US Couponing vs. UK Couponing


I’ve been in London a week now living in an extended stay hotel until my new flat is ready.  Here’s a quick list of difference I’ve noticed between the US Couponing and UK Couponing

Here’s what I know about US Couponing:

  1. The discounts you see on Extreme Couponing of 99% in one shopping trip are not typical.  My standard savings was around 60-70% on every trip.
  2. Coupons could be printed, clipped, or loaded on your store club card.
  3. Coupons could be ‘stacked’ (so one manufacture coupon with one store coupon for an item) and used on a sale item making the cost per item significantly less.
  4. Some stores double coupons and some except competitors coupons
  5. A large zip binder and plastic baseball card sleeves are the only way to store coupons and every coupon is clipped and saved.
  6. Blogs and forums are an invaluable tool.  Some forums will even give you an advance preview of the next weeks store advertisement.
  7. ‘Catalina’ deals based on the purchase of a particular product and give you money to use towards future purchases at the same store.
  8. Stores don’t care if you use a coupon, in fact they get a $.08 handling fee for accepting it. Many store managers made sure I knew about a coupon available for a given product.
  9. Never buy anything that you don’t need or won’t use.
  10. Never go to the store for just one thing.  You’re time is worth money too.
  11. Never go out of your way to go grocery shopping. There are no Asda shops in my area and I will not be traveling on two tubes to get to one.

(Note: There’s so much more about the finer points and certain technicalities, but these are certainly the broad strokes and the base of the couponing system. Honestly, it becomes a game trying to figure out the details of the coupon, how many to buy in each transaction, which Catalina to use in order to keep the bottom line to a minimum, and so on. If you would like to learn more about American Couponing I suggest The Krazy Coupon Lady.)

Now, here’s where it’s going to be different in the UK:

  1.  Coupons are called ‘vouchers’ and is a blanket term covering money off a particular item, money off a shopping trip, an offer for free delivery or 2-for-1 deals, Groupon buys, deals attached to a register receipt, money off a restaurant meal and so on…
  2. There are no ‘blinkies’ (an unit attached to a grocery store shelf with a coupon dispenser for a given product)
  3. There are no coupons to load on a club card
  4. Sales do not always list the end date of the sale
  5. Club Cards do not give a lower price on items, it’s all the same deal (which is perfectly fine by me)
  6. No Catalinas with your receipts, only a quarterly money off voucher on next purchase based on points
  7. Limited refrigerator and pantry space
  8. Most city dwellers do not have cars and buy only what they can carry, or pay for a delivery service (about ₤4)
  9. No coupon inserts in newspapers (?)
  10. Stores will not take competitors vouchers
  11. Very few blogs or forums about local supermarket deals
  12. Fast paced shopping.  I’ve never seen people move so quickly when buying products (outside of Christmas sales). It’s very hard to price check or check a unit price at that speed.
 I’m hoping I can keep updating this list and perhaps even proof myself wrong!

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