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8 easy tips for finding and using coupons.

article-save-with-couponsWhile both Canadians and Americans value brands that offer coupons — 52 and 53 per cent respectively — it can be tougher for Canadians to score a great deal.

With our total population less than California alone, we don’t have the same stiff store competition as the United States. Often, retailers won’t offer the same promotions.

However, if you’re a new coupon convert, on a tight budget or need to cut back in anticipation of increased expenses (such as homeownership or parenthood), you can still land some significant bargains if you put in a little research.

Here are 8 strategies to help you maximize your savings:

  1. Collect coupons and promo codes: Clip them from the paper or print them from popular sites such as smartcanucks.casave.ca or gocoupons.ca. Always read the fine print, and make sure your neighbourhood stores accept coupons printed at home.
     
  2. Sign up for emails from your favourite retailers: Before buying a product in a store, consider signing up for their email newsletter. Often, they’ll send a welcome email offering you a discount off your first purchase. Plus, you may be the first to know of any future sales or promotions. Don’t want to overload your inbox? Sign up for unroll.me, which “rolls up” offers from retailers into one daily email.
     
  3. Stock up on sale items: Stores offer product sales roughly every three months, which is the perfect time to stock up on essentials like toilet paper, dish soap and garbage bags. Cassie Howard, of mrsjanuary.com, recommends buying at least a three-month supply when a product is at its lowest price.
     
  1. Get cash back whenever you can: On top of paying for purchases with a cash-back credit card, you can try ebates.ca. Every time you shop online at a featured retailer, you can earn back a percentage of your purchase. Tip: Schedule your shopping around their double-cash-back events.
     
  2. Download mobile apps for ease of use: While you could start organizing a binder of coupons, another option is to download deals straight to your phone. Save.ca launched a mobile cash-back app, or you can try this app from Checkout 51.
     
  3. Request coupons from manufacturers: Many companies will mail you special offers and coupons directly. Check out this list of Canadian companies that have done so in the past. Also, P&G Everyday offers several printable coupons on products ranging from diapers to detergent.
     
  4. Keep an eye out for in-store deals: Look for tear-off coupons beside products or on product displays. Plus, many product packages will feature peel-off or cut-out coupons that you can use either on that purchase or on your next shopping trip.
     
  5. Look for the lowest price: When making a big purchase, compare prices at various retailers (sites like shopbot.ca can help). Do the same for lower-ticket items — if your grocery store doesn’t have the lowest price on strawberries, bring in a competitor’s flyer and request a price match. Ask nicely, and you may be able to keep more of your hard-earned dollars in your own pocket.

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