Crest toothpaste. From $2.37CAD at Walmart down to $0.75CAD, saving 68.35% off retail
Extreme Couponing is a TV series on Discovery Channel that follows the trips of people who can buy $1,000 of products but reduce their total cost to $50 through the use of manufacturer coupons. Extreme they are, organized as well as driven by a personal urge to save. Many came from experiences where they had nothing or were about to file for bankruptcy. Here in Canada their tactics do not work the same, so I set out to find the best strategy for couponing in Toronto, Canada. My example is the purchase of Crest toothpaste, 130mg, discounted 68.35%. I cannot come close to the 95% discount of the Americans, but will keep trying.
Price Chopper, a local grocery chain, advertised Crest toothpaste, 130mg at 2 for $3.00CAD. Both Walmart and my local NoFrills will match a competitor’s price. I had never price matched at Walmart, so decided to try it. Sure enough they said they would. In addition, from a coupon booklet that came in the newspaper, I found two coupons for $0.75/each discount off any Crest toothpaste. Walmart also took these. The total cost after price matching and coupon was $0.75/each.
|Walmart Everyday low price
|Nofrills Everyday low price
|price match from Price Chopper flyer
|2/$3 or $1.50/each
|manufacturer’s discount coupon
|Total price each:
|$0.75 or 31.6% of retail
The savings look spectacular but save the applause. Instead of the Crest brand I could have purchased the very comparable Colgate toothpaste 130mg for $1.27/each. My family considers these two brands equivalent. The savings rate of 68% off retail now drops to 41% of retail. It is still impressive, considering the low margins on grocery and daily use items.
Specific American retail marketing promotions make extreme couponing possible. The first is that certain grocery stores double or triple coupon values at specific promotions. If you can combine an in-store special with triple coupon values, this can save you a lot of money. Also the coupons I have received limit the number of coupons you can use during one trip to only 4. Americans seem to have no limit on the number of coupons they can use in a trip. Americans can subscribe to Groupon and other web sites, pay a nominal fee and receive hundreds of coupons, which when used together with an in-store sale as well as triple coupon values, you can rack up substantial savings. This is not possible here in Canada.
Here in Canada we do not have stores that double or triple coupon values. We also have coupon limits of 4 per visit. This greatly reduces the possibility of huge discounts. Still, I will keep looking.
The other psychologically interesting thing about extreme couponers is their similarity to hoarders. Hoarders have a need to buy and keep but not use products. Extreme couponers are meticulously organized and exact in their strategy. They plan their purchases to maximize their gains by finding out when the store will have the most stock, which cashier is best (male cashiers seem to better handle extreme couponing), and how much they will eventually have to pay.
I wonder if extreme couponers are purchasing products they will actually use, or will all their products eventually go to waste. Some donate their products to a local charity, which is great. Products that you purchase on sale but do not use will eventually spoil and go to waste. There is no savings to be had if you buy a product you do not use. Maybe extreme couponing is a competitive sport where the objective is to beat the stores and manufacturers but does not cost very much to play. If this is their hobby, then I am very supportive.
Extreme couponing just is not as attractive here in Canada. Correct me if I have missed something.
–Extreme Couponing Isn’t as Extreme in Canada
–The Truth About Coupon Stacking in Canada
–London Drugs and Coupon Stacking