Canadians couponing to save money on groceries

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Canada’s food inflation rate is showing no signs of slowing down, and more people are turning to coupons to manage their grocery budgets.

Bruce Martin of Oakville, Ont., says as grocery prices rise, he finds himself shopping with a strategy when he heads to the supermarket.

“I use the Flipp app and I look at it every Wednesday to see what’s coming up for the next week and then I make a decision based on what’s where,” Martin said. “I do it every Wednesday morning when the new previews come out on the app and I go from there, make my decisions for the best all around value.”

Kathleen Cassidy, founder of the social media account Living on a Loonie, says the Flipp app is a digital platform that puts local flyers and coupons in one place for easy access to discounts and deals.

She adds it’s a way to help savvy shoppers determine which store they should shop at to get the best price on a particular item, or which store they should head to to take advantage of a price match.

“You can browse through flyers, and by tapping an item you are able to add it to your shopping list,” Cassidy said.

“If you’re looking to price match, you would go to a store that would price match [another] store, and you would show them that with the accompanied product.”

Cassidy is one of many Canadians using coupons to help others save on groceries and everyday essentials, offering tips and tutorials online for her followers.

The practice of coupon clipping has become a necessity for many in the country.

Cassidy says taking the time to use coupons could save you anywhere from $20 to $50 per week.

“It’s not something that everyone’s going to do. At the end of the day, couponing is unique to people and how they use it, but it can definitely change your financial situation a little bit if you’re willing to put some time and effort into it,” she said.

You can find coupons on store shelves, or you can print them at home and apply for digital rebates.

“When we’re talking about couponing we’re not just talking about the paper coupons,” adds Cassidy. “We’re talking about different cashback apps, which is basically a modern version of mail-in rebates, we’re talking loyalty points and just different ways to save.”

Cassidy says several items are often on sale, and some you should never pay full price for, including toilet paper, paper towels, most toiletries, bread, pasta and some meats.

Jennifer Andersen, founder of the social media account Grocery Deals Canada, helps others to create meal plans based on weekly deals.

“My biggest piece of advice is to definitely plan your groceries shop and to start simple,” she said. “The couponing world and the grocery saving world can be really overwhelming.”

She added: “There’s some areas that you’re not going to save money on and that’s just a staple in your household that’s never going to change is going to be the same price. But, if you can save on other areas, it makes paying that full cost a little less harsh … When I spend less on groceries, I can spend more on other things that we really care about.”

Anderson admits not all things will go on sale, but shoppers should look for items that they can stock up on.

“If you see chicken on sale for $1.99 a pound — which is a really good price — buy two or three chickens, and then, you know, you’re going to have chicken two or three times in the next month or two. They freeze really well.

“That’s a long-term plan you can have while you’re doing your meal plans. I have this chicken from when I bought it, so I’ll make it next week and cut back on my grocery shopping the following week.”

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