Wondering how to use coupons in Canada? Or are you trying to figure out where Canadians can find coupons? Check this useful guide to couponing in Canada!
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I use A LOT of coupons. Like a lot.
This never used to be the case. In fact, I had never used a coupon prior before I was 28 years old. No joke.
If you’ve read my About Me page, you will know that it was soon after turning 28 that my couponing journey began. I had just moved in with my then boyfriend, leaving behind a lucrative job and starting graduate school. I felt tremendous guilt about not financially contributing and one day while watching writing a paper I was distracted by “Extreme Couponing” on TLC. I was blown away by the savings and deals on the show and quickly started learning how to use coupons in Canada.
Over the years, I’ve come to realize that I’m not the only one who had no idea how to use coupons or how they worked. More often than not, when I tell people about this blog or my savings, they lament that they would love to coupon, but have no idea how to.
So, to all you people, this post is for you!
Here’s the complete guide to coupons in Canada!
What Are Coupons?
According to policy B-002, coupons that offer a monetary discount (takes a certain amount of money off the value of a product) “will be treated in the same way as cash offered by the customer.”
So what does this mean? Basically that coupons are used as legal tender to be used against the purchase price of an item.
How to Use Coupons
When it comes time to go shopping, have your coupons ready to go!
Personally, I always take a look at the weekly flyer and figure out what I’m going to buy. I then pull any coupons for those items and put them at the front of my coupon holder. Even though I go with a plan, I also bring my other coupons, just in case there’s an awesome deal, clearance or something that I forgot about.
As I go through the store and fill my cart, I pull the coupons I’m going to use and put them at the front of the pile. This makes for quick and easy access when it comes time to pay.
At the checkout I have two different strategies. My preferred method is to let the cashier know that I have coupons and ask their preference for getting them at the beginning, with the items, or at the end of the transaction.
However, this isn’t always possible to do. For instance, when I have a lot of stuff and there’s someone ahead of me in line. As the cashier is scanning the other person’s stuff, I don’t want to interrupt and start asking questions (maybe I’m too polite). So in this case, I start loading the conveyor belt and save all of the coupon items for the end.
As soon as the cashier is finished with the person ahead of me, I give them the heads up that I’m using coupons and ask for their placement preference. More often than not, cashiers find it easier to take coupons at the same time as the products, so they can verify information and keep things moving. So if for some reason you are unable to ask, make the assumption and give coupons at the same time to make things easier.
Since coupons are treated as cash, the face value (the amount the coupon is worth) will be deducted from the bill, giving you immediate savings at the point of sale.
How Many Coupons Can Be Used in a Transaction?
As coupons are treated as cash in Canada, theoretically, there shouldn’t be a limit to the number used. That being said, some stores do place limits on the amount of coupons used in a single transaction.
This can vary from store to store, even when they are all within the same franchise. That being said, if the store has a coupon limit, they will most likely have it posted at the entrance and cash registers.
If you are unsure of the store’s policy, don’t be afraid to ask! Most franchises also have their coupon policies posted online, so that can be a handy reference for checking initially.
Using multiples of the same coupon will depend on the fine print of the individual coupon. Always be sure to read the fine print of each coupon to be sure that it is being used properly. As of now, the only store which allows the use of more than one coupon per item is London Drugs and each coupon must have a different bar code.
If the coupon states:
Limit One Per Person/Customer/Household: This simply means just what it says! The coupon is supposed to be a single, one-time offer.
Limit One Per Purchase of Products and quantities stated. Use of more than one manufacturer coupon per product is strictly prohibited: The per purchase stipulation simply means that the coupon cannot be ‘stacked’ and only one coupon can be used against one item. This is to keep people from using two identical coupons on a single item. So if you are buying five identical items and have five coupons, you can use one coupon for each individual item. If you have five identical items and ten identical coupons, you can only apply one coupon per item, so you will have five more coupons for next time. Note: That if the coupon says “Limit One Per Purchase” without the clause, then it can be stacked!
Limit One Per Transaction: When a coupon states that it is limited to one per transaction, that means that only one coupon can be redeemed in an individual transaction. So if you want to buy five items and use five coupons, you will have to do five separate transactions, giving you five different receipts.
Not Valid With Any Other Offer: Most coupons state this. It is really important to note that this does not mean that the coupon cannot be used on sale, or clearance, or price matched items. In fact, combining the coupon with sales, clearance deals and when price matching is one of the best ways to save big!
Using Coupons with Reward Programs
One of the best ways to save even more is by combining coupons with reward programs!
As always, you do need to read the fine print of the offer carefully, but more often than not coupons can be combined.
What does this mean? When you shop at a store with a reward program, you can use coupons to bring down your out of pocket expense, but still receive points based on the amount before coupons are discounted. For instance, if you go to Fortinos and they have a points offer for 1000 points on your favourite shampoo and you have a coupon for $1 off that shampoo, you would get the immediate $1 off the bill when using the coupon and then 1000 points added to your account too!
This is a great way to maximize your savings!
Using Coupons with Cash Back sites
If you’ve been reading this site for a while, you will see that I use Swagbucks, Checkout 51, Caddle, Receipt Hog and CoinOut (CoinOut Canadian program on pause) religiously. All of these sites are so easy to use and give you more money!
They can also be used in conjunction with coupons!
Since Receipt Hog, Swagbucks and CoinOut pay for the information on your receipt, it doesn’t really matter if there are coupons on there or not. All you have to do is upload a picture of your receipt after shopping to be credited.
Checkout 51 and Caddle, on the other, pay out when you purchase specific items. Now, these often can be combined with coupons, but it is important that you read the fine print of the offer first. Some cash back rewards (especially when it comes to Checkout 51) do not allow for combining coupons with the cash back offer. However, when they do, it means even more savings for you!
Where to Find Coupons in Canada
So now that you know how to use coupons, you may be wondering where to find coupons. I promise that once you start looking for coupons you’ll be amazed at how many are around! But, to get you started, here are some of the best places to find coupons
Weekly Newspaper Inserts
If you get your local free paper, or a subscription newspaper, take a look on Thursdays and Saturdays for coupon inserts. These little booklets will be tucked in with the weekly sales flyers and come with coupons for all sorts of things.
You may already have some great coupons in your house that you never even noticed before! Take a sneak peek at the packaging of the products you already have in your home. It is likely that you will find coupons to buy other items from the same brand printed on them! Be sure to remember this when out shopping, and take a quick look at the packages on the shelf just in case some have coupons and others don’t.
I’m not a fan of shopping on weekends. Simply because stores are so much busier and people can be a little more crabby and impatient. That being said, one of the biggest benefits of shopping on weekends is getting coupons from company representatives.
You will find company representatives at little tables set up around the store handing out free samples. More often than not, along with that free sample, the rep will have coupons available too!
As you wander the aisles of your local store, be sure to keep your head up for tear pads attached to the shelves and on product displays. Typically, they are put up right by the product the coupon is for, but sometimes they may be in a really random place. Nevertheless, these tear pads are a great way to find great coupons!
If you shop at Loblaws branded stores like Fortinos, Real Canadian Superstore and Zehrs, you have likely noticed a board at the front entrance filled with coupons. These boards are full of tear pads that you would typically find scattered throughout the store. It’s a handy way to quickly grab what you need and see what coupons are out there.
If you’re in couponing for the long haul, then you’re going to need a printer!
Many coupons are moving towards distributing coupons online. This is simply to save on printing and mailing costs. That being said, some sites will give the choice between having certain coupons mailed directly to you or to be printed.
The best sites to find coupons online in Canada are:
Contacting a company directly is one of the best ways to get really awesome coupons! When I contact companies I always share something about why I love their product, or if I’ve had an issue, I let them know, before requesting coupons.
There a few ways to get coupons from companies directly:
Sign up for email lists and follow on Social Media.
Are there certain brands or products you simply can’t live without? Sign up to hear from them! Various companies will send out newsletters with coupons and contests for their brands, or offer them on their social networks. This is a great way to get really great coupons, just for being a fan!
Visit their website’s coupon section:
Some companies have coupons right on their site that can be downloaded or requested to be mailed out. Take a look at your favourite brands’ sites to see which ones offer coupons.
Here are a few that I use:
Here are companies that currently send out coupons when requested (approval may depend on the representative that responds to your inquiry and may vary):
Blue Buffalo Dog and Cat Food
Blue Diamond Growers
Chapman’s Ice Cream
Now if a company you love isn’t included in the list, simply find their contact information and email them! Tell them why you love them and they may or may not send you some coupons. The worst they can do is say no!
Finally, you can also trade coupons which is a great way to get the coupons you need. To do this, simply find a coupon trading group (I frequent Couponing Queens and Kings and Extreme Couponing Canada on Facebook, and the website Smart Canucks for my coupon trading needs) and see what people have to offer and are looking for. Using the messenging app on the platform you choose, you then connect and make offers.
This is a fun way to connect with other couponers, see what deals are out there and learn more about couponing. Heck, you may even make some new friends!