SHOP THE PERIMETER OF THE STORE
Where you shop in the store directly affects how big your bill is. Food essentials (produce, meats, dairy and bread) are usually located around the store’s perimeter. Middle aisles stock the more costly prepared and processed foods. Steer clear of those inner aisles and your groceries will be healthier and cheaper.
ORGANIZE, THEN LAYER ON THE COUPONS
Steal two simple tricks from the couponing pros. First, a little organization goes a long way: use a binder with photo-album inserts to sort coupons by category and expiry date, then haul it out before every trip to the grocery store. As well, think about using a manufacturer’s coupon with items already on sale at the grocery store—say a $1.99 package of taco shells is on sale $1.49. If you have a 50-cents-off coupon and the store allows double coupons, you’ll pay only $0.49.
SHOP LESS OFTEN
Try to stretch out the time between grocery-shopping trips. Instead of going once a week, go once every two weeks. You’ll be forced to make a more careful food plan and be even more likely to use the food you already have in the pantry and freezer.
EARN MONEY WHEN YOU BUY GROCERIES
Caddle, a Canadian app, pays you cash in the form of rebates when you shop online and in person. In exchange, you answer short online surveys and watch video ads. It’s available as a free download on iPhone and Android devices.
HIT FARMERS MARKETS JUST BEFORE CLOSING
Vendors don’t want to bring unsold produce back home, so they often sell their inventory at reduced prices (up to 80 per cent) before the market closes. Some markets have restrictions on price slashing, so check your local’s policy first.
BUY AT THE RIGHT TIME
Shopping for big home items off season yields the cheapest prices, as retailers and manufacturers want to clear out inventory before introducing new models. Think furniture in January and February, televisions and home electronics in the spring and barbecues and lawn mowers in the fall.
READ FOR FREE
Attention book lovers: access to Prime Reading is a little-known bonus to being a member of Amazon Prime—members can choose up to 10 free titles at a time from over 1,000 options (a regularly updated list of novels, non-fiction, thrillers, children’s books and more). The title is then available to view on any device via the Kindle app; some books also come with audible narration.
EXTEND THE LIFE OF YOUR WINTER BOOTS
Keep a cloth and a spray bottle of vinegar and water in your entryway to quickly wipe off salt stains every time you walk through the door. It’ll help your winter footwear last through multiple seasons. And for wet West Coast winters, Canadian brand Kamik sells sustainably manufactured rain boots that are durable and about half the price of competitors’ boots.
DITCH FAST FASHION
Beware the trap of fast fashion—usually you end up with a closet stuffed with ill-fitting, poorly made duds (see the holes in the neckline of that new T-shirt after one wash). It’s worth spending a bit more on fewer pieces that last. Look to innovative brands like Universal Standard, which is revolutionary for its size inclusivity (every piece in the vast collection is available in size 00 to size 40) and commitment to sourcing premium fabrics, all at reasonable prices.
GIVE YOUR OLD SHOES A SECOND LIFE
Grimy sneakers can be made to look nearly new again. Mix a dab of gel-based whitening toothpaste with a sprinkle of baking soda and get to work scrubbing with an old toothbrush.
BROWSE RESALE APPS
Poshmark, the popular U.S.-based shopping platform backed by celeb stylist Rachel Zoe, is now available in Canada. There are over 100 million items to choose from, and you can buy and sell both new and gently used clothing, bags, jewellery and accessories, from basic loungewear to designer labels. When you make a sale, the company provides you with a Canada Post prepaid, pre-addressed label ready for shipping.
AUTOMATE YOUR BARGAIN HUNT
Amazon price tracker websites like CamelCamelCamel send an email alert when the price of an item you covet drops to your designated threshold. It can also provide a price-history chart for the item in question so you can see variations over time and strategize when to strike.
MAX OUT YOUR CARDS
You may be surprised by how many gift cards or store credits are lingering in your wallet or shoved in a junk drawer. How about a reloadable charge card you forgot you reloaded? Or a cashback account you’re ignoring? It’s worth spending a few hours to inventory all those latent funds.
SPRUCE UP YOUR SCRATCHED GLASSES
Drop a bit of Brasso metal polish on a soft cotton cloth, wipe it over the lenses, let them dry completely and then polish out the scratches. Then paint a thin coat of clear nail polish on the screws to keep them from coming loose.
DRUG STORE DEALS
They have the same active ingredients as brand-name medications but are substantially less expensive. You can look for the generic name for your medication online and ask the pharmacist if they stock it.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SENIORS’ DAY
Shoppers Drug Mart and Rexall offer seniors’ days, with decent discounts on regularly priced merchandise. If you fall below that age limit (65 at Shoppers, 55 at Rexall), take senior parents or grandparents shopping on those days instead.
NEGOTIATE AT INDEPENDENT PHARMACIES
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