customers, it’s keeping their old ones and they will go to great lengths to do so and let you know that you are appreciated.
How should I go about starting to coupon?
The first thing I recommend is reading through this guide and our how to save tips. There’s information in those posts that are couponing essentials. Have look at a few of our Extreme shopping trips as well to see how coupons can be used and then hop over to the Canadian coupons tab to order some mail out coupons!
Where do I find coupons?
Coupons can be found online in printable form, in store, in newspapers and in your mail directly from companies. Find current coupon information regarding those sources in the links.
Where can I use coupons?
Coupons can be used at pretty much every large chain retailer, and some small ones too. Walmart, Lowblaw’s owned stores, Safeway, Zellers, Shoppers Drug Mart, London Drugs and Canadian Tire to name a small few.
How can I get deals like the ones posted here?
After you’ve started couponing for a few months, you’ll become more aware of sale prices and sale rotations to determine what you consider a great deal. The key to this is to take a few minutes and scan through your flyers when they come every week.
I want to start couponing, but I don’t have enough time. What do you suggest?
A lot of the legwork comes in the beginning when you start couponing because there’s so much information to take in. If you find yourself in a time jam and aren’t able to go out to the stores to pick up coupons, take a few minutes and order coupons online. Don’t have time to sit down and read through our posts?
How do you get multiples of coupons?
If I spot a tear pad with coupons for a product I use regularly, I grab a few and save them for a good sale. I keep an eye out for this coupon at stores during the next several weeks as well and grab a few each time I go.
For coupons that are ordered through online websites, I mail to several addresses including family and friends. They save those coupons for me and coupons that come in their newspapers inserts. I also have a few coupon friends who I trade with and if need be I order coupons from Ebay from time to time.
What’s coupon stacking and where can you do it?
Coupon stacking is using more than 1 coupon per product. Each coupon needs to be different, meaning it needs a different UPC code. For example, a $1 coupon printed from online, a $1.50 from instore and a $0.50 from a newspaper insert can be used together on a bottle of shampoo as long as they are all for the specified product. Coupon stacking is tentative at London Drugs and Save on Foods. There have been a lot of recent changes in coupon stacking policies so nothing is solid across the board at the moment.
What’s the difference between one coupon per purchase and one coupon per transaction?
One per purchase means one coupon per ITEM purchased, so 10 tubes of toothpaste=10 coupons that you can use. One coupon per transaction, person or per customer means you can only use one even if you buy 10.
Which newspaper can I find inserts in?
See this list for local papers that carry inserts!
Do you really need all the items you buy?
Since I’ve been couponing for quite a while now, I’ve really made the effort to only purchase items I actually need. Sometimes though, I’ll buy items I’ve been wanting to try if they’re cheap enough with coupons. You’ll notice that I purchase large quantities of items from time to time on shopping trips. I shop for my family of 3 and another household and also give items away to friends and my local food bank, so nothing ever goes to waste.
I can’t get a deal/freebie/coupon to work, what do I do?
In terms of technical issues, I can’t be much help. Try contacting the company/retailer customer service line for assistance. Many times when companies launch a new promotion they run into glitches because of underestimated traffic, so if you give it a few hours and come back it’ll likely be up and running!
And here are some fun little known facts about coupons!
- Retailers are fully reimbursed by the manufacturer for each coupon they receive granted that they show proof of sufficient stock. They are even given a specified handling fee. So you save money, and the store makes money!
- Each year over 3 billion dollars in coupons are distributed across North America while the redemption rate hovers around 1-2%.
- There are many different types of coupons. There is a dollar off coupons, the most common kind, for $1 off here, $2 off there. There are Buy one get one free coupon which is great paired with a sale. There is a high-value dollar off coupons, which most times will make a product free. And lastly, the best kind is free product coupons. These are offered promotionally by many companies to get you to try their products.
- Most coupons do not include tax, but a few do. Make sure to read the details of your coupon carefully.
- For a coupon to be valid in Usa it must have a USA remit address on the back, a valid barcode and be redeemed within the expiry date
Just like the LOL’s, the BRB’s and the TTYL’s, the coupon community has its very own acronyms which I do use in some of my posts so here’s a guide to help you out.
- BOGO– buy one get one
- OOP– out of pocket
- WUB– when you buy
- HV– high value
- FPC– free product coupon
- MIR– mail in rebate
- RC– rain check
- ROAK– random act of kindness
- YMMV– your mileage may vary
- RCSS– Real Canadian Superstore
- WM– Walmart
- WMS– Walmart Supercenter
- SDM– Shoppers Drug Mart
- SOF– Save on Foods
- LD– London Drugs
- PSF– Price Smart Foods
- SW– Safeway
- NF– No Frills
- SCOP– scanning code of practice
- PM– price match
- HBA– health and beauty