I’m sure you’ve seen an episode of TLC’s Extreme Couponing, or at the very least heard about. You know, when a shopper (typically a female) walks into a store, and buys $550 worth of groceries for just $5.75. Whopping savings of 95.7%. So, you continue to watch the show, and sit there in disbelief wondering, “How can I get 95.7% off of my next grocery bill”.
Finally after some disbelief, you flip the TV off and head to bed, only to discover that you can’t fall asleep because you’re thinking of how to slash you next grocery bill by 95%. Show’s like TLC’s Extreme Couponing light the flame under your butt to get out and start your own extreme couponing.
So, is it possible for me to walk into my local Loblaws store, and slash my grocery bill by at least 50 percent? I wanted to find out what the hype is behind extreme couponing, and how can I save a minimum of 50 percent off of my next grocery bill.
The real answer: highly unlikely. Savings do exist, and some tricks can be pulled to slash your grocery bill. Despite all the coupons, extreme couponing does not exist in Canada. The new correct term is Canadian
Coupon stacking doesn’t exist in Canada.
It’s no big secret that our neighbors south of the border have greater savings. I cringe every time I walk into a US Walmart to discover Canadian beer for half of the price. The real kicker though, is that this same beer is brewed about 10 minutes for my house. Yet, we the Canadians are paying double the price of our own home-made products at home, while our neighbors reap the discounted benefits.
So, why are Americans getting better deals? A few reasons, but for starters the population south of the border is ten times bigger. There are more grocery stores, and promotions galore. Coupons are available everywhere, websites, flyers, newspapers and even on the back of the receipts. Retailers give consumers every incentive to come back and shop some more.
Finally the real reason you’ll never get 90% off of your next grocery bill is because coupon stacking doesn’t exist in Canada. Only one store (London Drugs) allows coupon stacking in Canada. Sadly for me, this store does not exist in Ontario.
If you’re lucky enough, and have a London Drugs store in your province, you should entertain the idea of extreme couponing. This is where you take as as many coupons as you want and put them towards one product. You only have to make sure that your coupons have different UPC codes and do not exceed an item’s value.
Stacking coupons is the key contributor to getting an extreme deal on your next grocery bill.
Almost all the big box stores and grocery stores in Canada offer price matching. Rather than visiting a bunch of different stores to purchase the items on sale, you can save your self a lot of time. Price matching works in stores like Wal-Mart, so it’s always a good idea to bring the competitor’s flyer with you as proof. Stores will only match the advertised price on that item, because it’s pretty hard to provide competitor’s pricing without some legitimate proof.
Coupons and vouchers
There are many ways to get manufacturer’s coupons in Canada. Websites such as Save.ca, P&G Brand Saver & WebSaver will mail you coupons. There are also manufacturer websites that offer printable coupons. Furthermore, there are many quality blogs or couponing websites such as Mrs. January, Groceryalerts.ca , bargainmoose.ca and coolcanucks.cathat essentially do all the work for you. They seek out bargains, coupons, promotions and direct their readers to places such as Facebook where the coupons or voucher codes can be printed. Most of the time the coupons can be printed directly from most Canadian blog/couponing websites.
These couponing blogs also share the different rules on couponing, and the store couponing policies. We all know that coupons are easily susceptible to fraud. In order for the coupon to be valid in Canada, it must include a Canadian mailing address on the back or front of the coupon. This is the address that the store will use to mail the coupon back to the manufacturer to get the rebate.
Something else to keep in mind; differences between per transaction and per purchase limits of coupons. Some coupons are per transaction and other coupons are per purchase. Essentially per transaction means one item per shopping trip, and per purchase means if you purchase a certain number of the same product, you can redeem one coupon for each one.
I tried couponing for a little while, and it didn’t do it for me. I don’t shop nearly enough for groceries to reap the benefits. Living in a condo, I’m also limited to space and certainly don’t have the room to collect items. Finally, I don’t have the patience to clip, collect, cut or stack coupons. It’s a personal choice more than anything else.
As a Canadian, I speak for all of us when I say that were not fortunate enough to get coupons on fruits, veggies or meat. Most of the coupons are on non-perishable items, yet majority of our money goes on fruits, veggies and meat. However, we get a bone thrown our way every so often with some coupons on dairy items. Yeah, $1.00 off eggs!
I think the whole couponing idea is pretty neat, and there are definitely ways to slash a little off the grocery bill with some planning ahead. Check it out for your self.