Grocery prices continue to pinch Canadians’ wallets, which is why some have started hunting for deals through flyers and phone apps to get the most bang for their buck.
In July, headline inflation rose, but grocery prices came down slightly, according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) report from Statistics Canada. However, year-over-year, food prices are still high and out of reach for many.
Many have turned to food banks to help feed their families during the cost-of-living crisis.
Meanwhile, some Canadians have taken it upon themselves to play a “scavenger hunt” through flyers to find the best deals, using coupons or price matching to lower their bills.
Price matching is when a customer shows a lower competitor price for the same item at a grocery store and receives that item for the lower price.
HOW TO PRICE MATCH
Kat Cassidy, a Canadian couponer, runs multiple social media accounts under the handle “living on a loonie.” She said she “fell into” the side hustle of content creation after she started sharing tips on couponing and price matching online.
“I was just a university student who was couponing, trying to save money. I had two part-time jobs (and) went to school full-time,” Cassidy told CTVNews.ca in an interview. “I just felt like the extreme costs of university as well as living were just taking all of my money, and I had no money left over for the joys.”
Looking for another way to save besides budgeting, Cassidy picked up a coupon at her local grocery store, which piqued her curiosity. After that, she started researching online for couponing tips and tricks.
“I found that there was a lot of U.S.-based couponing stuff, but not a lot of Canadians (sharing their couponing stories),” she said. “So I thought that I would just kind of start posting my experience and see if it would help anyone.”
Cassidy uses both coupons and price matching at her local grocery store to save $50 to $100 each trip.
In Canada, she said the Real Canadian Superstore, No Frills, Giant Tiger, Freshco, Maxi, IGA and Save On Foods, among others, will allow customers to match the prices of items sold by their competitors.
Each store does have its own policy, so some will allow price matching, whereas others may only offer it against certain competitors.”The thing with price matching that makes it a little bit tricky is that it’s a store-by-store basis because most of these stores that are price matching are franchise, so they are independently owned,” Cassidy said. “So they kind of make the rules up, if you will.”
This is why it’s important to “familiarize yourself” with the local stores, she said.
Using paper flyers, or the Flipp app, an online catalogue of flyers, Cassidy will search for the items she needs that are on sale and will begin creating a grocery list.
If she needs crackers but her local No Frills is offering a higher price than at the local Food Basics, she can price match the item at No Frills for the Food Basics cost, without going to two different stores.
“Make sure that wherever you’re price matching, you have the exact product,” she said. “You’re going to want to make sure you have the same weight, the same item (and) the same brand.”
To make it easier for the cashier, Cassidy puts the items she wants to price match at the end of the conveyor belt, which also helps keep her organized.
“I feel like people try to do too much at once or they’re just disorganized and they get to the cash (register) and they feel a little bit of anxiety come through and that’s why people don’t like it,” she said. “I always like to say try price matching just one item your first time … and build yourself up from there.”
Over the years, many say the rules and where to price match have made saving money harder.
“I’ve noticed it’s not the same, less coupons, more rules at stores … Some stores don’t price match, so it’s basically a game on what to get where, in order to save,” Suzette Bellemore, commented on a post in the Extreme Couponing Canada Facebook page.
‘I SOLD SOMETHING I REALLY LOVED’
Sarah Coleman’s top tip for price matching is to do it with honesty.
“When you’re price matching, don’t try to sneak one through, you’re gonna ruin it for everybody by doing that,” she told CTVNews.ca in an interview.
She’s seen people deliberately go to the cashier that seems the youngest to try and save a few extra dollars. Leading with “integrity,” she said, makes sure the program continues for everyone.
Another tip is using a calculator while walking around a store to figure out the best deals, she said.
Coleman promotes her tricks on her Facebook page “Counting on a Change.” She got into price matching and couponing after her family became food insecure in 2009, when her husband lost his job.
“I have to admit I never once looked at the price of groceries ever,” she said of her shopping habits before the layoff.
Sarah Coleman and her family in October 2022. (Contributed)
Coleman said her husband got another job shortly after his severance pay ran out after he was laid off, but it was significantly less than what he was making before.
For a few years, she said her family of six used credit cards and cash advances and even refinanced the mortgage on their home before she decided things needed to change.
One night, after much thought, she listed a prized possession for sale — a collectable porcelain doll.
“I sold something that I really loved and they brought me 20 bucks,” Coleman recalled. “I went and bought groceries with it.”
Years later, when Coleman’s family got back on their feet, she said her daughter surprised her with the same doll.
Having been directly impacted by food insecurity, Coleman said she wants to share her story and help others who are in the same position she used to be in. She also works as a manager of operations at her local food bank in St. Thomas, Ont., where she regularly organizes workshops on couponing and price matching.
Ultimately, Coleman said she wants to Canadians to know how much price matching can make a difference.
“It took me about two hours and I saved $180 in that two hours, so that’s $90 an hour,” she said. “So for people to say, ‘Oh, it’s not worth the time.’ I’m like, ‘When have you earned $90 an hour?’”
India asks Canada to recall several dozen diplomats – Hindustan Times
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Canada secures second place in 2023 Best Country Rankings
Achieving second place might sound like a disappointment. However, the second place means a lot in the global ranking of countries, and Canada has recently secured that spot.
The 2023 Best Countries rankings by US News & World Report placed Canada in second place. In the rankings, Switzerland won the first place and Sweden in third place.
By taking up the second place, Canada toppled Germany since the country earned the second place last year. Consequently, Australia and the US occupied the fourth and fifth place in the rankings.
The ranking system
US News’ Best Countries ranking system is a yearly ranking of the best countries to live in according to several metrics. The annual ranking originally started in 2015, in which the ranking attempts to “examine a country’s merit beyond hard metrics.”
To determine the ranks, the news outlet consults several prominent institutions. They include the global advertising company WPP and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. US News & World Report uses the former’s BAV brand analytics tool and consults with the latter’s professor David Reibstein. Thus far, the news outlet relies on 73 attributes to describe a country and identify its recent successes.
Subsequently, the news outlet distributed the survey from March 17 to June 12 to 17,000 respondents around the world. The survey includes 87 nations, and the respondents will assess the countries’ merits based on their perceptions.
Other than Canada, the top 10 countries in the ranking come from highly developed countries around the world such as Switzerland, Sweden, the United States, Australia, Japan, Germany, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands.
Canada exceeded the score of 90 in agility (94.1), quality of life (92.7), and social purpose (93.4). The following scores are entrepreneurship (84.2), open for business (80.1), cultural influence (55.0), adventure (54.5), power (41.9), and heritage (41.6).
Canada concluded its ranking by obtaining a score of 17.8 for the Movers metric with attributes such as differentness, distinctiveness, dynamicity, and uniqueness. Of the four, dynamicity occupies the top ranking with a score of 36.8. Distinctiveness takes second place in 26.3, followed by the measly scores of differentness and uniqueness of 5.0 and 9.3, respectively.
Another thing to consider in the Movers category is the recent issues of surging living costs and housing. As Canada’s housing crunch continues, this might have affected people’s perception of the reality of living in the country.
Canada’s strong scores
There are several reasons why Canada managed to snatch the runner-up position in the 2023 Best Countries rankings. Its global connectivity and decent job market, for instance, almost reached a perfect score with 95.5 and 98.4, respectively, thanks to Canada’s reputation as a highly interconnected country with good job prospects.
According to US News, Canada is a high-tech industrial society with high living standards. After the trade agreements with the US in the 1980s and 1990s, both countries have become each other’s largest trading partners.
In addition, US News also said that Canada owes its economic success to the service sector and export of energy, food, and minerals. With the availability of proven oil reserves, Canada has emerged as the world’s fourth-largest oil producer.
Canada also won the perfect score in the racial equality and religious freedom categories. Thanks to the myriad of ethnic and religious groups in the country, Canada has attained the status of a multicultural society. Despite the post-Christian and secular state of modern Canada, Canada’s multiculturalism allows many religions and beliefs to flourish in the country.
Another reason behind Canada’s high rank in the Best Countries rankings is the near-perfect score of economic stability and hospitality to families. Owing to Canada’s famed reputation as a comfortable country to live in, many people think it’s best to raise families there.
The tourism industry in Canada is also something to behold. Canadian urban and natural tourist spots from British Columbia to Nunavut spoil domestic and foreign tourists with abundant options. Tourists can experience anything from Canada’s natural majesty to urban excellence in any of Canada’s provinces and territories.
The availability of SIM providers such as eSIM United States tourists adds to the convenience of tourists from the US and anywhere else. Various kinds of data plans are also available in Canada, which makes the country a desirable destination for travel aficionados who love to share their journeys online. With these plans, tourists don’t have to worry about internet coverage anymore when they explore Canada.
India tells Canada to withdraw dozens of diplomatic staff: Report
India has told Canada to withdraw dozens of diplomatic staff amid heightened tensions between the two nations over the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, according to a report published by Financial Times.
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Canada secures second place in 2023 Best Country Rankings
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