If you’re like a lot of Canadians, you love hunting—for deals, that is! You may be doing it out of necessity as part of a financial plan, or simply because you love the thrill of the hunt. Either way, today both online retailers and physical locations are offering some very interesting deals to try to attract more customers than the competition. We’ve come up six surefire ways you can bargain hunt with the best of ‘em and save yourself a bit of cash.
Join Points Programs
If you frequent a particular store, you’ll want to sign up for their points program. You may think it’s a hassle or don’t want to carry around another card in your wallet. But it’s usually quite simple and most programs nowadays are card-free; you simply type in your phone number and voila! Some programs let you redeem money off a purchase after a certain point level has been achieved while others may stamp a card and offer you your 10th purchase free. (Okay, yes, some still require cards!)
Shop Rebate Sites
You’ve probably heard of Great Canadian Rebates (GCR) and maybe even EBates. (That one is big with our neighbors to the South, but still relatively new to Canada.) Both sites earn you cash back on purchases you make at your favourite stores. Sound too good to be true? It’s not. You shop your favourite stores through GCR or EBates, and they receive a commission from the retailer. That commission is then shared with you via cheque or a Paypal account. Cha-ching!
Clip Coupons (or Download an App)
This may seem like a no-brainer, but some people just think of coupons as a hassle. However, the savings can really add up—there’s even a popular television show Extreme Couponing! You can literally make couponing an art form. There are plenty of how-to videos and stories online to get you started in the world of extreme couponing. Still don’t feel like clipping? There are numerous couponing apps available for the tech-savvy, such as Checkout 51. It delivers great offers on common household products and more, and once you’ve accumulated $20 or more in your account you can cash out and they mail you a cheque. Not too shabby.
Check Out Group Deals
There are websites out there that sell vouchers for goods and services at discount prices if enough people sign up to get a group rate. While you will most likely need to sign up to be a member and take advantage of these deals, opt for a site with no membership fees, such as Groupon or WagJag. Group deals can be fun but be smart about who you sign up with. The Ministry of Consumer Services has created a few short video clips urging consumers to make sure they are really getting a deal, check the reputation of the website, and always read the fine print!
Shop Outlet Stores
Outlet stores; gotta love ‘em! There’s nothing more satisfying that stocking up on items at a fraction of the cost. Outlet stores are a great opportunity if you like to shop in bulk and don’t mind if an item is out of season or mislabeled. Buying straight from a factory or warehouse means that transportation and retail store costs are cut, thus passing the savings on you, the customer.
Know When to Shop
It’s true, experts agree that certain times of the year are better to buy certain items. For example, January is ripe for TVs and winter clothing, while December is a good time to finally buy that blu-ray player, camcorder, e-book reader, gas grill, or major appliance you’ve been eyeing. If you’re wondering what’s hot this month in April, the report suggests it might be a good time to check out a desktop or laptop computer, a digital camera, carpeting and vacuums, and lawn mowers—but only if you need one! Remember, it isn't a deal if you have to go into debt to buy it. You might be saving $20 off the original price, but if it's going to cost you $120 in interest to pay it all off, it ain't worth it, and it ain't a deal!
Have some money-saving tips of your own? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section. Otherwise, you might also want to check out our story 10 Ways to Earn Some Extra Cash. Happy hunting!