We have received many emails from Canadians wanting to know our couponing and saving secrets. Well I am going to spend a little time talking about two of them.
Statistics Canada reports that the average Canadian household spends $241 per person on food each month.
Food, shelter and clothing still account for more than half of spending for the lowest income group in Canada.
The one-fifth of Canadian households with the lowest income spent an average of $22,340. Spending on food, shelter and clothing accounted for 52% of their total spending while personal taxes accounted for 3% of their budget.
Food is a variable cost and we can control how much we spend each month on groceries.
But can you really reduce your food budget without giving up on good nutrition and hygiene?
You can do it just like us!
I still shake my head in disbelief when I look at what our family has saved in the first nine months tracking our coupon savings of this year.
We have saved over $1,700 since June of last year. We did this by stockpiling on great sales and deals, using coupons smartly, and understanding sale cycles.
Now, we live in a small condo (620 square feet) – we don’t have room for a small shop like the Ivanovskys from Extreme Couponing.
With the tips we will outline, it won’t take a lot of effort for you to become an extreme canadian couponer too.
Learn the acronyms
We created a webpage that shows you the all the Canadian Coupon Terminology Coupon Lingo and Coupon Abbreviations. This helps you be better prepared when you read and hear about deals and coupons.
Know the coupon policies of your favorite stores
Many websites will publish deals and coupons but unfortunately, if you don’t know if your store will accept that coupon it will lead to extra frustration. We have started to compile some popular stores coupon policies like Walmart Canada, Safeway, and Zellers. We plan on adding a complete list the next week available only to email subscribers. Stay tuned.
Start small and have goals
All plans and goals need to be SMART.
S = Simple
If your goal is not simple, it will be tough to achieve. Create a plan that you would like to start to save on groceries at first or on your beauty or cosmetic or baby product purchases. Keep it simple at first.
To start you off, register to receive emails from Grocery Alerts -we always publish the latest coupons available to Canadians that you can either order or print off.
M = Measurable
Have a measurable goal. Example, I want to save $50 per month on my grocery bill each month. This is $600 over a year.
A = Attainable
Aim for savings of 10% to 15% first.
R = Realistic
Similar to a weight loss goal, don’t aim for anything unrealistic like 75% savings. This is very difficult to do in Canada – we don’t have stores that double coupons.
T = Track it
If you do not track your progress, it is impossible to know how you are doing. How much do you save using coupons? Grocery Alerts has created a coupon savings tracker that allows you to record all your coupon savings.
This allows you to track your progress.
Start getting Coupons
Every week we publish the top grocery deals from major deals from each grocery flyer in Canada. We matchup the sales with coupons to show extra savings. Most of the coupons are available from Grocery Alerts Canada by either printing them off or requesting them from another website like websaver.ca or gocoupons.ca (our Canadian favorites).
Here is a great trick to get a large number of HVCs (high-value coupons):
Request a coupon from your favorite manufacturer. They love to hear from their fans (just like us). We have received high-value coupons from Chapmans, Dole, Popchips, Kelloggs, Fresh Express, and Micheal Angelo in the past.
Step 1: Find the manufacturer to contact.
Find a manufacturer whose products you use weekly and enjoy.
Step 2: Find the companies customer service mailing address or e-mail address.
Companies try to make it as easy as possible to contact them. Usually, you can find a “Contact Us” page that either has a form that you can submit, an e-mail address, or a mailing address.
Step 3: Write the letter or call the company.
There are two approaches to take when it comes to writing the letter.
- If you really enjoy the product, explain to the manufacturer about how you value it over other products to tell them how you enjoy their product.
- If you had a negative experience with the product, explain what happened and what they can do to help the situation.
Another major tip we have is that once you have accumulated a number of coupons, start to trade your spare or unwanted coupons for others that you are looking for. Grocery Alerts has created a coupon trading application that allows you to trade coupons. Get the coupons you are looking for.
Trading coupons is one of the best ways to save huge on your shopping bills.
If you are looking for pet coupons, find another trader that has those coupons and trade your excess cereal coupons. These trades are very profitable - we received several Aveeno coupons and $2 off All-Bran coupons that we used in coupon stacking at London Drugs.