Every year over 3.6 billion coupons are distributed but only three per cent are cashed in.

That’s a lot of “free” money not being taken advantage of and if there’s one thing a Smart Cookie loves, it’s free money.

Follow these simple steps below to stretch your dollar at the grocery store.

Before hitting the stores:

• Two-thirds of the purchases we make are impulse buys. Therefore, before you leave your home, create a list of every item you will need to make your meals in the coming days. Then, most importantly, stick to that list!

• Coupon “clipping” has gone high-tech. Start with the sites for the stores you frequent; most large chains now have websites that include coupons and details on other weekly deals.

• Manufacturer’s websites will sometimes display coupons and they tend to be more generous; so if you know you always buy a certain brand of canned soup, log on and see if the company is offering any discounts.

• Join mailing lists of the companies and stores you frequent. Many sites allow you to print off the coupons to take to the store right away, but others will send you the coupons you choose through the mail. If you prefer clipping coupons, then Sunday is the best day to find them.

• Before heading to the store, also take a quick look in your cupboards and fridge for any coupons on product packaging.

Maximizing Savings:

• Use the sales flyers and coupons together. Many people mistakenly think you can’t use a coupon on sale items, but you usually can. One survey showed that combining these two savings methods meant an average savings of almost $700 a year on groceries alone.

At the Store:

• When you first get to your grocery store, look near the check-out for any coupon books or flyers.

• Consider signing up for the store’s loyalty card so you can receive their automatic discounts. They will also alert you to extra deals. Also, if there is a store you regularly shop at, then get to know the salespeople or grocers as these are the people who are in the know as to when sales occur.


• Rebates can be a great way to save on everything from drugstore items to electronics. Offering rebates in the store or online is popular because it encourages customers to pick that product for the deal. But between 30-50 per cent of people don’t bother to follow through and get the rebate — which is a bonus for the retailers and manufacturers instead of the customer.

Questions or comments for the Smart Cookies? Please email us at smartcookies@metronews.ca.