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:
- 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.
- Coupons could be printed, clipped, or loaded on your store club card.
- 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.
- Some stores double coupons and some except competitors coupons
- A large zip binder and plastic baseball card sleeves are the only way to store coupons and every coupon is clipped and saved.
- Blogs and forums are an invaluable tool. Some forums will even give you an advance preview of the next weeks store advertisement.
- ‘Catalina’ deals based on the purchase of a particular product and give you money to use towards future purchases at the same store.
- 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.
- Never buy anything that you don’t need or won’t use.
- Never go to the store for just one thing. You’re time is worth money too.
- 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:
- 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…
- There are no ‘blinkies’ (an unit attached to a grocery store shelf with a coupon dispenser for a given product)
- There are no coupons to load on a club card
- Sales do not always list the end date of the sale
- Club Cards do not give a lower price on items, it’s all the same deal (which is perfectly fine by me)
- No Catalinas with your receipts, only a quarterly money off voucher on next purchase based on points
- Limited refrigerator and pantry space
- Most city dwellers do not have cars and buy only what they can carry, or pay for a delivery service (about ₤4)
- No coupon inserts in newspapers (?)
- Stores will not take competitors vouchers
- Very few blogs or forums about local supermarket deals
- 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.