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: