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I Waited for the Right Promo and Got What I Wanted!

Save-at-Home-Mom Christa Clips finds a laundry solution without having to pay $49.99 full price for this Neat Freak quad at Canadian Tire

Save-at-Home-Mom Christa Clips finds a laundry solution without paying $49.99 full price for this Neat Freak quad sorter at Canadian Tire.

“Saving” includes cutting down on time AND money on household chores for me.  Our kids (6+8) are coming home blissfully filthy from the school playground each day and I’ve  found myself spending more and more time in the laundry room sorting colours – time I’d much rather devote to being outside with the kids getting blissfully filthy, too! I’ve had my eye on these laundry sorters for a while now and have been waiting for a good promotion to go along with a sale price. The two storms collided today!

This Neat Freak quad sorter was on sale for $37.49 (reg.$49.99) and I had several dollars in Canadian Tire money to redeem. Being able to tack on a 3rd layer of savings sealed the deal for me today:

June 5, 2014 Canadian Tire Gift Card Promotion

  • Spend $100 or more and get a $25 Canadian Tire Gift Card
  • Gift Card valid June 6-July 5, 2014
  • no minimum purchase required when redeeming gift card
  • gift card cannot be combined with any other coupons. Do you suppose Canadian Tire money counts as coupons? hmmmm….
Gift Card promotions with no minimum purchase required can be considered TRUE % savings. If you have to spend $100 to redeem the gfit card, consider whether or not it's really saving you money in the end.

Gift Card promotions with no minimum purchase required can be considered TRUE % savings. If you have to spend $100 to redeem the gift card, consider whether or not it’s really saving you money in the end.

And while at the cashier, I picked up a coupon for $2 OFF our next BBQ propane tank exchange, and 12x Canadian Tire Money with my next gas fill-up over 15L.

I love these layers of savings! And now that I will have my laundry loads pre-sorted, it will be even easier to pop in a load during Off-Peak hydro hours and get outside to enjoy the day!

How do you save time and money on laundry? I’d love to hear your ideas – drop a line in the comments below!

 

 

Layers of Savings: How to Save on Groceries

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I rarely pay full price for  anything at the grocery store and try to stack on as many layers of savings as possible! And while I’ve not yet encountered the “perfect storm” in terms of being able to combine all of these layers at the same time, I have had some pretty extreme savings by combining 5 or 6 of these discounts.

Sale Price

  • Most grocery items go on sale at least once every few months. I use the Flipp app to check sale prices of every item on my shopping list and price-match it at Walmart or Real Canadian Superstore so that I’m not spending more time/money/energy hopping from store to store. Starting with a sale price is the foundation of all of the other layers – I don’t usually redeem a coupon or claim a cash back refund unless the item is on sale to begin with.

Manufacturer’s Coupon

  • I have a fairly complete collection of coupons ready to redeem when an item goes on sale. Again, I rarely redeem a coupon on a full-priced item – it will go on sale, eventually!  There are lots of places to get coupons in Canada:
  1. mail order coupons (WebSaver, Save.ca, GoCoupons, P&G BrandSaver, brand facebook pages, etc.)
  2. tear pad coupons (on the coupon wall at the store entrance or in the aisles)
  3. printable coupons (SmartSource, WebSaver, Save.ca, HealthyEssentials, The Healthy Shopper)
  4. coupon swaps (many communities have a facebook group of members that meet locally. I belong to Rockland & Ottawa East Coupon Clippers – feel free to join us virtually and/or in person!)
  5. online coupon trading (Coupon Spare)
  6. specially marked packaging (coupons on cereal boxes are common – check out this Savings Train that ended up saving me over $40 with cereal box coupons)

Cash Back Rebate

  • I check the cash back rebate apps regularly and will purchase featured items on my shopping list if they match my coupons and are on sale. I earned enough money with Checkout51 to pay for my iPad within a year of signing up! There are a number of cash back rebate programs available to Canadians – here’s my blog post over on CommonCentsMom with more details about how you can Get Cash Back on your Grocery Receipt.
  1. Checkout51
  2. SnapSaves
  3. CartSmart
  4. Zweet

Store Coupon

  • Retail stores often have their own coupons to pick up in the store, clip from their flyer, flash on your mobile device, or print online. Some stores (Walmart, for example) will accept a competitor’s store coupon for a specific product (not store-wide savings) so I’m always on the lookout for coupons to print/clip to match to sale prices. Some of my favourites are:
  1. Shoppers Drug Mart printable coupons with e-mail subscription e.g. $20 OFF when you spend $75 or more
  2. Target SmartSource printable coupons can be stacked with a manufacturer’s coupon
  3. Coupon Zone tear pad coupons can be stacked with a manufacture’s coupon at the Loblaws family of stores
  4. Rexall printable coupons with e-mail subscription e.g. 20% OFF entire purchase when you spend $25 or more

Other major chains that have their own printable coupons include Metro, Whole Foods, and the Overwaitea Food Group family of stores. Check the website and facebook page of your favourite stores to find out if they offer store coupons.

Mail-in Rebate

  • Cleaning and household products in particular often have a mail-in rebate to try a new product for FREE. Dishwasher tab, air freshner, and handsoap companies are particularly fond of mail-in rebate products. Be sure to submit the rebate form with receipt immediately after purchasing the item so that you don’t miss the expiry date or limited supply offer. Check for specially marked packaging, tear pad rebate forms, or the product websites and facebook pages for printable rebate forms.

Loyalty Program

  • Earning back loyalty points is an easy way to tack on another layer of savings at the grocery store. If you take the time to calculate how much your points are worth when you redeem them, you can roughly calculate whether or not it’s worth shopping at a particular store to earn the loyalty points, or save money on gas by price-matching with the rest of your grocery items. Some of my favourite loyalty points programs for groceries include:
  1. Shoppers Optimum Points
  2. Air Miles
  3. PC Plus
  4. Club Sobeys

Credit Card Reward

  • Although the savings are minimal in comparison to sale prices, coupons, and rebates, earning 1-3% back in points/cash dividend is another simple way to add on another layer of savings at the grocery store. Bit by bit, a cash back dividend, travel rewards, or points towards a gift catalog or gift cards do add up. If you end up paying any interest on the credit card, however, you’ll be negating these savings, and beyond. Credit Card rewards are only applicable if you’re able to pay the entire statement balance by the due date each month.

Store Perk

  • No tax, a free gift with purchase, scratch & save cards, bonus loyalty points, etc. are another way to save money at the grocery store and might be enough of a perk to make it worth driving to a particular store instead of price-matching in a one-stop shop. Be wary of some of the free gift card offers, however, which require a future minimum purchase with limited expiration dates – those aren’t necessarily a guaranteed layer of savings if you have no need, or are unable to make it back to the store within the specified dates.

When an item has multiple layers of savings … try to stock up

Keeping this kind of layered saving in mind, we should look past the sale price or the value of a coupon and calculate the out of pocket price (oop). When an item has multiple layers of savings and the oop price is as low as it’s going to get, try to stock up on the item. Within reason, of course! No basements full of bbq sauce and toothpaste, please – they both have expiry dates!

Do you have any additional layers of savings to help you cut costs at the grocery store? Drop a line in the comments below – I love hearing from other savvy shoppers!

All Aboard the Savings Train!

All Aboard the Savings Train Christa Clips Save-at-Home-Mom

Christa Clips: Save-at-Home-Mom started out on a savings train this week by spending $18 on specially marked boxes of Mini Wheats and has already redeemed $14 worth of coupons and will save on her groceries for months to come!

This past week I found an amazing deal in a grocery store, the good old fashioned way; no apps, printed coupons, or digital flyers. I’d been out late (rare!) and stopped into a 24 hour Sobey’s on the way home. There really wasn’t anything in the flyer that stood out as big savings, but I always enjoy visiting out-of-town stores for new products, tear pad coupons, and specially marked packaging. The latter turned out to be a gold mine of savings!

The deal:

Mini Wheats were on sale for $2.99 at Sobey’s (their flyer changes over on Thursdays). On it’s own this isn’t a crazy deal – they often go on sale for this price or even lower. I quickly put 6 boxes into my cart, though, because of ….

I'll have to stack these cereal boxes on their sides not that they're missing part of the back panel after clipping the coupons. A small sacrifice to make for the overall savings on our grocery bill.

I’ll have to stack these cereal boxes on their sides not that they’re missing part of the back panel after clipping the coupons. A small sacrifice to make for the overall savings on our grocery bill.

The coupons on the back:

  • $2 OFF Mini Wheats (430-510g box)
  • $1 OFF any fresh berries
  • $1 OFF any almond or soy beverage, any brand, any size
  • $1 OFF any almonds

All of the coupons are good through April 15, 2014 and there are no restrictions about using more than 1 coupon in a transaction (as long as you have one product per coupon). We buy at least 1 carton of strawberries per week and I’m almost positive that we’ll score some FREE Almond Breeze with these $1 OFF coupons combined with a cash back rebate through Checkout51 or SnapSaves. I’m hoping to combine the $1 OFF almond coupons with the $3 OFF when you spend $10 at the Bulk Barn coupons that we get in the weekly flyer – I’ll keep you posted if it works!

All aboard the Savings Train:

I clipped the coupons from the boxes and walked over to our local Walmart the next day. Lo and behold, they had the specially marked boxes as well, but regular priced at $4. No worries! Walmart price-matches any competitor’s flyer. I redeemed 6x$2 Mini Wheats and 2x$1 strawberries coupons and recouped $14 from my original $18 purchase!

 

if you only pay full price for the first product in your savings train, you can save even more money

Add coupons to price-matched sale prices for 2 layers of savings.

Add coupons to price-matched sale prices for 2 layers of savings.

By redeeming my coupons on more specially marked boxes, I now have another 6 sets of coupons! With any luck, by the time we’re ready to buy more Mini Wheats in the spring, I’ll be able to redeem them for a fresh batch of specially marked boxes with a new offer! These savings trains can go on for many months and help make a dent in our grocery bill – part of my Save-at-Home-Mom savings strategy. We see specially marked package coupons in almost every department at the grocery store and if you have the time to buy the products one at a time and only pay full price for the first product in your savings train, you can save even more money. 

 

A few things to keep in mind when purchasing specially marked packages:

There ARE fresh fruit coupons from time to time! My savings mantra is "bit by bit, it all adds up!"

There ARE fresh fruit coupons from time to time! My savings mantra is “bit by bit, it all adds up!”

  • check the expiry date of the coupons being offered: it’s almost always printed somewhere on the exterior of the box
  • check the expiry date of the product: no sense stocking up if you can’t get use or donate the items before they expire
  • take note whenever you see specially marked packages in a store that price-matches and then check all store flyers
  • check the coupon restrictions for “one per transaction” – that might be a game changer if you need to limit yourself to one redemption per visit

This week’s discovery while window shopping at Sobey’s reminded me that no matter how slick our savings system becomes with the flyer apps, online coupons, and cash back rebates, there’s still a place in the world for those who like to stroll the aisles and keep a good pair of scissors in their purse!