One of the questions we get a lot on SmartCanucks is how to reduce your out of pocket costs to earn bonus points. Unlike many stores, Shoppers Drug Mart do not allow free product coupons (FPCs) as part of your total for Optimum events, but you can use regular coupons. CouponDawn spent only $58.03 after tax and coupons for an event where you have to spend $75 to earn bonus points.
Forum member beetwelve combined all the discounts she could to get this haul for free.
3 x Seventh Generation Dish Detergent, Finish Quantum 20 ct., 2 x Greenworks Toilet Bowl Cleaner, Majesta 4 ct. TP ($29.58)
– $2.08 sale (25% off Finish Quantum)
– $15.00 Canadian Tire Scratch’n’Save cards (3 x $5)
– $8.00 in manufacturer’s coupons
– $0.10 Canadian Tire money earned from these transactions
– $1.50 from Checkout 51 (Finish Quantum)
– Paid for using Canadian Tire Money on the Card
= $0 OOP
Mandy403 took advantage of a deal at Safeway where you get 100 Airmiles for buying Kellogg’s cereals at Safeway.
She used free product coupons (FPCs) from a facebook promotion to get them free. Each box of cereal also has a coupon PIN on it for a free breakfast product (orange juice, yogurt, coffee etc) so on top of getting 100 Airmiles (over $10 if you redeem your Airmiles in-store for cash), she will also get six free breakfast items. Using coupons for items with bonus points are a great way to spend less while making more in points.
I know it pains me to pay full price for anything, but sometimes there are things you just need. Forum member ChantelKiss has come up with a great way around this – she budgets $10 a week for full price items (and she treated herself to snacks with them too).
Most of ChantelKiss’ shopping was done with price matching and coupons, but I think giving yourself a budget for full priced items is a great idea, especially if some in your family are not completely on board with your money saving ideas.
Click here to view her brag and find out how she saved over $63 on this shopping haul (and check out her snazzy coupon binder & tracking sheet!).
Forum member Frugal Lisa price-matched groceries at Real Canadian SuperStore to combine store coupons, manufacturer coupons and price matching in one shop to save her around $50 on the items shown above.
Price-matching can take time, you need to make sure the items are the exact matches (size, type, country of origin for fruit and vegetables), but as you can see below, it can be well worth it and save you time going to various stores. (more…)
Forum member skmommy regularly checks her local stores for clearance specials. While stores have different ways of marking these deals, from pink stickers to boxes of random items at the same price or just a surprise at the cash – it pays to check.
These cans of Enfamil A+ are regularly $31.99, but because they expire at the end of April, had $15 worth of Manager Special coupons stuck on them. She combined that with a $8 coupon sent from the manufacturer and saved $23 on each can. She spent under $27 on all three cans, less than the price one would cost.
Watch out for store special stickers if you are doing a promotion with a minimum spend requirement, they often do reduce your total so do not count towards points etc but you can find some great deals, I often check nearby stores when I am early for a meeting or waiting for a GO Train and have found some terrific deals.
Forum member tccl21 does recycle bin walks. One of her finds was a cereal box with the $5 Gas Card form still attached. The promotion must have been very popular this year, as Kellogg’s ran out of gas cards and sent tccl21 five coupons for a free product. She used these to buy five boxes of Rice Krispies Squares which were donated to a local school for snacks.
It is always a good idea to send away for stuff on packaging or even enter contests where you are not the biggest fan of the prize. The can always be donated and there may be a coupon for participating. Several companies have tried to ‘make good’ on running out of prizes with FPCs lately, Mars recently sent me five FPCs instead of a pair of Team Canada mittens when they had a glitch in their contest.
As we say a fond (or not that fond) farewell to Zellers, many SmartCanucks members have been taking advantage of the great store closing deals.
When mine closed there were people fighting over a sweater, items everywhere, people grabbing random stuff, open boxes, stuff missing from packaging etc but if you were willing to take the time and duck when needed, there were some great deals.
Patty Smyth got everything pictured above for just $192.10, a savings of over $900 off the original prices. The Kitchenaid cookware was just $45! It usually pays to find out when stores are closing and visit – and to listen to staff for deals. As Patty found out from an announcement, items were a further 50% of the clearance price but it was not advertised in store, she may not have bought some of the items without the extra 50% off.
While we all try to reduce our grocery bill, I am sure most of us spend more than we would like to. $avvy$hopper earns extra money in her spare time on ClixSense which she puts towards her groceries. There are lots of sites where you can make an extra few dollars a month, through surveys, watching videos, special offers, tasks and more. We have a thread for the most reliable ones in this SC forum. Try a few and see what works for you. I personally make over $25 a month on swagbucks which I cash out for paypal and can use for anything I want.
Click here to read $avvy$hopper’s brag where she got all of the food above (and a KitKat for her special little helper) for $13.11 and had cashed out her online earnings for around the same.
Not all of us like couponing, you run into cashier issues, need to find the coupons you will use and not be brand loyal. But you don’t need to use coupons to save lots. Forum member peachykeen2007 posted a brag where she did not use any coupons, but bought almost $90 worth of clothes for under $25 at Zellers during their final closing sale.
Then she went on to 20x day at Shoppers Drug Mart and bought $56+ tax of Physician’s Formula products at 30% off. She used 6 prepaid Mastercards that you could get from cereal boxes last year to bring down her out of pocket cost to 33.79 including taxes. Peachykeen2007 will get $33 back in mail-in-rebates from Physician’s Formula (details for the rebate can be found on packaging) and received 10.400 Optimum points (worth $10 at the lowest redemption level of 8000 for $10 but worth over $21 on a weekend like this one where 95k points gets you $200). SCers know the best way to redeem is at the highest levels, so when she redeems her points, she will have been paid to buy makeup!
Mail in Rebates are a great way to boost your Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum points on 20x days without spending much in the long term.
Unlike the rest of Canada, the Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) is compulsory for Quebec stores and does include sticker prices. Forum member couponmummy took advantage of this recently at Bureau en Gros, where she got this Blackberry Charging Pod for free when it was advertised at the clearance price of $9.97 (reg $34.97) and rang in at $12.07.
As many of you are aware, you get the item free up to $10 but they need to reduce the price of the item to the advertised price first. So couponmummy got this item for free – even better, SCOP reduces the taxes to $0 also!
After our recent post & giveaway about coupon organizers from Glow Girl, some people mentioned that they remembered that I used to have a big purple binder and they were interested in how you set up one to stay more organized. I did find it easier to actually find the coupons I wanted in my binder, but it was not practical when I often shop on my way home from work using public transit.
The pictures were taken a couple of years ago, so a trip down memory lane with the coupons
I bought this binder on clearance at Walmart for only $5, as you can see it has lots of pockets to help keep things organized and separated.
I kept my flyers in the front section (picture 2) for price-matching.
In the mesh pocket (picture 3) a scissors and some ‘thanks for the trade’ business cards from Vistaprint to throw in with trades to save writing it out each time (they gave my username, thanks for the trade and please remember to leave feedback on them).
The section behind the mesh pocket held envies (I sort coupons I know I am using with my shopping list separated by store).
Behind that, there is a 3 pocket section where I would put coupons that I found while shopping or ones I knew I was saving for people in our local trade swapping meets.
I also used a mix of baseball card holders (packs of 10 sheets at Dollarama) and Currency Holders – these are made for people who collect paper money from around the world and easily hold your larger coupons. I paid around $15 including shipping from ebay for 20 sheets of currency holders. Don’t put too many coupons in a pocket or the static won’t hold it closed and they will fall out (why I also chose a zippered binder).
Mine was separated into these sections: Food FPCs, Other FPCs, Food, Drink, Snacks, Pet, Beauty, Household, Other, Printables & Bonus Points, I find the more sections the harder it is to find coupons when they include a number of items etc
Family Day is not like other statutory holidays, it is provincially legislated but does not cover federal employees so some people will be working tomorrow.
Open on Family Day
Federal government offices, including Passport offices and most post offices (post offices in stores like Shoppers Drug Mart will likely be closed)
Meal and drop-in centres
Mail will be delivered (from Canada Post, couriers like UPS will depend on company)
Shopping malls: Eaton Centre, Vaughn Mills, Pacific Mall, Woodbine Centre are all open
Some supermarkets and convenience stores – call ahead
Most restaurants – call ahead to be sure
Most tourist attractions and museums, including Art Gallery of Ontario, Royal Ontario Museum, CN Tower, Ontario Science Centre, Hockey Hall of Fame, and Casa Loma in Toronto and most attractions in Niagara Falls.
Some ice rinks and arenas.
TTC and most public transit operates on holiday schedule, but note that public transportation varies by city. For example, public transportation in Kingston does not run at all on Family Day. GO Transit will be running on a Saturday schedule.
Closed on Family Day
Banks (Head office staff are often under federal contracts and will be working but branches will be closed)
Shopping malls not designated as tourist attractions
LCBO (liquor stores) and Beer Stores
Post offices located in closed retail outlets.
Most grocery stores and pharmacies, including Shoppers Drug Mart (call to be sure) – last year some stores opened and took a fine if caught so check with your store
Toronto Stock Exchange etc
Are you working tomorrow? If not, what do you have planned for the day?
One of the main comments about Frugal February was Valentine’s Day. Knowing some time ago that we would be doing Frugal February (the Toronto group also had a Frugal January) I redeemed my survey and swagbucks money for paypal and used that in advance for a restaurant gift card so the cost of a meal does not come from my February budget but there are lots of ideas you can still do at short notice.
Change the date: Since February 14th falls on a weekday when so many are working, have to pick the kids up etc – change it up. Celebrate Valentine’s in a week or so without all the added costs and without the set menus.
Cook at home: Yes, you cook every day so it isn’t as special, but light some candles, create some ambience at home and make your valentine’s favourite meal. It will be a fraction of the price and likely better than the set menus so many restaurants are doing for valentines. You could also make cutesy heart shaped sandwiches or pizza for their lunch, or heart shaped pancakes for breakfast.
Rethink the flowers: Personally, I am not a flowers type of girl – buy me some nail polish or books instead, flowers just die. But if your Valentine does like flowers, it doesn’t have to be overpriced red roses. What is her favourite colour? Choose flowers that she would typically love, check your local farmers market for flowers instead of the usual flower shops.
Spend time together: much like Christmas, Valentine’s Day has become a victim of commercialism. Take some time to spend together, go for a walk, do the stuff you used to do when first dating. If you like music, check out an open mic or battle of the bands night rather than paying $$ for tickets to a bigger show. Grab some hot chocolate and go for a walk in the park holding hands.
Memory Jar: get an old jar and some colourful paper and write the memories of your relationship while curled up together discussing them. Write them and put them in a jar – whenever you are having a bad day down the road, pull one out and remember it.
Personal coupons: With people so busy these days, the little things can matter. Give each other coupons for things that the other usually does, doing the dishes, the shopping etc – whatever chore you hate.
Hope this gave you some ideas on how to stay true to Frugal February while still celebrating Valentine’s Day. Do you have any other frugal tips to pass on for the day?
With so many people unable to redeem their Kellogg’s Special K Cracker Chips today due to winter storms and a lack of stock, I wondered what you think of these limited time coupons.
I remember similar complaints when the Chocolate Cheerios coupon was to be redeemed on a work day. I checked a couple of stores on the way home from the office, gave up and popped into Longo’s to grab a salad for dinner and they were stocking them as I walked through looking for coupons and you got a free clamshell of strawberries if you bought them so it worked out, but didn’t for so many others.
Do these coupons excite you about a new product or does having only one (or two) days to redeem them put you off when you can’t find the product?