Community Features

Blast From The Past: Vintage Coupons Found


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One of our forum members, margy, recently found some coupons with no expiry date in a 1984 copy of Chatelaine.

Have you ever found vintage coupons?  Would you use one if the item was still sold?

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After The Penny: Which Stores Round All Transactions Down?


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While the government recommended stores round down transactions ending in 1c and 2c and round up transactions ending in 3c and 4c , some stores are trying to make things fairer by rounding down all (cash) transactions.

The stores that round down are:

Home Depot

Giant Tiger

All Loblaws stores (Atlantic Superstore, Extra Foods, Fortinos, Loblaws, Maxi, No Frills, RCSS, Independent, Zehrs and other Loblaws stores)

Do you know of other stores who will round all transactions down?


Frugal February Begins… Are You In?


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Are you ready for Frugal February? It is time to shop only for essentials – no dinners out, no coffees in the morning (you already have one in your hand don’t you?).

If you need help cutting your costs, check out these blogs:

Did you set a budget for the month or are you just trying to not buy the extras?

We have a forum thread here where you can share how you are doing, cheap recipes, brags etc


Frugal February Is Almost Here! Name Your Goals


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With Frugal February starting tomorrow, it is time to name your goals for the month.  Some of the Toronto SmartCanuckers have a very impressive goal of only spending $100 per couple for the month (outside of regular bills and transportation).  Others are just not eating out and are cutting extra spending like movies etc.

For some people, Frugal February means trying not to buy anything, they stock up before Feb 1st and spend money only on bills and essentials like getting to work etc but that is a little extreme for most people.  The true essence of Frugal February is about shopping only for essentials and not all the extra consumerism that our society has become.

You would buy only groceries, brown bag it rather than buy lunch out, have fun at home rather than go to the movies etc.  Frugal  is about trying as many money saving ideas as you can, such as spend-free days, not eating out, etc., and live as cheaply as possible. Try to eliminate all non-essential spending and only spend money on necessities and put the money you do not spend towards debt or savings – not blow it all on March 1st.

What are your frugal goals for the month?

frugfebiconIf you are taking part, feel free to use this icon as your avatar on the forums, we will start a thread there tomorrow for people to discuss how their month is going. (right click, save as and then add to your profile here)


How To Make The Most Of Your Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum Card – Bonus Point Days


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Since today is an optimum promotion at Shoppers Drug Mart, I thought it would be a good time to give an overview of getting the most from your Optimum cards for those who have one in their wallet and rarely use it.

The basic Shoppers Drug Mart program gives you 10 points per dollar spent (rounded down so if you spent $15.98, you would get 150 points).  With redemption levels starting at 8000 points, it would take you forever to earn enough points to redeem, but you can use bonus points, Optimum promotions and coupons to make the most of your card.

Optimum Promotions: Shoppers Drug Mart offers special bonus point days where you can earn extra points.  The typical promotions are 20x points when you spend $50 or $75, 8000 bonus points when you spend $50 or 18,500 bonus points when you spend $75 or more.  Most SmartCanucks Optimum addicts will shop only mostly days when there is a promotion (picking up milk etc on other weeks).

First you want to buy a Shoppers Drug Mart gift card.  Unless there is a special promotion on, you only get Optimum points on Shoppers Drug Mart gift cards, no others.  Some cashiers will tell you that you do not get points, ask them to scan your card anyway as you want to know your point total.  If you spend $50 out of pocket at seven promos in a year, you have an extra 3500 points without spending anything extra.

Use coupons to bring down your total.  Our weekly coupons to use with flyers thread will have a list of coupons valid on flyer items and leading up to a promotion, there is usually a thread in the Shoppers Drug Mart forum.  Check which coupons you have and make a list.  Only cents/money off coupons (coded as 2001 at SDM) are valid towards promotions, you can’t use Try Me Free / FPC coupons (coded as 2002). If you have a coupon for $3 off a coupon costing $3, they should still enter it as 2001 as they get tax refunded on FPC coupons and not cents off coupons, but it really depends on the cashier.

Often cashiers will tell you that you have not spent the required amount so will not get the points, check the screen to see what your base is, once they subtotal it will say how much the customer can earn in points (if they have not yet scanned your card).  It is a good idea to keep a copy of their coupon acceptance policy with you if they say you cannot use coupons.

Use bonus point offers to get more points. Each week, Shoppers Drug Mart will offer bonus points on different items – sometimes the value of the points is even worth more than the item price (or price after coupon) so you can ‘make money’ on it.   Check for items with points on them to maximize your total.

If an item costing $10.49 shows 2000 bonus points, you would not get 20x points on the 2000BP on a 20x promotional day but you will on the base points.  You would get 2000 bonus points, 100 base points and 1900 bonus points from the 20x promo (1900 because 20x points considers base points).  We have a list of bonus point offers in our Shoppers Drug Mart forum.

Beware of items that are not eligible for points. In some provinces, milk does not get points, gift cards are excluded for everyone, some get points on pharmacy, most  do not (you do on most over the counter items unless they have codeine), taxes, eco-fees, bottle deposits etc do not count as they are collected for the government  not by SDM.  The list of exclusions varies by province and where required by law.  The best way to check is not to scan your Optimum card when they start cashing out, wait until the end and ask them to subtotal.  On the screen it will say how many points you will earn on the right side of the screen.  Then give your card.

I will cover redeeming and other tips in upcoming blogs, but if you wants a great quick overview, check out this FAQ by forum member Insane.

Are you shopping at SDM today?  What is on your list?  I am skipping this one – living off the stockpile rather than adding to it.


A Blast From The Past


2006

Someone asked me how long I had been on SmartCanucks yesterday (I had to look it up, I knew I joined in January to thank someone for a Boxing Day/January sale but not the year) and I thought it would be fun to see what the site looked like back then.  The above screenshot is from 2006 when the blog was first started.

When did you join SmartCanucks?  What did it look like back then?  Find out below

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Win One of Two Coupon Organizers From Glow Girl Fibers & Discount Code *OVER*


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Like many couponers, I have struggled with organization.  I went from envelopes to a series of envelopes to plastic accordian files and photo albums from the dollar store to a large and bulky custom binder.  Then fellow SmartCanucks blogger AnneDougherty ordered one of these amazing coupon organizers from Glow Girl Fibers and many of us followed.  It has been a while since there were mentioned on SmartCanucks but I highly recommend getting one for your coupons.

Each one is double stitched, I have had mine for a few years and it has held up to many shopping trips, being stuffed with more coupons than it should, being stuffed in other bags, my cat dragging it around by the handle etc.  I have both the regular 2” (holds 500 coupons) and mega large 4″ (holds 1000 coupons and has a carry strap) models.  Right now I am using the regular sized organizer after downsizing after the December 31st purge but by mid year I usually upgrade to the bigger one and keep the smaller one with me at all times with my FPCs, HV and other coupons I want to use in case I find items on sale.

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Double Wide Mega Large Deluxe Plus

As you can see, it clips onto the shopping cart using the button and heavy duty elastic which also closes it (no more binder dropping off the cart and coupons flying everywhere) and Glow Girl Fibers has so many fabrics to choose from.  Each one comes with dividers (20 for the regular size and 30 for the mega large) and preprinted labels to help you sort your coupons.  If you are a Canadian extreme couponer, you can upgrade to a 6″ Mega Large Deluxe organizer (holds 1500 coupons) or for those who have even more coupons, she offers a Double Wide 6″ Mega Deluxe Plus size (holds 3000 coupons).

Even better, they are very affordable (all prices in US$ with very affordable shipping)

  • 2″ coupon organizer $15.95
  • 4″ mega large coupon organizer $19.95
  • 6″ mega large deluxe coupon organizer $22.00
  • 6″ double wide mega large deluxe plus coupon organizer $35.00
  • with many affordable add-ons like a longer strap for carrying and more dividers/customized labels for them available when you order.  Glow Girl Fibers also offers some amazing environmentally friendly items like shopping tote bags, mesh produce bags, fabric & nylon reusable snack bags and a wallet organizer for your cheque book, receipts and cards.

DiscountYou know that SmartCanucks members would never pay full price, so Deb is offering a 10% discount when you enter SMARTCANUCKS at checkout in either Glow Girl Fibers’ Etsy Store or directly from her website

contestDeb from Glow Girl Fibers has given us TWO coupon organizers to give away – your choice of fabric in either the 2″ or 4″ size.  All you have to do is reply here letting us know what size you would need for all of your coupons and which fabric you love in her store (click here to visit her store and choose).

  • Contest will end on January 16th at 11:59 p.m. Eastern. 
  • Winners will be be given 48 hours to respond, or a new winner will be chosen.
  • Age of majority only
  • Canada only no purchase is necessary to enter, odds of winning are dependent on number of entries received.
  • Potential winner will be required to answer a skill testing question.
  • You must use a valid email so I can contact you with details on how to claim your prize. Persons who enter with an alias(fake) email will forfeit their prize and a new winner will be drawn.
  • One per person, duplicate entries will be removed.

Glow Girl Fibers can be contacted through her website, or on facebookLike her on facebook and thank her for the contest.


Do You Want To Join A Frugal February Challenge?


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Frugal February has been around online for a couple of years but SmartCanucks has never done an official challenge.  Would you be interested in joining a Frugal February challenge.

For some people, Frugal February means trying not to buy anything, they stock up before Feb 1st and spend money only on bills and essentials like getting to work etc but that is a little extreme for most people.  The true essence of Frugal February is about shopping only for essentials and not all the extra consumerism that our society has become.

You would buy only groceries, brown bag it rather than buy lunch out, have fun at home rather than go to the movies etc.  Frugal  is about trying as many money saving ideas as you can, such as spend-free days, not eating out, etc., and live as cheaply as possible. Try to eliminate all non-essential spending and only spend money on necessities and put the money you do not spend towards debt or savings – not blow it all on March 1st.

So who is in on this challenge?  It is only 28 days, you can do it!  We will be sharing tips throughout the month.

 


Tips For Entering Contests


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See people entering contests and wish it could be you winning? SmartCanucks’ member koala shared her tips and tricks for winning contests with us in the contest forum.

Nothing beats the high of receiving that Congratulations email, or “the” phone call.  On occasion, notification may arrive by mail, or will just arrive at your doorstep.  No matter by what method you receive your win, it is an amazing feeling.  Just remember, if a notification involves money, it’s a scam. Legit contests do not ask for money.
Canadian Law stipulates that a skill testing question be asked. A simple mathematical question is all that is usually required.

Always Follow the Rules!
Read the rules: Make sure you read the Official Rules. If you an ineligible because of age, where you live, or anything else in the rules, do not enter. You will be disqualified.
Enter As many times as you are allowed: If you are entering online sweepstakes then entering daily is a good idea and doesn’t cost you anything except for your time.
Enter for prizes you want to win
: Don’t enter a sweepstakes just to enter and get something free. You should enter to win prizes you can use, need, or can give away to a family member or friend.
Install a Form Filler program to make entering faster: Using a program such as RoboForm can save you time when entering online. It stores all of your personal data like name, address, phone, and email address. Some browsers will also keep this information to enter.
Again read your rules:  You’ll see something like: “Should it be discovered that an entrant is using the aid of computer programs to auto-fill entries, that entrant will be immediately disqualified from the Contest.”
Enter at least one time if you are at all interested: The more giveaways you enter the better chance you will win something. I try to enter my favourites daily, but sometimes time does not allow that. I figure one time is better than nothing
Get social media accounts: Many giveaways and contests, especially blog ones give extra entries for liking/following them and sharing the contest on facebook or twitter
Enter short-ending sweepstakes for better odds: If you happen to stumble upon a short ending promotion then enter it immediately. One-day and one-week promotions are a good beat for winning consistently. They receive less publicity, are harder to find, and less people will be entering.
Play Instant Win Games on a regular basis: These can be so frustrating. It’s all in the timing, but they do have results. Most of the time you are also entering for the Grand Prize. Be persistent.
Sweepstakes offering large numbers of prizes offer the greatest potential of winning: The more prizes a promotion is offering the better chance you will have of winning at least one.
Sign up with your local radio station, or newspaper to receive email alerts on a regular basis. These contests cover a smaller geographic area, and the odds of winning something increases, because there is a smaller audience. You can win food, trips, gc’s, DVD’s. They have some amazing contests.
Say Thank You to the Sponsors: It only takes a moment, but I find it courteous to send off an email to thank the sponsors of a contest. Sometimes, I submit a photo. Especially, if it’s a small blog hosting it, they like to post your comments/photo as a follow up on their sites.

Again, a huge thank you to koala for sharing these tips with SmartCanucks (you can read it here)What prizes have you won in contests? 

This blog is part of our New to SmartCanucks series, click here to read more blog posts in the series


Fisher Price Recall High Chairs, Trikes, Infant Toys & Rampway


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Fisher Price have recalled a number of products including high chairs, trikes and toys.  Some can be fixed with a repair kit or add-on but for others you will need to return the recalled product.

See the full list of items here


Canadian Quick Questions: How Much Do You Spend On Groceries


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After one of our recent blog posts, several people asked what the average SmartCanucker paid for their groceries.  We have quite a stockpile and live off $50-75 a week in new groceries unless I do a big shop for points etc – but what about you?

How much do you spend and for how many people?  Do you have babies/pets included in that (I probably spend about the same on my cats as I do on myself for food).


Say Goodbye To The Penny


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Just a reminder that we are saying goodbye to the Penny on February 4th.  Businesses will start to round totals for cash only to the nearest $0.05.

  • Totals ending in $0.01 rounded down to $0.00
  • Totals ending in $0.02 rounded down to $0.00
  • Totals ending in $0.03 rounded up to $0.05
  • Totals ending in $0.04 rounded up to $0.05
  • Totals ending in $0.05 stays as is

Can I still use pennies for buying goods and services?

Yes. The penny will retain its value indefinitely. As such, consumers can use pennies for cash transactions with businesses that choose to accept them.

Will businesses round prices even if I have exact change?

Consumers can use pennies for cash transactions with businesses that choose to accept them.

Where can I bring my pennies for redemption?

Canadians may redeem their pennies at their financial institution. Financial institutions may require that pennies be properly rolled. Canadians may also consider donating them to charities.

Are financial institutions required to accept my pennies?

Canadians can continue to deposit pennies at their financial institution. Some financial institutions may require large amounts of pennies to be rolled or wrapped for deposit. Canadians should consult their financial institution in advance to determine how best to make deposits.

Will I need to roll all of my pennies?

The standard practice is that pennies, like other coins such as dimes or nickels, are rolled or wrapped for deposit. Financial institutions and charities have the discretion to decide whether pennies must be rolled or not. Canadians should consult their financial institution or charity of choice to determine whether unrolled pennies will be accepted.

How long will I have to turn in my pennies?

The penny will retain its value indefinitely. As such, there is no time limit for redeeming pennies.

This blog is part of our New to SmartCanucks series, click here to read more blog posts in the series


Mail in Rebates – Are They Worth It?


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Mail in Rebates can get you free items, but there is some risk attached.

I like using mail-in-rebates to lower my out of pocket cost on days when you can earn points for spending (like 20x bonus Optimum points).   While many are credited without issue, some are very slow or the rebate never arrives.  A couple have also been declined because the receipt did not clearly show it was that particular item despite the UPC being attached to the rebate form, so you have to be really careful in following the rebate instructions.

Some tips:

  • Make sure you are following the exact terms of the rebate (size, type etc)
  • Make sure you buy and send the rebate form within the dates given
  • Check if it is one per person, per household or if you are excluded by taking part in another mail in rebate from the company
  • Buy all of the items needed on one receipt if necessary
  • Make sure you take a photocopy of the receipt and form
  • Get the envelope postmarked at the Post Office in case it arrives late

Do you find rebates worthwhile? What is the best item you have bought for a rebate?

This blog is part of our New to SmartCanucks series, click here to read more blog posts in the series


Food Prices To Increase In 2013


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This year has already seen jumps in EI and CPP and other taxes across the country, but prepare to have even less money in your pockets as food prices are set to rise this year.

A University of Guelph study predicted price increase for various foods:

  • Beef: 6 to 8 per cent due to rising grain prices for cattle feed
  • Pork: 8 to 10 per cent due to rising grain prices for cattle feed and higher production costs in the pork industry (remember the story last year on the bacon shortage)
  • Other meats: 4.5 to 6.5 per cent
  • Fish & Seafood: 1-3 per cent
  • Dairy: 1-3 per cent
  • Eggs: 3.5 to 5 per cent, due mostly to increases in animal welfare-based technology;
  • Grain: 1.4 to 2.7 per cent; and
  • Fresh vegetables, fruit and nuts, fish and seafood, and vegetables: 1 to 3 per cent.

As food prices rise, so will the demand on the foodbanks and other services – remember them in your donations this year.


Why You Need Social Media Accounts & A New Email Address


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Many freebies, coupons and contests will require your email address.  Some are very good about using your email address only for that coupon or giveaway but others will sell your information or send you very regular emails.

If you are just starting out, it is a good idea to make an email address just for this purpose.  If you use your personal email account, it will not be long before you are dealing with more spam than emails.  I regularly delete 100+ emails a day in my spam account.

It is a good idea to have an email that is not your name to try and protect your privacy as much as possible.  Use your forum username or a pets name etc.

You also need to be aware of the privacy policy when you sign up for freebies, coupons and contests.  Click and read it – know where your information is going and how they will use it.  This is especially true on social media.  Many facebook freebies will require you to allow an app to access your account. For some, they will ask for your name and birthday and to post on your behalf (most will still show a pop up that you have to click post comment on).  However others will ask for access to your photos, friends and other personal data.

Learn how to control who can access your information on facebook.  While against Facebook’s terms, many people do have a separate account for facebook – there are so many freebies and giveaways on facebook.  An account with no friends looks suspicious for freebies though so make sure you have some friends (but be aware you are giving access to those friends with some apps).

Twitter is safer to use with your personal information, but is used more for retweeting contests than for freebies (although we did recently get a free box of Kraft Dinner for tweeting that it would be our last meal).

Be sure to follow us on facebook and twitter to keep up to date on the latest deals and coupons.

This blog is part of our New to SmartCanucks series, click here to read more blog posts in the series


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