Couponing in Canada: Is the savings and time commitment to learn to coupon worth it?
I am sure if you asked any avid couponer in Canada if the savings is worth the investment in time to learn, collect, clip and organize their coupons, they would astoundingly say they wish they had started earlier! It is true; there is a time commitment with learning to coupon, just like with any other hobby. You need to learn how to coupon, learn what stores allow you to use coupons, learn how to read and understand the lingo, price matching, scanning code of practice, overage, the list goes on. This is no different than other skill you are learning – you need to learn the basics before advancing.
When I first started couponing, it took me months to catch on. Simply, there was an overload of information on Facebook and the internet. I wished they had workshops in my area; that would have saved me a ton of work hunting around looking for information. If you are from London and area, Coupon Christine offers extensive 2 hour workshops on learning to coupon regularly. You can email her at Christine@CouponChristine.com to be included on her email list.
If you are just starting to learn the basics in Canada on couponing, I suggest these 4 tips:
1) Start slowly and read as much as you can! I found myself overwhelmed by the end of the day with the number of bloggers I was following. Sometimes they would be posting all the same things, other times it was province specific, and often times I was sifting through bloggers who posted 90% external contests to actually find coupon offers. Find a maximum of 3 coupon bloggers you have found useful and get on their daily email list. At the end of the day you can simply scroll through the posts shared by your favourite blogger sites all the information is streamlined into one email.
2) Get a few coupons from sites such as Save.ca, Websaver.ca, Brandsaver.ca and GoCoupons.ca on products you will be using. That is the key, do not get into the habit of buying products you do not use in your home ~ that isn’t savings! Then visit your favourite grocery store and use coupons. Expect to save anywhere between $5 and $10 on your first shopping trip just by using a few coupons. Don’t forget you can also price match on top of using coupons to add further savings. To find out which stores accept coupons and allow price matching, you can check out this easy to read guide provided to us by CouponChristine.com (http://couponchristine.com/store-policies/)
3) Ask Questions! If you need help, just ask! The best place to get a response is on Coupon Christine’s Fan Page at www.facebook.com/savingyoucash. You are guaranteed a response on her page as her and Lily are there to help you!
4) Learning to coupon successfully is something that takes time and patience. Do not feel overwhelmed, do not take 80 coupons on your first shopping trip and try to remain calm at checkout. Best to go shopping during non-peak hours if you want a better experience and start to learn to coupon with a friend, this way you can share deals and shop together for added enjoyment and encouragement.
Quick FAQ section
1) Can you use coupons when products are on sale? Absolutely! That is when you will obtain the best savings. Coupons will say “not to be combined with any other offer”, this pertains to stacking rules out in the west coast of Canada. This does NOT mean that you cannot buy products using coupons when they are on sale. That is not correct. Ask to speak to a manager if a cashier is not clear about the wording of coupons.
2) How much can I expect to get FREE using coupons? This depends from month to month. But trust me when I say you will be shocked at what you can get for FREE using coupons. Once you start to follow sites such as CouponChristine.com you will find a lot of great companies want customers to try their new product lines and will over FPCS (free product coupons). Check out this list of what couponers have received absolutely FREE using coupons - http://couponchristine.com/?p=4988
3) Will stores actually pay me to shop? What is overage? Overage is when a coupon value is worth more than the product is listed on sale in the store (ex. toothpaste is on sale for .88cents, but your coupon is for $1, where does the .12cents go?). Walmart and Giant Tiger will pay you the overage towards your other basket purchases in situations like this. Does it happen a lot? No. But when it does, it is a couponers dream! Read this for more information - http://couponchristine.com/?p=8873