West Shore coupon train “conductor” Abbie Shortt (left)

Riding the coupon train

The West Shore has struggled for years to get a train running, but a group of West Shore parents are riding the rails in a different way.

Co-operative couponing helps parents save money

The West Shore has struggled for years to get a train running, but a group of West Shore parents are riding the rails in a different way.

Langford mom Abbie Shortt is a keen user of the West Shore coupon “train,” a package circulated through the community filled with hundreds of coupons for items such as diapers, pet food, groceries and medicine.

Working from her Langford home, Shortt has taken in the role of coupon “conductor” — she makes sure train riders are replacing what they take with fresh coupons, and removing expired ones.

“We save a ton of money,” Shortt said. “In one week I saved $70 on 15 items in three stores.”

Aside from having the coupons, these train riders have learned the art of coupon stacking — using more than one coupon on an item. Only a handful of stores, such as London Drugs, allow doubling up. On top of that, Shortt finds stores that allow price matching.

“You just take a flyer with a cheaper price to the store,” Shortt said.

Her next planned purchase give her two packs diapers without paying any money after using a price matching flyer and 10 coupons.

After discovering coupon stacking, Shortt stopped buying diapers in bulk because it cost more money than using coupons on smaller packages for her six month old son.

“I never thought this was possible until I learned the tricks of the trade,” Shortt said. “I am going to get 24 rolls of toilet paper for $1.99. The other day I bought 20 boxes of cereal for $15. I had a bunch of buy-two, get-one-free coupons.”

Langford mom Karin Waugh has been riding the train for about three years.

“I just paid $6 for a $30 can of formula,” said Waugh, the mother of a nine-month-old daughter.

Now that coupons have become a part of the shopping habits, Waugh said, “I won’t pay full price for formula. I never will.”

They collect coupons from newspapers, magazines, the Internet and on shelves in stores.

If she’s out of coupons, Waugh heads to the Internet to seek out other couponers who have extra formula coupons that are up for trade.

Being part of a train and organizing coupons has taught Shortt and Waugh to not be picky. They buy the brand that is offering the discount.

“This is the cereal that has a coupon, this is what you are going to eat,” Shortt said.

While their couponing techniques are nowhere near as dramatic as in the United States where coupon stacking is more widespread, Shortt said what she and the rest of the train passengers do is “Canada’s version of extreme couponing.”

Coupon trains all over Greater Victoria, the province and the country. The West Shore coupon train has about 10 members and each member hand delivers it to the next person. The train stops at each location for two or three days.

“Some trains are picky and you have to write down how many dollars worth of coupons you took out and then have put in (the amount) that you use,” Shortt said.

The West Shore train is a bit more relaxed and operates on the honour system. The train stops are coordinated by the location of people’s homes.

“We try to get it to go in a circle like a train would,” Shortt said.

Not surprisingly, all West Shore coupon train riders are parents looking to save a few bucks.

“As soon as I got pregnant I thought that we would need to start saving money,” Shortt said. “It can be a lot of work, but it’s worth it in the end.”

For more information on the West Shore coupon train, email Abbie Shortt at abster81@hotmail.com.

reporter@goldstreamgazette.com

 

 

Just Posted

Saanich Inlet bridge billion-dollar price tag too expensive says ministry

Malahat alternatives not practical from engineering, budget standpoint

Seven years later, what’s changed since the 2011 Malahat fuel truck crash and closure?

Trans-Canada Highway reopens to traffic Friday morning after roughly 13-hour closure

Shamrocks home opener tonight

Victoria opens play against Burnaby at 7:30 p.m., tailgate party starts at 5

Vehicle crosses into median and flips on Pat Bay Hwy

The vehicle landed upside down in oncoming lanes of traffic on the McKenzie overpass

WATCH: Final thoughts before the 75th Swiftsure Yacht Race

Nautical stories and racing strategies of some of the 200 crews heading out to sea Saturday

Black Press Media to launch Pipeline Full of Controversy series

Series covers Trans Mountain’s history, science, Indigenous reaction, politics and economics

B.C. RCMP swoop in to save injured eagle

An eagle with a broken wing now in a recovery facility after RCMP rescue near Bella Coola

Catalyst Paper to sell U.S. mills to Chinese company

Sale will allow company to focus on B.C. interests, says president Ned Dwyer

Bug spray 101: Health Canada wants you to stay bite free

Health Canada is reminding Canadians to use bug spray and other insect repellents safely

Unions reject CP Rail contract offers

Both meeting Friday to determine next steps; 72 hours notice required before strike action.

B.C. jewellers warn public about fake gold scam

‘They are playing on people’s sympathy and their greed’

Former B.C. premier says pot industry about to enter Wild West

Mike Harcourt says Canada is about to enter a new gold rush with many dreaming of striking it rich

Hunt continues for two suspects in Ontario restaurant explosion

The explosion left 15 people injured, but all victims have now been released from hospital

B.C. teacher charged with sexual offences involving two teens

Henry Kang, 50, of Abbotsford charged with two counts each sex assault and sexual exploitation

Most Read