Monday, May 16, 2011

How to Save Money using Coupons, Freebies and Online Communities

Like most families mine can struggle from month to month with even just the necessities. A growing family sure does require a lot to thrive and grow. From groceries to clothing to extra curricular activities to toys and the list goes on...the costs can sure rack up. We all want the best of the best of the best for our families but sometimes those desires are just out of reach. It was all this wanting on a minimal budget that gave birth to the side of me that now saves (and earns) my family a whole lot of extra spending money each month. There is no reason your family can't reap the benefits of couponing, freebies and the perks of joining or following an online community. Let's talk saving.


Couponing

Since the launch of popular tv shows like Extreme Couponing, Canadians have been asking - "How can I save money like that for MY family??" It's a wonderful concept but unfortunately for families in Canada we have much tighter policies and regulations on the use of coupons. This doesn't mean however that you can't save a significant amount of money by clipping and collecting coupons. It can definitely be worth the effort if you know where to look and the tricks to making the most out of your coupons.

Coupon Trick #1 - ALWAYS attempt to combine your coupons with a store sale to reap maximize savings. One of my favorite websites, Smart Canucks, lists the best flyer specials combined with coupon savings every week. Stay on top of the best deals in town for the best combined savings. You can also check your local flyers every week and scope out some great deals on flyerland.ca.

Coupon Trick #2 - Some stores have an ad matching policy that makes collecting all the best deals in town from one location a much more convenient option. One store that has this policy? Walmart. Bring proof an advertised price from a competitor into Walmart and they will match the price - it's as simple as that. Combine ad match deals with coupons to max out your savings.

Coupon Trick #3 - Collect as many coupons as you can. You can find coupons everywhere. Inside product labels and containers, newspapers, magazines and flyers, the aisles at your local grocery store and online. Have you seen those 1-800 numbers posted on the back of your favorite products?? Try giving the number a jingle and requesting to be put on a coupon mailing list. You will be surprised at how many enthusiastic companies will gladly send you out some coupons and samples. Be sure to flip through your coupons regularly and discard of any expired coupons..or even better use the ones close to expiry up quickly before it's too late.

Some of my FAVORITE coupon sites:

1. save.ca

2. webSaver.ca

3. brandSAVER

4. right@home

Coupon Trick #4 - There are a lot of online communities out there for trading coupons. Say you have a handful of diaper coupons you know you will no longer be needing. Guaranteed there is someone out there willing to trade your diaper coupons for some extra grocery coupons you sure could use. Some of my favorite trading communities take place in forums such as the ones on CanadianFreeStuff.com and Smart Canucks.


Freebies

Whoever said the best things in life are free was absolutely right. Imagine finding free samples and even free full sized products in your mailbox several days a week. Companies today love good word of mouth and are providing lots of opportunities for eager consumers to try their products and spread the word. It's a win, win. It doesn't end there - freebies can be found in some unlikely places.

Freebies Tip #1 - The easiest way to find free samples is to follow the gurus of the freebie world to hear about the latest and greatest. There are entire websites and facebook fanpages dedicated to collecting free samples. All it takes is a quick check when you have the time to make sure you take advantage of the goods while they are up for grabs. Good freebies go FAST. Some of the best places to check for freebies are CanadianFreeStuff.com, FreeSamples-Canada and the awesome freebies forum on Smart Canucks.

Freebies Tip #2 - Try reviewing products for a social marketing company. BzzAgent gives consumers the opportunity to try new products in exchange for the promise of word of mouth and/or a product review. The more campaigns you complete for the network the more products you will potentially be sent in the future to review. As a BzzAgent myself I can tell you the product samples are VERY generous and usually include lots of coupons to pass along to your circle of friends.

Freebie Tip #3 - There are some seriously ingenious communities out there for trading to receive free goods and each have a slightly different way of doing things. whoopdwhoop allows users to trade homemade creations for "whoops" which are credits that can be used to obtain other homemade goodies on the site. Listia is an online community where you can bid for items using credits achieved through sign up and by successfully auctioning off your own new or second hand goods. FreeCycle is an amazing network where users in your local community can post items they are looking to give away for free on a first come, first serve basis. You can also post items you are looking for - this is how I obtained my new flat screen computer monitor, for free of course.

Getting the Best Deals

Years ago I worked with a very resourceful young lady who often proclaimed "I buy EVERYTHING on sale." Everything? Really? She must be exaggerating. Well maybe she was to a degree but now as a Mom on a budget with my eyes peeled for a deal I have found myself often proclaiming the same thing. It's not as tricky as it sounds. There are deals EVERYWHERE. You just have to know where to find them. It's not only about checking your local flyers and utilizing your coupons but making use of the websites out there that make it their business where to find the best deals. My absolute favorite website for finding the best weekly sales and deals is SmartCanucks. Groupon is another popular site for scoring fab deals in your local neighborhood. There sure seem to a be a lot of best deal websites popping up across the net though and if you want to see what I mean simply google "deals Canada".

Adding your favorite brands or deal websites to facebook is a sure-fire way to stay on top of the best deals around. While you're at it try joining an email mailing list to get the latest offers and deals right in your inbox.

Making Some Extra Dough

If couponing, deal hunting and scoring freebies isn't enough for you then you can always try unloading some of your unused and unwanted goods online to bring even more cash into your busy household. Try listing your items in free online classified sites such as Kijiji or craigslist. Local second hand stores are a great option to pass along some of your childrens outgrown clothes while making some extra cash. You can also try browsing your area for local upcoming Mom to Mom sales where Moms congregate to sell their second hand goods to enthusiastic families looking to score a deal.

Do you have a favorite tip for saving money in your family?? Please share it with us!!

Thanks to Mom Central Canada for seeing the potential of this article and selecting us to receive a Spring 2011 Blogger Grant. We are grateful and honored to have had this wonderful opportunity.



4 comments:

Tiffany said...

I really need to start this. I don't like having to buy 10-20 of the same thing to get deals and don't know what stores take what coupons and if they double coupons and such... hmm!

itmom said...

In Canada most coupons have limitations such as one coupon per purchase. I have not come across a store yet that has turned away my coupons..unless they are expired that is. If you can score goods for free by combining a coupon with a sale deal sometimes it's a good idea to have your husband, a family member or a close friend with you to make a second separate purchase. It's much less complicated than it sounds!! Especially considering here in Canada our coupon access is somewhat limited.

Grocery Alerts Canada said...

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Canadian Coupons said...

Finding coupons shouldnt be hard, we at SaveaLoonie.com update our website daily along with our ever so growing facebook page with over 4000+ fans already. Check us out for all your couponing needs!