Money-saving shopping hacks to stay on budget this year

Man removes cash from wallet
Image via Getty.

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Now that we’re past the holiday season, many of us try to tighten our purse strings and get our finances back on track.

With food prices set to increase by $487 for the average Canadian family in 2020, there’s never been a better time to switch up your shopping habits and save a little extra money in the process.

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As easy as it may sound, there are always essentials like groceries to be bought, replacements for broken or lost items, and unexpected expenses that pop up no matter how hard you try to stay on budget.

That’s why we’ve gathered some of the best industry tips and tricks to help you save while shopping, so you can make the most of 2020.

Shopping and Cashback concept, Money refund, Woman hand holding smartphone with button get started the cashback.
Image via Getty.

Cash-Back Programs

With programs like TopCashback, Great Canadian Rebates, and Rakuten (formerly E-Bates), Canadians can take advantage of rebates on online purchases and get cash back with every purchase. These sites earn a commission from each sale and share a portion with members. The more you shop, the more you save!

Rakuten, one of the biggest players in the cash back market, has helped more than five million members earn over $70 million since it first launched in 2012. With over 750 stores to choose from, top brands like Lululemon, Coach, or Hudson’s Bay can all be connected to your account, earning you money with every order.

Image via Sephora Community.
Image via Sephora Community.

Loyalty Cards

A 2016 report by the Nielsen Company found that two-thirds of respondents shop more and spend more at retailers with loyalty programs, so it only makes sense that nearly every store has their own these days. If you’re an avid shopper at a particular store, it’s worth signing up for these types of programs to hear about upcoming sales, earn points, and score discounts where you’ll actually use them.

Take for example the PC Optimum card, whose points can be collected and redeemed both in-store and online for discounts on groceries, beauty, and more. Sephora also has an extremely popular loyalty program that provides shoppers with birthday goodies, access to exclusive sales, and a points system that lets you redeem for products and experiences alike.

Image via Microsoft.
Image via Microsoft.

Shopping Extensions

If you’re buying online frequently, browser extensions can make a huge difference to your shopping experience. From taking the work out of price comparisons to testing the latest coupon codes at checkout, these handy apps can save you hundreds of dollars.

In the Chrome Web Store, search through the list of extensions to find helpful shopping apps, like Amazon’s Assistant that helps you discover products and deals of the day; Honey, an extension that automatically applies coupons; and The Camelizer, an extension that tracks the price history of an item to let you know whether you should buy now, or wait for it to go on sale later.

Happy senior friends moving down trade center during seasonal sale
Image via Getty.

Special Discount Days

Whether you’re a student, senior, teacher, or veteran, there are many age groups and professions that benefit from discounted shopping days and year-round savings. Be sure to check with each store location or website, since many deals are location and store-specific.

Students will want to sign up for programs like the SPC Program, which offers instant savings on every purchase when you show your card along with valid student ID. Indigo is one retailer who frequently hosts teacher appreciation events, and veterans can save 15 per cent when shopping at Mountain Equipment Co-Op.

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