Extreme Couponing: What do you think?
May 6, 2011, Posted By Anne
Going dumpster diving to find coupons? Storing toilet paper under your son’s bed? Having an entire room filled in with coupons? How far are you willing to go to save money on your purchases? With TLC’s new TV show on extreme couponing we can now watch people get a $1000 worth of products for absolutely nothing.
When I first heard about this show I couldn’t believe it, but I was even more surprised after watching a few episodes. People are really going nuts with couponing but they are able to buy food and supplies for almost nothing. Am I just too lazy to do extreme couponing? Do I have the time to do it? And is it possible to save that much money here in Canada? Let’s discuss it, your comments and thoughts are more than welcome.
Extreme Couponing in Canada
When I watched the first episode of Extreme Couponing I couldn’t believe how much they were able to save and how much I could have saved by using more coupons and following closer on deals. So I checked a few stores policies and I read articles about printable couponing in Canada to see if these kinds of discounts could also be found here in Canada. First of all you need to understand that there is a lot more competition in the US then there is here when it comes to supermarkets and pharmacies for example. This means that stores are more willing to release coupons and give customers awesome discounts if their competition is also doing it. In Canada with less competitors we can certainly expect interesting deals but not as crazy as what you can find in the US.
Loyalty Rewards Cards
One of the first differences are loyalty reward programs. From what I could see in the show the discounts and points customers could get seem to be a lot more important than what we get here, not only from the show, but the last time I was in the U.S on holiday I got a loyalty card because the savings were just so awesome, and I was only there 3 days. At shoppers Drug Mart in Canada for example you will get 10 points for every $1 you spend when you use your Optimum card and then 8000 points will allow you to get $10 worth of products. In order to get 8000 points, it means that you’ve spent $800 which is equivalent to a rebate of 1.25% off your purchase. It doesn’t seem a lot to me. In addition to this kind of royalty program, they also get extra discounts on select products when using their member reward card. A good example of this would be a promotion such as buy 4 boxes of cereals and get $1 off each box. Not only are the discounts interesting, but they can also be use in conjunction with your printable coupons, now it get’s interesting.
This brings us to the second major difference with couponing in Canada: coupons stacking. I’ve checked a few stores policies and I also asked a few of my friends about this and from everything heard so far (don’t hesitate to let me know if I’m wrong) no stores in Canada was allowing you to stack coupons (not offline at least anyway). Stacking coupons means when you use two different coupons for the same product to get the best discount possible. For example if you have a $1.50 off coupon for cereals that are already on sale for $2.50 and you also use another $1 off coupon, which means that at the end you only pay $0.50 for your box of cereals. Normally here in Canada it’s written in fine print that coupons cannot be combined with others. In the US, as long as the coupon bar code is different they can use as many as they want. One store exception to that seems to be London Drugs, I haven’t have the chance to test it though so let me know if I’m right?
Another possibility they have in the US is one that I’ve never even heard about it here in Canada: double coupons. This is when a store runs a promotion saying that they will double all the $1 off coupons on a single product (take Tide detergent for example). When you arrive at the cashier with your $1 off coupon and your product, you will actually get $2 off your detergent which is crazy. I wasn’t able to find such a promotion in Canada but hopefully this TV show will inspire a few Canadian merchants and soon we’ll be able to get promotions as crazy as in the US, here’s hoping.
My Version of Couponing
When I first watched this TV show I got really excited about how much money I could save every year by doing more couponing. But then I realized that these people were most of the time stay-at-home moms that were doing couponing almost as a full time job. Others were spending their weekend cutting off coupons from flyers, ordering coupons on the web and then placing them in one of their 20 binders. Honestly I really like doing other stuff during the weekend because I think life’s too short to only spend it on trying to save money. But I do understand the fact that for some people it’s the only way they could feed their entire family. And I also think that saving as much money as you can on your purchases is also a great way to save money to do other stuff such as traveling for example. I think that the amount you’re going to save is directly related with how much time you want to invest doing couponing. As I don’t want to waste too much time on this here are few tips that I have to shop wisely, in other words couponing for busy people.
Sales Come Back
First of all, no one I have discussed and researched this with can understand why people are buying 150 deodorant sticks or 1000 toothbrush, who really need that many? If they would stop buying these items afterward then it would be allright, but the thing is that if they are able to get more items for free or for a few cents, I’m sure they’ll keep buying more. My first tip is that if an item is on sale then there is a high chance that it will come back on sale in a few months (about 3 normally) or in a year from now.
If you simply don’t have the space to stockpile, don’t want to fill up 9 trolleys at the supermarket or you don’t want to stock toilet paper under your son’s bed, then just buy a few items at a time. I would say just enough items for a few months until the next sale happens plus use a coupon to get a better price. Of course stockpiling can allow you to save a lot of money if the deal is really crazy, but there’s no need to go nuts and to buy 1000 items you don’t need. I also think that stockpiling should be done only for items that are non-perishable or that can be kept for a really long period of time, otherwise it’s just a waste of food and money.
Canadian Coupon Sites
There are a few interesting Canadian websites where you can get printable coupons from (there is a huge distinction between coupons for web use and printable coupons) such as Websaver.ca and P&G Brandsaver. This kind of website post online coupons that you can simply select and they will then send them to your personal address. Have a look at flyers for deals on specific products and get a printable coupon from the Internet to enjoy the best discount on your purchase. You can also check for freebies on the web, see our fantastic freebies section, where by filling in a quick sample request form you will be send free products or coupons for free stuff. It’s always nice to get free shampoo or razors (as we all did here this week).
Everyone interested in saving money should consider doing couponing, if of course they are willing to invest some time doing that. In a few simple steps: check the flyers, order coupons on the web and always buy more than 1 item, you could save a lot of money at the end of the year. Here is a link to a Canadian couponer that like and that has a blog called MrsJanuary. She’s not too extreme, but just enough to do great savings and to keep you reading and coming back for more.
What about you ? What did you think about the Extreme Couponing TV show on TLC ? Are you also doing stockpiling ? It’s always nice to hear from you, so don’t hesitate to leave us comments on this blog article.
Happy Couponing everyone!!