Monday, March 30, 2009

Tips for Using Coupons in Canada

The biggest coupon peril is that my goal and the coupon provider's goal are not the same. I want to spend less on my shopping while still feeding my family healthy food. The coupon providers want me to buy, buy, buy! Just being aware of our different goals makes me a better coupon shopper.

My coupon tips:

1. Using coupons for things you don't need isn't saving you any money! Remember your goal is to lower your grocery bill. Will using the coupon move you towards your goal?

2. Freebies aren't always worth it. I have tossed coupons for things I can get for free if it isn't something I want in my home. Toxic chemicals, excess packaging, stuff that will make me buy lots of refills.... Also, you will often have to pay taxes, so it isn't really free!

3. Bring your coupons with you every time you go shopping. I usually stick to my shopping list, but if I see clearance shampoo I pull out my coupon wallet to see if I can get a good deal. Some sales are unadvertised and you might miss out if you don't have your coupons.

4. Don't put coupons for things you don't want to buy in your coupon wallet. If you have that coupon for potato chips in your coupon wallet and find them on sale when you get to the store it will be very tempting to buy the chips because they are such a great deal. Three guess how I know that!

5. Wait for sales to use coupons. My husband's favourite toilet paper went on sale a few weeks ago, and I bough five or six packages, using a coupon for each. He teases me we now have enough toilet paper to last a lifetime, but I wouldn't be able to afford his favourite toilet paper at full price! (Yes, I think it is weird that my husband has a favourite toilet paper.)

6. Don't use a coupon just because it is expiring. Don't worry about "wasting" it. There will be more coupons in the future. There are always more coupons.

7. Know your prices. Is it really cheaper with a coupon? Sometimes, even with a coupon, the store brand is cheaper. Sometimes you would save more money buying at the bulk store.

8. Don't be too brand loyal. I have coupons for all sorts of brands of shampoo and toothpaste. I'm not picky about it and will buy what is cheapest.

9. Don't buy stuff you hate. We love yogurt around here, but to be totally honest, some yogurt tastes horrible! It isn't worth cheaping out and buying yogurt that nobody likes. It just doesn't get eaten. We get the good stuff, even though I have coupons for half a dozen different sorts of yogurt.

10. One coupon per item purchased is the general rule, but there is usually no problem in buying more than one and using a coupon for each. I remember the first time I went in to stock up on toothpaste. I wanted to buy 4 or 5 tubes and I had a coupon for each, but I was afraid I would get in trouble. There was no problem at all.

11. Don't be embarrassed. Being thrifty is a virtue and nothing to be ashamed of. Hold your head up high and smile and be confident. I have never had any problems using coupons. As long as you are following any rules printed on the coupons and they have not expired, you aren't doing anything wrong.

12. Don't forget to collect coupons! Grab coupons at the grocery store to use later when you find a sale. Don't forget to scan your fliers. We get coupon fliers delivered right to our door along with all of the grocery fliers. I often find coupons in magazines too. And you know about, right? Sign up and get coupons mailed right to your home - all at no charge! If I find a coupon for something I might use, I always take one (or two or three) to add to my coupon wallet.

1 comment: