Tips & Tricks

Groupon Canada: Don’t Be So Quick To Judge. Rihanna Air Canada Centre Concert (June 6th past deal)



On June 3rd I logged into Groupon for my daily deal and saw that under Toronto they were offering sets of Rihanna tickets, 2 for $75! Rihanna’s team had overshot and had hastily booked a second show months ago, but the fan response wasn’t there.  I bought 2 right away, knowing that I had the potential at scoring good seats.

The deal sold out quick.  Then people started commenting  that the tickets were not a good deal and you could get mega nosebleeds for cheaper then $75 for two. BUT I knew that even though it stated 300’s they would be good three hundreds or other seats that had not sold.  It was first come first serve.  People started panicking and having their Groupon refunded, so I actually had the opportunity to buy another set, which I did.

We arrived at the ACC around 6:30 and went to the ticket booth. I was handed 4 tickets for section 110 in the first three rows left side stage.  Not only were they great seats right behind the “vip” area but we spotted other celebs such as Karinal Offishall up close and personal!

I feel bad for the people who jumped the gun and lost out on amazing seats that were a premium price. (Or do I?) Remember the saying “If it seems to good to be true it probably is” doesn’t ALWAYS apply.

Pic provided kindly by Anna who sat next to me.

Shoppers Drug Mart Canada: Official Coupon Policy.

Shoppers Drug Mart now has an official coupon policy.

Basic Rules

Q: Are there limits with coupons per transaction? For example, I heard that there is a limit of 4 coupons only per transaction. Is this correct?

A: This is not correct. There is no limit to the number of coupons you can use in a single transaction. However, you can only use one coupon per item in your purchase, provided they are all applicable.

Q: Can I use more than one coupon to buy a single item? For example, I want to buy a bottle of shampoo that costs $5. Can I use 2 coupons worth $1 each to bring the price down to $3?

A: There can only be one coupon accompanying each individual product. In this case, you could only use one coupon for a total discount of $1 (see next question for details).

Q: Can I use one coupon for more than one product? For example, I have 1 coupon for $2 off a bottle of shampoo, and I want to buy 3 bottles. Can I use the same coupon for all three?

A: You cannot use one coupon for 3 products. However, if you have three coupons, you can use one coupon for each item. However, if the second coupon is for Optimum Bonus Points, you can use both the standard coupon to lower the price and the points coupon to claim the Bonus Points.

Q: I have a $10 off coupon. Can I use it in a purchase toward the [Cosmetics 20x] Event? The rules say the Event cannot be combined with other offers, but it also says it has to be $75 after discounts. Which is it?

A: The $10 coupon can be used on your purchase, but it will NOT count toward the pre-tax event threshold. This means that if the Event says something like “Receive 20x the Points if you spend $75 in store,” then you would need to spend $75 before tax and after the coupons have been deducted in order to qualify. Please check the rules and regulations for each event or promotion to make sure these rules apply to that particular offer.

Q: I have a coupon that was printed in the United States. Can I use it at Shoppers Drug Mart?

A: Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix will only accept coupons with a Canadian redemption address printed on them. We cannot redeem manufacturer coupons that were printed in the United States of America or in other countries.

Q: I have a coupon from one of your competitors. Can I use it at Shoppers Drug Mart?

A: No. We will only accept coupons from Shoppers Drug Mart, vendors or manufacturers.

Digital and Online Coupons:

Q: I found a coupon for a product online. Can I print it and use it in your stores?

A: Yes. Coupons printed from the internet or from email are accepted at all of our locations, provided they meet industry standards and are valid. Our stores retain the right to refuse any coupon that does not meet legal standards or appears to have been tampered with.

Q: A company sent me a coupon for their product via email. Can I print it and use it in your stores?

A: Yes. Coupons printed from the internet or from email are accepted at all of our locations, provided they meet industry standards and are valid. Our stores retain the right to refuse any coupon that does not meet legal standards or appears to have been tampered with.

Q: Do you accept digital coupons displayed on my mobile phone or tablet device?

A: Not at this time. We will post an announcement on Facebook and Twitter if and when this changes.

Coupon Amounts:
Q: I have a $2 coupon for a product, but sometimes the sale price for it is only $1.99. Can I use this coupon for this product during the sale?
A: Yes, you can. Our cashiers will enter the actual price for the item with the coupon code, instead of the printed price. In this case, they will enter the coupon value as $1.99 instead of $2. No change will be provided.

Q: I have a $2 coupon for a product and just purchased it on sale for $1.89. Will Shoppers Drug Mart pay me the $.11 difference?
A: No. Coupons and portions of coupons have no cash value, so no change will be given.

Coupon Rejection/Refusal:
Q: What are some conditions that might lead to my coupon being refused?
A: Coupon offers are variable, so you need to pay particular attention to the coupon details to make sure you have met the minimum pre-tax or product purchase requirements. All coupons must have manufacturer information, a valid expiry date and country of origin. Some reasons why a coupon might be refused include:
• The redemption address is not located in Canada
• You have not met the minimum pre-tax or product purchase requirements as stated on the coupon
• The coupon does not appear to be valid or is missing required information
• The product brand, size or type does not match the coupon
• The coupon is for a product not sold in store
• The coupon shows evidence of tampering

Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP)
Q: Do you follow the SCOP (Scanning Code of Practice)?
A: Yes, we do.

Q: What is SCOP (the Scanning Code of Practice)?
A: The Scanner Price Voluntary Code is not legislation but is, instead, a voluntary code which has evolved from the collaborative efforts of the Retail Council of Canada, the Canadian Association of Chain Drug Stores, the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers and the Canadian Council of Grocery Distributors. It was implemented in 2002. A copy of the Code can be found on

The Item Free Scanner Policy, which forms part of the Code, provides that “on a claim being presented by the customer, where the scanned price of a product at checkout is higher than the price displayed in the store or than advertised by the store, the lower price will be honoured; and (a) if the correct price of the product is $10 or less, the retailer will give the product to the customer free of charge; or (b) if the correct price of the product is higher than $10, the retailer will give the customer a discount of $10 off the corrected price”.

There are several exceptions to this Item Free Scanner Policy set out in the Code, including that it does not apply “to a product where, in respect of the product, the law (a) establishes a minimum price (or specified price); or (b) does not permit the retailer to offer a discount or a rebate”. Further, the Code provides that “when a retailer cannot immediately correct a scanner error in respect of a product, it will post a correction notice in a conspicuous place. Once such a notice has been posted, the Item Free Scanner Policy is no longer in effect in respect of the relevant product.”

Other Questions:
Q: I am going to a store to buy some products with full value coupons, so I won’t pay anything out of pocket. Will I get a receipt for this purchase?
A: Yes. You should always receive a receipt, even if your entire purchase is paid for with coupons. It will show that a number of coupons were applied and that you didn’t pay anything. This will also make it easier for you, if you need to return or exchange something.

Click here for more information via Shoppers Drug Mart’s Facebook page.

Health Canada Recalls: A Site To Be Bookmarked & Checked Daily


Did you know that every week items are recalled and the general public still uses/consumes the item never realizing the potential hazards leading to the recalls?

 Today Leenea emailed me about the recall on Life Brand Junior Strength Acetaminophen Tablets in the 160 mg bottle and Children’s Strength Acetaminophen Tablets in the 80 mg bottle  (the child-resistant packaging is faulty.)  I had a bottle of this and sure enough my chilld could of gotten into the bottle easily.

A list of current recalls can be found at the Health Canada website by clicking here.  It’s also very worthwhile taking a look through past recalls as so many of us don’t realize an item has been recalled, and can pose a life threatening hazard.  It’s also a great source if your having a garage sale.  The law states it is the sellers responsibility to not sell anything that has been recalled, or is illegal to sell (ie. baby walkers, lawn darts.)

Keep Safe Canada!

Have a tip or trick for me to blog? Simply fill out the form on the blog to “suggest a deal.”

The Dirty Dozen. Fruits and Veggies Canadians Should Consider Buying Organic.


I came across this article quite sometime ago and had forgotten about it until my mailing from Chatelaine today.  Below is a list compiled by the Enviromental Working Group.

When should I buy organic?
These foods are referred to as “the dirty dozen” – they’re the fruits and vegetables most likely to have residue from pesticides, and they’re ranked in order from most to least toxic.

•Bell pepper

When is it okay to save money and buy conventional produce?
These fifteen foods are the cleanest in the produce aisle – they’re the ones least likely to have harmful pesticide residues on them when you buy them.

  • Onion
  • Avocado
  • Sweet corn
  • Pineapple
  • Mango
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet peas
  • Kiwi
  • Cabbage
  • Eggplant
  • Papaya
  • Watermelon
  • Broccoli
  • Tomato
  • Sweet potato

I find it interesting that last year celery was at the top of the dirty dozen, now it’s gone down a few.  Do you try to buy your produce organic? Do you know if it’s truly organic?  Here we have a fruit and veggie stand once a week that is run by the Mennonites that guarantee their produce is organic.

Click here for the rest of the article and for some fun recipes!

Costco Pharmacy: No membership? No problem!

Did you know that you don’t need to be a Costco member in order to access their pharmacy…with low dispensing fees?

A pharmacist friend advised me of this tip and I recently confirmed this while I was at the discount warehouse. I’m paraphrasing her, but apparently pharmacists aren’t able, by law, to discriminate *who* they dispense drugs to based on whether or not a patient is a member.

The Costco Pharmacist reminded me that the only thing that non-members aren’t able to purchase are the supplements, over-the-counter meds, beauty products, and the other items in front of the pharmacy counter.

Costco’s dispensing fee is under $4 which is great news for anyone who doesn’t have medical benefits through work!

Sometimes It’s Worth The Call To Cancel


Recently I got my renewal notice for our Sirius Radio. Almost $200 to renew our service for another year. $200? Are you flipping kidding me!  I had no intentions of paying this, but while I was on vacation they took the liberty of charging my credit card for the full years renewal.  Tonight I called explaining I have no interest in paying that much for a radio service and I want to completely cancel. After a bit of fancy footwork the customer service rep offered me a full year for $75. That’s $125 savings, not bad.  I hmmned and hawwed for a moment then agreed to the rate drop. 

Sometimes it’s worth calling to cancel to see what offers a company has to keep your business. Have you scored by doing so?  What incentives were you offered? I know when we left Bell they offered us a ton of incentives.  But… Bell is Bell and we still cancelled lol.

Deal55 Canada A Scam Or Legit Gift Card Site for Canadians?


I was reading through Stephs post about how there are so many group buy sites these days, and came across a few complaints on a site called Deal55.  They offer gift cards for 55% off the retail price.  Some readers are calling foul while others are hopeful the site is real.  

 I never featured this group buy site on the blog because it just seems to good to be true. I would feel horrible sending our faithful readers to a site that could potentially be an identity theft scam. It just didn’t seem completely legit.

Has anyone actually received anything from this company?  It would be great if this site was the real deal,  I am really skeptical. Thoughts?

* With the responses I think it’s safe to say DO NOT purchase through this company. Only a small fraction of cards have ever been sent out.

Canadian Mom and Pop Shops Vs The Big Box Store


Over the years lots of mom and pops have closed up shop not being able to compete with the big box stores. Some great stores have closed down because of this, but on the other hand some stores that shouldn’t of been in business still; finally closed too.
I find certain items I like to buy at small stores such as flowers including green house plants, and hard to find items. With a recent bad experience at a small pet store (Critter Barn, Exeter Ontario) it has me thinking  there are certain items that your better off buying at a large chain store rather then a small store. Pets at least come with a 7-14 day guarantee where this pet store didn’t care if my turtle died the second I walk out. It was money in her pocket, no replacement or warranty from the time her cash register slammed shut.  Maybe this was just unfortunate luck for me and generally smaller pet stores have more compassion for their animals.

I recently was in a kitchen specialty store (Kulpepper’s) where the owner was very helpful, honest, and even offered me a special order for a Tassimo cup holder. I received a call that evening  letting me know on the status of the order. The owner knows what excellent customer service means and is striving to provide it. If this had been a big box store there would of been little to no expertise and of course the mention of a special order would of had me possibly laughed out of the store.

Honestly, I don’t mind paying a bit extra for a small store that goes the extra mile to provide great customer service and appreciates my business. Of course there are small stores that are just horrible to deal with and aren’t worth your time. How can you tell?
I’ve compliled a small list of what to look for in a mom and pop shop. (feel free to add to my list)
*Inviting atmosphere
*Personal Greeting When You Walk In (Walmart Greeters Excluded)
*Genuine service. Example: they aren’t trying to sell you something you don’t need, and if it’s a specialty store they know their product. They shouldn’t be rude to you.( I just learnt this one, if the owners nasty from the start. Run don’t walk away, no matter how cute their stuff is.)

What do you prefer, The big box or the mom and pop shop? Is there a small store that you’d like to give a shout out too?

Spring Trend ’11: COLOUR BLOCKING!

Not that Katy Perry is the fashion plate for the masses, but a major trend for this Spring, as seen on the March cover of Elle is colour…finally!  I’m sick of seeing a sea of black, puffy coats walkin’ ’round.

(Personally, I really try to steer clear of wearing all black…unless of course, I’m at a funeral or work! 🙁 )

In addition to the colour trend is the way it’s worn which is known as colour blocking.  Basically, it’s wearing blocks of colour in order to make a fashion statement.  There doesn’t seem to be any quick and hard rules to this trend so you can pair rich jewel tones, as pictured above, or even do a monochromatic palette, i.e. different shades of the same colour.

Colour blocking can also be incorporated within a clothing item, for example a dress that is purple on the top and orange on the bottom.  The key to colour blocking is boldness, so a top with microscopic stripes doesn’t count!

Warning:  This trend is definitely not for the shy, wallflower types!  In fact, colour blocking is a much bolder look from the Springs of yesteryear, re:  black and white, pastels, wash-out-beige, and other muted tones.

If you want to try out colour blocking this Spring, but aren’t as bold as Katy, take baby steps.  Try mixing a bold coloured skirt – corals are also a HUGE trend this season! – with a taupe top or vice-versa.  (I find taupe fresher than khaki!)  Take some chances this season by wearing some colour!

How to Terminate your Rogers TV, Internet, Home Phone (and possibly Wireless) Contracts.. NOW

I came across a very interesting post on Facebook by Al McGale that explains how you can get out of your  Rogers TV, Internet and Home Phone contracts without paying termination fees. It depends on declining changes to your terms, one of the oldest tricks in the book. But it’s always good to post it every now and then to remind people of how it can be done and I also really like how Al explained it.

Here is a direct link to the article on Facebook and just in case Rogers manage to get it removed from Facebook I’ve pasted it below:

By Al McGale:

If you use Rogers services then you, like me, are likely hooked into a contract of some sort that ties you to their service for a couple of years for the promises of deep discounts and extrodinary customer service.  It’s quite likely that you, like me, have been disappointed by their customer service and are still waiting for these deep discounts (15% off of an over priced service is not a deal).

Well, today is your lucky day (and it was mine, too).

I received the following letter in the mail outlining changes to the fees that I pay for the services that Rogers provides;


Make a Surprise Deal

Windshield Chip

Commercials have a habit of being right about stuff; if you don’t care for that chip in your windshield, one day (Tuesday in my case) it’s going to develop into a crack.

Now I have this crack in my windshield and my wife starts calling for quotes. 2003 Dodge Caravan full windshield replacement and the prices range from about $310 to $360. She gets bored of the process pretty fast as each time she has to answer the same questions: Is it a heated windshield? Does it have a red strip along the bottom? Are there black dots around the rearview mirror?

Finally, on the last place she calls she gets quite a quote of $330. She is so defeated at this point she decides to mention the other lower prices. The associate on the phone asks her to wait a moment and puts her on hold. Coming back a few seconds later he says he can do the whole thing, taxes in, for $283.

Windshields aren’t something I thought could be negotiated but after looking around online I have read it’s actually an excellent idea to try and price beat on car parts like windshields and tires.

It seems there is a whole market of things you can negotiate on I never thought of. Try it on jewelry, gym memberships, fresh food markets and search the web for other ideas. Try it at stores you never expected you could haggle in like Best Buy, Sears, and other big box retailers.

A few tips on making this work:

Pay in cash to save the merchant a transaction fee
Go during a quiet time
Bring prices from competitors with you
Always be polite

Sometimes the best coupon can be your own bargaining skill.  Is there any surprise deals that you’ve made, that you’d like to share your strategies?

Canadian Extended Warranties from Experience


I used to sell extended warranties on electronics.  I was very good at it.  Years of experience has taught me a few things about them.

The odds are always stacked in favour of the house.  This is a massive profit driving force for stores and they want to keep it that way.  Don’t say no immediately though as it can often be to your benefit to pick up the extended warranty.  They do their homework and you should do yours too.

When a sales person presents you with a warranty they will lay it all out; they take a long time to present and there is a lot of detail.  They have to because, technically, they are selling you nothing.  Imagine trying to get someone to buy something they don’t get to take home.   At its most basic level it sounds like a raw deal.  I would advise you give the representative a chance to run over the details so you can see if there are attractive elements to the plan.  In my history there have been a few biggies to look for in a good warranty.

Over and above “Manufacturer’s Defects “:  If a plan covers more than manufacturer’s defects this opens the door for interpretation and can give you more leeway in negotiating what is covered and what isn’t.  Hammer the sales person on this and you should get some answers as to what incidental coverage might be included, like dropping, temperature issues or misuse (see: kids).

Exchange Warranties:  With smaller products that have expensive and compacted parts being able to bring it into the shop and replace it with comparable value is a huge convenience.  This should be considered on products like cameras or computer components and upgrades.

Technical Support:  Some plans include technical support that will help you diagnose a problem over the phone.  Most manufacturers won’t even talk to you after the first year without a credit card.  Keep this in mind for computers and related technology.  With the average diagnosis from a computer shop costing $70 per hour you can get a fair bit of value here.

Before going to buy your new shiny thing make sure you come prepared with the knowledge of the manufacturer’s warranty and any extended options they have as well because this could be fine enough coverage on their own or better than what the sales person is presenting.

If you do get the warranty, take advantage of any free preventative maintenance included in an extended plan.  Often this means they will check your equipment, clean it and make small adjustments to improve performance for free.  It will extend the life of the product and keep you happy with your purchase over the long haul.

Finally, make sure you take a look at repair histories for products.  The Internet is your friend here and you should certainly Google “your product + issues” before you lay down any money on a warranty.  Knowing your product will tell you what a good value warranty is, if any.  There are tons of resources for this sort of thing on the Internet, including Smart Canucks.

I am not saying take the warranty.  Once upon a time I cared if you did.  I’m saying knowledge is the key and if you are excited about buying something this is just one more GOOD reason to spend a few hours browsing about it on the web.

And who doesn’t love to do that?

Did You Watch TLC’s Extreme Couponing? Join The Discussion Canada!


Did you happen to catch TLC’s Extreme Couponing special?

A lot of our forum members did and their discussion can be found here.  I didn’t catch the show but I know I’m not an extreme couponer, in fact I’m a poor excuse of a couponer.  I kind of let that part of my savings slip over the past year.  Don’t get me wrong I do love high value coupons and free ones, but I’ve found since our Zehrs went to a coupon board there isn’t much that I can find thats worthwhile for me to use.

Do you use coupons? What was your “favourite” of the year?

What Did You Buy For Boxing Day/Week Canada Sales?


I’m curious how many of us Sc’ers went shopping on Boxing day to shop shop shop!  I personally ended up at Walmart in the afternoon so the boys could check for a game, other then that there wasn’t much I was interested in. Online, that was a different story.  I hit up Old Navy online, Sears for their outlet sale, Amazon and Chapters.  I found so many great deals I don’t really remember what I all ordered, but I do know they were great deals (haha). We are already pretty set in our house for gadgets and tv’s etc so there wasn’t too much that was actually on my list, however my eyes are open for good sales on dining room tables.

What did you buy? Did you brave the crowds or shop online?  I’d love to hear your stories and finds.  Did you see any “people of Walmart?” (Do not click link if you are easily offended)

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Canada Deals Section On Smart Canucks Forum


The Smart Canucks forum has a great Black Friday deals section. Looking for a sale or want to post a sale? This is the place to do it!  Find a hot sale that deserves more exposure? Use the suggest a deal feature in the middle of the blog. Remember to include links.

Look forward so saving this weekend, but not hanging out with crowds lol!

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