A Couponer Shared How You Can 'Easily' Save $200 A Month On Groceries In Canada
"Just by changing some of your shopping habits."
But, while just about everything seems more expensive right now, there are ways you save and we've got some tips from an expert couponer on how you can save money on groceries.
Narcity recently spoke with Kathleen Cassidy, a well-known expert couponer in Canada who has spent the last 10 years figuring out the easiest, most effective way to save on groceries.
"I was just a university student who was looking to start saving some money," Cassidy told Narcity as she explained how it all began for her, and that it was during the pandemic that her social media platforms, "just kind of took off."
She has since built an online community of grocery savers and aspiring couponers with hundreds of thousands of followers on her Instagram and TikTok platforms under the name Living on a Loonie.
From when and which grocery stores to shop at, to finding grocery coupons, making the best use of loyalty programs, and price matching, Cassidy knows practically everything there is to know about how to save money when grocery shopping.
"I used to actually keep a spreadsheet and it was thousands of dollars a year that I could save just on everyday items," she explained. "But easily, just by changing some of your shopping habits, you can save at least you know $100 [to] $200 a month."
Here are her tips on how to save money on groceries in Canada.
Shop the flyers
Cassidy said for anyone looking for ways to start saving money on groceries, the first thing to do is look at the weekly flyer of the store you regularly shop at.
"What we want to do, especially when it comes to food items, is shop by that flyer," Cassidy advised. "What is on sale this week? What is a great stock-up price?"
What's featured in the flyer can either help determine your grocery list for the week ahead or you can use it to plan ahead.
"If there's a really great price on sausages - you can buy a couple packs. If you have the means to do so, you can throw them in the freezer, and then next time they're not on sale, you're kind of prepared for that."
The same thing also applies to deals on everyday essentials like paper towels or toilet paper, which often can have much bigger sales than food items.
Cassidy noted if you're on the lookout for that next grocery store flyer, grocery stores in Canada release their weekly flyers on Thursdays, while most drugstore flyers come out on Fridays.
She also puts out weekly videos on Living on a Loonie on Thursdays to recap some of the best flyer deals at various grocery stores.
Make a list
While shopping the flyer deals at your grocery store can help you go to a store with a plan, Cassidy also recommends always making sure you have a grocery list when you shop.
"I feel like a lot of Canadians just kind of blindly go into the grocery store every week," she told Narcity. "Especially if you go when hungry, you're just throwing stuff into your cart."
It doesn't take an expert couponer to know that strategy isn't going to help you save any money.
"Take that 10, 15 minutes. Make a grocery list and a rough meal plan for the week," Cassidy said.
She said often times people who go to the grocery store unprepared also end up wasting food.
"That is also just money throwing being thrown into the garbage," she added.
Price matching is another great way to save money if you know how to do it, which grocery stores offer it, and if you have the capability of shopping at several different stores.
"The store you're shopping at who price matches your local competitor will change the price for you on that item because it's featured at another store," Cassidy explained.
In Ontario, some grocery stores that price match include Real Canadian Superstore, No Frills, FreshCo, and Giant Tiger.
You can identify items to price match by scanning through weekly grocery store flyers to find which items are being offered at a lower price.
"You're able to save money based off of what local competitors are pricing products at," Cassidy said, adding price matching can play a big part in how much money you're able to save each and every week.
Take advantage of loyalty programs
While the most common or obvious ways to save on groceries can be buying items at a reduced price, collecting points for what you buy at a grocery store can also help stack up your savings.
Cassidy shared that after looking at weekly flyers for deals and price-matching opportunities, that's when you can see if a loyalty program has any promotions that can be worked into your grocery list.
"A lot of the stores that price match will either have the PC Optimum Card or the Scene Plus card," she said.
And this is where expert couponers really make their money back, by combining all of these savings opportunities together to find the best deals, or what Cassidy referred to as "double dipping."
"What's the lowest price? What's on sale this week? What can I price match? Does anything have a coupon? And can I earn loyalty points on anything? And that's how I'm gonna save the most money," Cassidy said, explaining the basics of her grocery-saving mentality.
While points offerings may not put money right back into your pocket immediately, if you're consistent with how you shop, your points will add up over time and eventually even cover the cost of a grocery shop altogether.
While Cassiy's tips and tricks for saving money on groceries can be a great starting point, she also had some advice for anyone thinking about becoming a couponer themselves.
"I always like to say that when you're starting to coupon it's kind of how much effort and time you put into it is really going to be how much you can save," she said.
No matter how much time you spend, in her experience, Cassidy said couponing "can really open up a whole kind of level of savings."
"You can really change your means and your lifestyle, especially when it comes to food," she said.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
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