Downturn or not, do you Coupon?
For shoppers, there always seems to be that fine line between “cash conscious” and “outright lunatic.”
People want to save money, but they’d rather walk through one of those full-body screening devices than dive into the dreaded, tacky, unforgivable world of Couponing.
Yet while a slumping economy is capable of some crazy things, could it really persuade seemingly normal consumers to take the coupon plunge?
Well, apparently, that leap isn’t quite the faux pas it once was. Slate’s Alicia Barney takes us all on a journey into the heart of obsessive Couponing, and the results might surprise you.
For one, this ain’t exactly your grandmommy’s Couponing. Couponing in 2009 isn’t the sit-at-the-kitchen-table-and-slave-over-a-newspaper-with-a-pair-of-scissors act it once was.
Sites like Coupons.com and (more locally) SmartCanucks.ca have given the subculture a flavour of the modern world.
Consider, too, that Couponing insider secrets aren’t all that privileged anymore. Where once only the most experienced bargainers knew how best to use Catalinas – the coupon that spits out of the grocery store register to be used like cash on your next purchase (which you should start right away using the conveyer belt dividers) – now everyone’s hip.
The biggest fear Couponers face, naturally, is the backlash from other shoppers, PO’ed that they’re making the cashier punch in a million different codes for a million different products.
But as Barney found out, the savings can offset your new status as social pariah. In fact, the ultimate goal of free groceries with coupons isn’t all that far off. Of an experienced Couponer’s trip to the supermarket, she writes:
“When every item was scanned, Rea’s total was $174.55. But after each coupon was validated, the number dropped – to $36.69, including $6.08 in taxes. She handed over $30 worth of store credits and charged the remaining 81 cents plus tax … on her debit card. She’d saved $167.66. Not bad at all.”
Intriguing, right? Read all about Slate’s coverage on the world of Couponing here, but if the prospect of (almost) free groceries is so apparently possible, why isn’t it that more of us are trying it?
By Jason Buckland, MSN Money
Posted by: MJ | Dec 30, 2021 9:08:13 AM
I work as a cashier in a food store and we don't see many coupons so I would say most just don't bother.
Posted by: CanadianMom | Dec 30, 2021 9:13:09 AM
Canadian articles and ilnks PLEASE!! Especially when dealing with money matters! Although the basic principles outlined in this article and the associated links, are sound, they are "Made in the USA" and don't apply in Canada! It gives a very incorrect impression that we can do the same thing to the same degree here - which we can't.
Posted by: coupon crazy | Dec 30, 2021 10:59:39 AM
I wasn't a big coupon user until I became a single Mom. It was my only way to get out to dinner and enjoy some entertaintment aswell ( 241) zoo passes, swiiming ect... I'm quite the coupon queen now ...I'm no longer that single mother but still coupon a ton. Using a coupon doesn't bother my spouse at all! We use coupons for everything, holidays, dinners, groceries.....Long live the coupon!
Posted by: Annoyed | Dec 30, 2021 11:58:44 AM
Why am I getting American information on MSN.CA!??! All that's provided is a small side link to a Canadian web site. This happens over and over on MSN.CA. I always thought this was a useless web site but I keep getting sucked in to the provocative headings only to be disapointed over and over again with useless info thateven a monkey already knew (I apologize in advance to all monkeys and PETA). If you want to provide Canadian shoopers with decent information try this:
1) There really are not that many Canadian based web sites that actually provide coupons and if yo do go to them do you ever wonder why they want yor email address? (Hint - been getting emails for investment advice from Nigeria or breast or penis enlargement devices?)
2) Canadian producers actually provide very few coupons as opposed to US. If yo compare how many coupons were available to Canadians 20 years ago to now yo would be amazed.
3) A always we seem to get shafted in Canada by producers and manufacturers, most of whom are US based and reall don't care\don't know that there is a gegraphic formation north of the 49th parallel (the Canadian-US border to all Americans out there).
Posted by: L | Dec 30, 2021 4:11:46 PM
Wow"Annoyed"...you really are anti-American. Actually, the big difference between the states and Canada is the cheaper prices (in the USA), simply because WE (Canadians) are overtaxed to "pay" for our social services...that in my opinion are a huge waste of money anyway. However, if anyone out there is PROUD to be Canadian (which I can't say I am, really anymore)...then quit buying CHEAP products from the states. (Personally, I would be happy to have NO border between Canada and the USA.)
As for coupons...listen to the cashier who would know. She/he says people don't use them. I believe that. The coupons are generally for expensive items that the "poor" people never really use anyway...and face it, people with money, generally can't be bothered with coupons. I can't say I blame them, really.
Posted by: Carolyn | Dec 30, 2021 4:57:34 PM
If you think you are too good to use a coutpon, I feel sorry for you. I am a regular save.ca customer and save abou t 20.00 a month or more depdending on my needs. It sure adds up. My mother and father were raised during the depression, and we are almost in such a position with this recession. She is now 87 and went with a fist full of coupons every week as long as I can remember. And why not. Try it, you mightr like it!! I do he saem as much as possible.
Posted by: Nelly G | Dec 30, 2021 6:13:46 PM
The coupon system is not well promoted it may help to place coupons near the relevant items, infact it can be made paperless by giving that discount to the consumer at the checkout counter directly.
Delivering them at the doorstep is equally messy and just add to the recycling bin.
Posted by: Wish | Dec 30, 2021 10:28:00 PM
Real Canadian Superstore and Loblaws are doing a great job by putting coupons on the entrance. It helps me pick up coupons what I require before I do my grocery shopping. Wish all stores do the same
Posted by: Carolyn | Dec 31, 2021 8:16:11 PM
To Nelly G: Where do you get something for nothing. You must do a little something to reap the benefits of anything.
Posted by: Lisa | Jan 1, 2022 9:01:27 AM
Good for you Carolyn...using coupons! I agree with your comment to Nelly... that you don't get something for nothing...unless you are trading "services" with family members...and even then it's not "nothing" is it?
However, I think we may need to all be careful we're not misinterpreting what someone else says.
(I never said coupons weren't good for anyone to use. I merely said that maybe we should listen to a cashier, simply because he/she would know an answer like this, wouldn't they??)
Now, speaking of annoyances, it annoys ME when people aren't thinking through things.
Happy New Year to all!
Posted by: Jen | Jan 2, 2022 7:42:13 PM
It's nice to see an article about my favourite hooby, but it would be nice if this article were more relevant to Canadians - I'm an avid couponer and I've never seen a 'catalina' in my life. Maybe stores in another province have them, but I've never seen one in Ontario.
And why link to coupons.com - it's not a Canadian site. Better to link to save.ca and gocoupons.ca since they are great Canadian coupon sites where you choose the coupons you want and they mail them to you - no charge.
I'm glad you did link to smartcanucks ,though. It is an awesome site for discussions on deals and coupons, and to find out what the deals are this week and what coupons to use.And if you have some coupons you know you'll never use (like pet food coupons if you have no pets) you can trade them on Smartcanucks. For the price of a stamp I can mail away diaper and formula coupons I don't need (yet!) and in return get $50 in food coupons I can actually use. Each user has a trade rating so you know if they are trustworthy or not.
Posted by: jess_147 | Jan 2, 2022 9:55:44 PM
Smartcanucks is my favorite site for not only info on where to get coupons, but freebies/samples, deals, and contests as well!! Feel free to use me as your referral if you sign up, my user name is jess_147
Posted by: Minou | Jan 2, 2022 10:46:13 PM
Yes! SmartCanucks is amazing! You can get coupons at Save.ca, couponclick.ca, and gocoupons, but SmartCanucks members help you with tips about the best deals and the coupons to use with them. Not a lot of shoppers use coupons, it seems, but it's incredible to see the kinds of deals that are out there.
What's wonderful is that SmartCanucks is such a positive environment. Sarcastic or rude remarks toward other posters are not tolerated. It's an online community that is large and very active.
I'm a little bothered by the negative tone of the original post because it almost seems to sneer at couponing while on the surface promoting it. I think most good couponers are pretty well-organized to help their transactions go through at the till smoothly. We do care if we're really holding up the line and making other customers upset, so we do what we can to avoid holding things up. A lot of younger people are getting into couponing, so the sterotype of oblivious old women with changepurses stuffed with coupons just doesn't hold true anymore. Many SmartCanucks members are in their twenties, so the image of the average couponer is changing.
Posted by: Steed | Jan 3, 2022 5:26:37 PM
So Carolyn, you feel sorry for those people that do not use coupons! Well I am one of them. I am far too good to use them. I make over $330 grand a year and the time it would take me to find and clip out a coupon is worth several orders of magnitude more than what the coupon would save me. The reason I don't need coupons is simple. I don't waste my time looking for pennies or even dollars. You will never be well of if you think small.
Posted by: scbpooh | Jan 3, 2022 9:45:41 PM
i would like to comment to these ppl who think they are too good to use coupons. Come on, thinking a little too highly of yourselves arent we!!!! Its all well and good you make piles of money but for those of use who are a one income household couponing is a WONDERFUL thing! I just finished my spreadsheet of 2009 and my coupon usage was over $3000!!!
SC is a wonderful group of ppl, and a site I am extreamly proud to be a member of. There is so much to do and see on this site someone who is new to the coupon world would be amazed at what they find.
Posted by: sal | Jan 4, 2022 12:55:47 AM
Im not sure why people are saying this is just an american article as Smartcanucks.ca is Canadian
Posted by: Ashlee Lee | Jan 4, 2022 1:07:09 PM
I noticed a sign in my store saying "No Printed Coupons" We can only use coupons that are mailed to us. So any printed your own coupons is no good to me here in Canada
Posted by: Steed | Jan 4, 2022 2:42:22 PM
scbpooh, I have no issue with you using coupons and saving $3000. Like I said, for ME, it is a waste of time. Saving $3000 over a year for ME is not worth the effort. The bottom line is that I take offense to anyone who criticizes me for not using them. Why would I spend more money (ie time) than what the coupon would save me? And to think that Carolyn made that idiotic comment that she feels sorry for those that think they are to good to use them. I feel sorry for Carolyn.
Posted by: micpalace | Jan 6, 2022 9:18:36 AM
Steed if you make soooo much money and have no time to use coupons because its not worth your time, then why did you take your money making time out of your day (life) to read a story about couponing? Seems to me you just lost money reading and posting here. If you continue to waste your time then your 300k plus will be down to 200k plus and then you'll need to use coupons... So off to work with you.
Posted by: Lisa | Jan 6, 2022 1:40:35 PM
Steed's point is, he can afford to waste a little bit of money because of all the money he IS making. Remember, money is all relative. Here's an example. If you are making 30K a year, it's kinda stupid to go out to a fancy restaurant even ONCE a year and spend over $100. for 2 people, isn't it?? Think about this logically. Yet, (and I don't know how much Steed makes), if you're making 100K or more a year and you have your prioirties straight and your bills paid (and you were smart enough to get that good job in the first place), then you CAN and SHOULD go out for that expensive meal. It's a luxury that a person in the "higher" income bracket CAN afford, and should do. He worked for it, didn't he??
Everything is relative! Get it?