I have become one of those people I used to detest.
The coupon people.
You know, the kind of people who hold up a line of shoppers at the grocery store Friday at suppertime because they have scads of coupons for the cashier to sift through. And it’s not like cashiers can scan them easily. Usually they have to peer at the coupons until the expiry date becomes clear, then key in a bunch of codes, sometimes call for a supervisor override, criminal check, and retina scan.
I feel somewhat vindicated that coupons have reached a level of coolness after seeing an Old Navy coupon folder for five bucks when I was shopping over the weekend. (I didn’t buy it though, because five dollars is a lot of coupons!) Clearly, coupons have become, dare I say it, cool?
I’m not sure if it’s the recession in general or my level of student poverty that has me keen on coupons.
Perhaps it’s a protest at the huge mark ups on some products, which can be mitigated by a fifty cent coupon or a buy one, get one free deal.
And companies are willing to hand out these discounts.
The other night, I bought gas at Sobeys’ Fast Fuel and got 81 cents off my groceries at Sobeys. Pretty cool. Free money.
Superstore offers free money called Superbucks on all their prescriptions, which you can then use for your regular groceries. They add up quickly if you collect them. I use them ASAP because I tend to forget about them and they do have expiry dates.
And of course, there’s the trend setter: Canadian Tire, with their pretty, colourful bills (“not legal tender”) that have become iconic coupons for the automotive and hardware set.
I’m also a huge fan of customer cards. My Shopper’s Drug Mart Optimum Card has earned me close to a thousand dollars plus. And usually I buy mostly sale items at Shopper’s. So it’s win-win.
Air Miles, ditto. I’ve gotten free gas coupons, free grocery coupons, and free coffee coupons. Be still my beating heart.
Currently I’m working on a new one: a Futura card for Pets Unlimited. I earn actual money and someday, I’ll get a cheque for it.
While it’s annoying to have a purse full of colourful plastic (I’m channeling my inner Paris Hilton, I guess) I would hate to get rid of it because it would be like getting rid of free money.
I also enjoy doing those surveys that come in the mail. Not that I entirely enjoy the survey itself (it’s much like standardized testing) but a few weeks after I complete it, I get a package of coupons for fairly cool products. Sure I have to give up personal information which companies then use for marketing purposes. It’s kind of like selling your blood or a kidney. But money is money.
The internet is also a good source for coupons. If you’re on a company’s mailing list, you often get exclusive coupons. Plus, you can hit up sites like Save.ca and choose the coupons you want to use. The company then sends you the coupons for free. And they’re good ones, too, not like five cents off lima beans or something. SmartCanucks.ca is another great site for coupons actually worth the work.
There you have it. Coupons are really, truly, and honestly, a great way to stretch your money a little further, whether you need to stretch it a little, or you need it to circumnavigate the equator five times (as a student I’m the latter.)
It takes a little work to become accustomed to the venomous stares directed at you when you hold up the grocery line to save two bucks. But you know what? It’s not like those other customers are going to hand you two dollars, so ignore them and rock the coupon book.