Wondering About Coupon Trading Groups? Read This

Wondering how you can get your hands on more Canadian coupons? You've got to check out this post that details how to use coupon trading groups on Facebook to grow your coupon stash.

Guest post by Margie of The Stir Canadian Coupon Trading.

One of the most common questions I get asked while standing in line at my local grocer during check out is “where do you find all those coupons?”. While there are a lot of resources available, I think the most useful one is the coupon trading communities I’m privileged to be a part of. These communities allow you to look for and acquire specific coupons that your family can utilize or that perhaps were not readily available in your area. It also allows you to share any unwanted coupons you might have with other members as well. Joining these communities and participating in trades and trains is possibly one of the best ways to utilize otherwise useless coupons.

So how does one get started trading coupons?

It’s not as hard as you may think.

Make a list of products or brands your family uses on a regular basis. Look through your cupboards, check your weekly grocery list and start writing them down. You are creating a “Wishlist” of coupons you will be looking for. When you start trading this list will be the answer to the most commonly asked question, “what is your wishlist?”. You can be as specific or as vague as you want. Perhaps your family only uses premium toilet paper. In that case, you may want to add the brand that you prefer instead of just listing ‘toilet paper’. Make the list as long as you can; the more coupons on your list the more likely you’ll be to find someone to trade with.

You will also need a way to show what coupons you have to trade in return. This is normally done through “trade albums” where members take pictures of the coupons that they have no use for and post them in a photo album for others to browse. Don’t forget to add details like expiry dates or size restrictions that are found on the coupon so the other traders know exactly what they are getting.

Of course, the real secret to successful coupon trading is finding the right community for you. Through social media outlets like Facebook, hundreds of groups have sprung up. Getting started trading is a simple as being admitted to one of them.

Before joining or participating in any of these communities you should take the time to review the rules of the group. Some groups take excessive time and effort to ensure their members not only feel comfortable, but are safe. However not all groups are created equal and you should always take the time to ensure you are part of the community that will work for you.

Do you trade coupons? Are you a part of any great groups that you can share in the comments?

Margy Lott started couponing for diapers for her newborn 8yrs ago and has been hooked ever since. She currently is part of the administrative staff of ‘The Stir’ a Canadian coupon trading community on Facebook.

How to Coupon in Canada: The Rules of Coupon Stacking

how to coupon in Canada

Coupon stacking is a very popular topic when it comes to coupon use!  Here’s a bit of a definition of what coupon stacking is:

Coupon stacking is when you use multiple coupons on a single item.

Currently, coupon stacking is only allowed at London Drugs locations in Western Canada.

Here’s what you can and can’t do when it comes to coupon stacking:

You can:

  • Use use multiple coupons on one item if they have different UPC codes. ( These are the numbers found under the bar code area of the coupon.)
  • Use more than one coupon to get items for free
  • Use printable coupons, insert coupons, mail out coupons (Save.ca, webSaver.ca)
You Cannot:
  • Use coupons that have the same UPC code on one item.
  • Use multiple coupons on one item if the combined value exceeds the value of the product. (you can’t get money back)
  • Stack a coupon if it states “Use of more than one manufacturer coupon per product purchased is strictly prohibited”, or  “Cannot be combined with any other coupon offer”. (ex: Brandsaver coupons are not stackable)

Here are some other points to keep in mind:

–  Although you may end up getting a product for free, keep in mind you will still have to pay taxes!  Taxes are calculated according to the sale price of the item before coupons are deducted.  For example, if an item is $3.99, but you manage to get it for only $0.99 with coupons, you’ll still pay the taxes for the $3.99 amount.

–  You can also price match an item and stack coupons.  For example, if Superstore has Huggies on sale that week, bring in your Superstore flyer with you to get a great price after coupons!

– If you’ll be doing a large stacking trip, be sure to hit the store during non-peak hours (early in the morning or an hour before closing).  You’ll want to be respectful of the other shoppers as well as the cashiers who have to deal with grumpy customers.

– Be organized.  Have all your coupons sorted and matched to each product when you finally check out.  If you’re price matching, have the items circled in the flyers you’re using.

– As for B1G1 free coupons, I don’t see this being an issue with coupon stacking.  If you have two B1G1 free coupon with different UPC’s, and no wording stating you can’t stack (see above in the You Cannot section), you should be able to get two items for free.  Please correct me if I’m wrong!

Do you coupon stack?  What’s been your best coupon stacking trip so far?  Anything else to add to this post that I may have missed?

How to Coupon in Canada – Maximize your Coupon Savings

how to coupon in Canada

There really is a technique to using coupons if you want to get the items you need, for free or really cheap.  It takes a bit of practice, but I’m sure you’ll have fun trying!  After all, saving money is fun!

Let’s get going on the secrets that will make you a savvy coupon user, shall we?

Start Slow

You’re most likely itching to start using coupons right now on as many items as you possibly can to see how much you can save .  If you start this way, you’re going to overwhelm yourself and quite possibly, not see any significant savings on your grocery bill!  Not to mention, you’ll most likely purchase items you never intended on buying in the first place only because you had coupons to use.  This is not savvy couponing because you’re most likely spending more money on items you’ll never use since you’re just so excited to use those coupons.  🙂

Start out by gathering only a couple of newspaper inserts (SmartSource and Redplum)or ordering the coupons that interest you from Save.ca, Websaver.ca and Brandsaver.ca.  Organize them into a small coupon organizer, so you can easily find the coupons you need, when you need them.

Using Coupons takes Planning

Are you ready for the number one secret to maximizing your coupon savings?  Use your coupons when an item hits a rock bottom sale price.  You want to be looking for items that are a good price before coupons even come into play and, of course, items that are also liked by you and your family.

How do you find the sales?  Check out your weekly store flyers that come in your local newspaper or find the store flyers online.  Start making a shopping list with the deals you can use your coupons on.

Every Friday, I highlight the best coupon deals in the Coupon Match-ups for Walmart, Shoppers Drug Mart, Safeway, Save On Foods, Sobeys (West) and Real Canadian Superstore (West).  I try to make it as easy as possible for you to save your money and use your coupons!

Once you’ve become more comfortable with matching your coupons with deals, start collecting more coupons from some of the coupon websites I’ve outlined in this post.

Use Price Matching to your Advantage

Many stores in Canada offer a price match guarantee. They’ll match the advertised sale price of any competitive retailer as long as it is the exact same item and in the current sale period.  They’ll even accept coupons on top!  Read our full Price Match to Save Money and Time article here for the full details on how to price match.

Remember There Will Always be Another Sale

Stores run sales in a cyclical manner.  The cycles last anywhere from 6 – 12 weeks.  Sometime during the sale cycle, any particular item will be at its highest price and at its lowest price.  You’ll want to use your coupons when an item is priced at its lowest.

I would recommend you start a price book to track your store cycles.  Use a small notebook to record the prices of things you buy most often each week for 6 – 12 weeks.  You’ll start to see when you should stock up on the items you need.

It’s Okay to Not Hit Every Deal

Couponing takes a lot of time if you’re going to hit up every possible deal you can muster.  Time is money.  Instead, I recommend that you focus on the best deals that week for the items you need.  For example, if you already have 10 sticks of deodorant but are nearly out of laundry detergent, prioritize the laundry deals over the deodorant deals.

How Much You Spend Matters More than How Much you Save

I’ve said this many times, but what you spend is definitely way more important than how much you save.  A 55% savings might be impressive, but the 45% you actually spent is what matters the most, since what you spend comes out of your pocket!

If you’re consistently going over your grocery budget every week, by trying to save money on items you may not necessarily need, you’re pushing yourself farther away from any financial goals you have set for yourself.  Stick to your grocery budget, even when that means passing up good deals, and you’ll see your bank account grow and your debt get smaller!

What are you tips for maximizing your coupon savings?  What are your favourite deals to snap up?

Here are the other posts in the How to Coupon in Canada Series:

How to Coupon in Canada – Coupon Etiquette

Using coupons is a great way to save some money on your grocery bill.  But, with all aspects of our lives, there’s a certain level of etiquette that we must adhere to to make couponing a positive experience for everyone.

Here are 5 coupon etiquette tips that apply to the beginner couponer and the seasoned couponer.

Be kind to your cashier

With the popularity of coupon use growing in Canada, many stores are still working out their coupon policies and training their staff on the ins and outs of coupons.  There are a ton of different coupons out there so be understanding if the cashier doesn’t know as much about coupons as you do.

If you feel as though your cashier is misunderstanding a particular coupon, and you feel as though it should work, then politely ask for the manager.  If a cashier doesn’t know about the coupon policies it could be a lack of training on the store’s part.

The better you treat the staff at the stores you frequent, the happier they’ll be to accommodate you and your coupons in the future!

Know the stores’ coupon policies and follow them

Coupon policies can vary greatly from one store to the next.  It’s a good idea to look up the coupon policies for the stores you frequent most often.  You’ll probably have the best chance of getting the coupon policies by emailing customer service.  The email address or contact form is usually very easy to find on all store websites.

You may want to print off the coupon policies to have on hand when you’re checking out, this way you have the information readily available if there’s an issue.  But as always, be polite when discussing issues with the cashier or manager.

No Shelf Clearing

It really is fun when a great coupon deal pops up, but is it really necessary for someone to take the entire shelf of items because it’s free or really cheap?  No! (Unless of course there is only one left on the shelf :))  Take into consideration how many you actually need so you can leave more for others who also want that product.  Chances are, there will always be another sale anyways!

Don’t take the whole tear pad

Tear pads are placed in stores for everyone to enjoy.  Take a few, but leave the rest for others.

Share the savings

A great way to clear out expiring coupons and coupons you won’t use is to be a “coupon fairy”.  If you’ve got some extra time, the best thing to do is to actually place the coupon directly with the product it can be used for.  That way, someone who is shopping for that product will have a nice surprise coupon waiting for them!

Have you got any other coupon etiquette lessons to add to the list?  What are your pet peeves when it comes to couponing?

Here are the other posts in the How to Coupon in Canada Series:

How to Coupon in Canada: Ensuring a Coupon is Valid

Along with the fine print on a coupon, there are a few other things to look out for to ensure a coupon is valid.

Expiry date

Coupons are only valid up until the expiry date stated on the coupon.  There’s nothing worse than getting excited about a sale you have a coupon only to find it’s already expired!

Redemption address

To know if a coupon is valid in Canada, look for a Canadian redemption address.  Something like this:  “For redemption, mail to Nestle…Saint John, New Brunswick…”  You’ll find the redemption address in the “To the dealer” part of the coupon.  Coupons that are redeemable in the US can also be used in Canada only if they state they are also redeemable in Canada.

Product Specifications

Quite often, coupons have restrictions written on them. Things to look for would be specific sizes (300ml or larger), specified products in a product line (Stayfree Ultra Thin, rather than any Stayfree product), or exclusions (not valid on travel/trial sizes).

Here are the other posts in the How to Coupon in Canada Series:

How to Coupon in Canada: What the Fine Print Means

The fine print on coupons can be confusing, so here’s a rundown of what that fine print means!

Limit one coupon per purchase

Many people assume that this statement means that you are only able to use one coupon per shopping trip (or transaction).  It, in fact means, that you can’t use more than one coupon per item purchased. So, if you are purchasing three of the same items and you have three of the same coupons, you can use one coupon per item, all in one transaction!

Limit one coupon per transaction

While a purchase means one single item, a transaction means an entire purchase.  So if you have a coupon that states “limit one coupon per transaction” you can only use one of them in one transaction.  If you wish to use multiple coupons with this wording, you can always make several transactions, or come back on another day. (But the frugal in me would say to do multiple transactions the same day so you’re not using extra gas!)

Limit one coupon per customer/person/household

This one is pretty straight forward.  A customer/person referring to each individual person making a transaction.  In order to use more than one of these coupons, bring someone with you who is able to make their own transaction, while you make your own transaction using the coupon.  Or, come back another day.  When a coupon states only one coupon per household, this means that only one coupon can be used once for all members of your household.

Void if copied

Do not photocopy coupons!  It’s against the law.

Use of more than one manufacturer’s coupon per item is strictly prohibited

This coupon can’t be stacked, even if you’re shopping at a store that allows coupon stacking.  Stores (and you) must abide by the manufacturer’s rules.

May not be combined with any other offer

Although this seems to say you can’t use it on a sale item, it actually means you can’t use this coupon for stacking.  It’s still okay to use it on an item that is on sale!

Here are the other posts in the How to Coupon in Canada Series:

How to Coupon in Canada: Organize your Coupons

Now that you know where to get Canadian coupons, you’re going to have to figure out some sort of organizing system so they don’t end up expiring before you use them.  There are many different ways to organize coupons, but you may have to try out a couple of systems before you find one that works for you.

In this post, I’ll be listing a bunch of ways you can organize coupons to help you narrow down what may work for you!

Coupon Organizing Method #1 – The Wallet Size Expanding Folder

This was my first method of coupon organization.  I picked up a wallet sized coupon folder from a local dollar store and one from Michaels found in the dollar bins.  The folder from the dollar store already included pre-categorized sections like, baking goods, beverages, cleaning products and condiments.  The folder from Michaels was left blank so you could easily customize it to suit your needs.  Or I was thinking this folder would be good to label with store names so you could place all the coupons you intend on using at a particular store in the appropriate section!

Coupon Organizing Method #2 – Use Envelopes

Organize all your coupons using envelopes.  Make an envelope for each category. (such as Meat, Dairy Products, Cleaning Products, Paper Products, etc.) Cut all the coupons you plan on using and store them in the corresponding envelopes so they can be easily found.  You may want to keep all your envelopes in a plastic tub, photo box or something similar.

Coupon Organizing Method #3 – The Coupon Box

Photo from MoneySavingMom.com

Use index cards to create all the categories you’ll need.  With this method, your coupons will be really easy to find, but you may find it a bit bulky if you want to bring it into the stores you shop at.  Here’s an example from Homespun Heart using a cute recipe box, including the categories she uses.

Coupon Organization Method #4 – The Coupon Binder

The coupon binder is a hugely popular coupon organization method and is the one I’m currently using.  It’s fairly simple to create your own using a three-ring binder, page dividers, baseball card holders, and perhaps a zippered pocket to hold scissors, random coupons, or a calculator.  I’ve also heard of people using photo albums instead of a binder!  Here are a couple of tutorials to help you get idea on how to create a coupon binder system that may work for you:

How to Sort & Organize your Coupons

Now that you have some ideas on what to put your coupons in, you may want some ideas on how to sort your coupons.

  • Organize by product:  Rather than create categories, you could group all your similar product coupons together.  For example, all shampoo coupons together and all makeup coupons together.
  • Organize by expiry month:  Create a section for each month of the year and place the coupons according to the month they expire.
  • Organize alphabetically:  Put your Irish Spring coupons in the “I” section and your Crest coupons in the “C” section.
  • Organize by category:  Probably the most popular way of sorting coupons.  Place all coupons  in broad categories such as Meat, Paper products, and Snacks.

I hope this post gave you some ideas on help you find a coupon organization system that will work for you!

If you’re a coupon user with a system already in place, what do you do to organize your coupons?

Here are the other posts in the How to Coupon in Canada Series:

How to Coupon in Canada

How to Coupon in Canada

Do you have some questions about couponing in Canada?  I hope to help answer your questions by providing a complete guide to couponing in Canada!  I thought it was high time Simply Frugal had a How-To on couponing since we usually get a ton of emails with coupon questions!

Here’s the list of posts you can learn from:

How to Coupon in Canada: Get Canadian Coupons

how to coupon in Canada

The first and most important step in getting started with coupons in Canada is, well, getting coupons to use!  This is really the easy part. 🙂

Here at Simply Frugal, we do our best to provide you with the brand new coupons that are available as soon as they become available.  Be sure to sign up for free email updates, if you don’t want to miss out!

Here are the best ways to get your coupon stash growing:

At the grocery store and department stores

You will find pads of coupons near a promoted product. For example, I find a lot of these tear pad coupons in my local Save-On Foods and Shoppers Drug Mart.  Also look throughout the stores to find product displays with calendars and booklets that also contain coupons.

In newspapers

There are two nationally distributed coupon flyers – Redplum and Smart Source. They’re distributed about once a month. Expect to find coupons for national brands like Tide, Pampers, Arm & Hammer, etc.   Here is a post I did on the 2016 coupon insert schedule and a post I did on which newspapers you can find the coupon inserts in.

In Magazines

Look for Canadian coupons in the Clip n’ Save booklet with your Canadian magazines such as Canadian Living or Homemakers.  Or simply just on a page with an advertisement!

Online printable 

Many companies offer coupons that you can immediately print right from your own printer, cut out and take to your local stores.  Check out the giant list of printable coupons we have available on Simply Frugal!

Online ordered 

Some companies run promotions where they mail coupons (for free product, or money off) to you via Canada Post.  As these coupon become available, I post about them here on simply Frugal so you don’t miss out. There are also companies like Save.ca, Websaver.ca and GoCoupons.ca that mail out coupons that you order from their sites. (Again you’ll find brands such as Pampers, Sunlight, Betty Crocker, Cover Girl, etc) These services are completely free!

On or In product packaging

You can find coupons on specially marked boxes or packages that may be used for future purchases.

Mailing lists

Join Mailing lists of the companies that you often buy from, if they have one. When you sign up online, make sure to check the box that asks if you would like to have special coupons and offers sent to you, but only if it is a company you would like coupons from!  I also recommend having a separate email address for signing up for things like this, you wouldn’t want to clutter up your personal email!

Email your favourite companies

If you have a favourite product, there absolutely no harm in emailing or calling that particular company asking if they have any coupons available to mail to you!  Many companies are very willing to send coupons your way if you only ask!

The Ultimate List of Canadian Coupon Sources:

What’s your favourite way to grow your coupon stash?

Here are the other posts in the How to Coupon in Canada Series:

Unique Ways to Get More Free Canadian Coupons

unique ways to get coupons in Canada

Other than ordering coupons, printing coupons and collecting coupon inserts, there are several other more unique ways to grow your coupon collection!  Here are my suggestions:

Trade with friends

Get together with some coupon loving friends and trade the coupons you won’t use for some you will use!  Do you need baby coupon and does your friend need pet coupons?  Swap them!

Check recycling bins

Pretty self explanatory, but there are tons of people out there that could care less about the coupon inserts that come in the local newspapers.  I find several in the recycling box at work! 🙂

Write your favourite companies and ask for coupons

Do you have a favourite product but never find any coupons for it?  Try writing/emailing the company to say how much you love their products and then ask it they have any coupons to share to help you enjoy their products more often.  I recently did this with Kiju organic juice.  I really wanted to try the juice, so I emailed and asked politely if they had any coupons.  They sent me two coupons for free juice!  Just as a note, please don’t abuse the kindness of companies.  Maybe request coupons once or twice a year only?

Sign up for Freebies

Many of you that already sign up for the freebies I post on Simply Frugal, probably notice that along with the samples, the manufacturers also tend to send along high value coupons.  It’s really a great tactic on their part as they give you a sample hoping you’ll like it, then think you’ll go out and buy the product with the coupon they sent you, then buy it again and again!  But really, if I do actually enjoy the product, I will go out and buy it with the coupon!

So you have any other unique ways to collect coupons to share with us?