It can be hard to avoid debt, especially when you have bills to pay and a family to feed during tough economic times.
If you’ve felt this pressure, you’re not alone. Many have, and it’s led to an unusual financial literacy skill that could help you stretch your shopping budget — online shopping apps.
When used the right way, shopping apps can help you find the best deals, save money on everyday expenses, and even help you track your spending, which can be useful when you need to stretch your budget as far as it will go.
In this blog, we’ll go over some of the basics about shopping apps and how to use them wisely to save money and find good deals.
What Are Good Shopping Apps?
There are a ton of shopping apps available to Canadians on various smartphone app stores (like the Apple App Store, Google Play, etc.).
However, there’s a difference between a top shopping app and one that will be a good shopping app for your needs.
Just because a shopping app ranks high in an app store doesn’t mean it’s a great fit for your needs. These apps are often very convenient, but may trigger poor spending habits or even online shopping addiction.
Good online shopping apps are more than just virtual storefronts (if they even have a storefront at all). Instead, they provide opportunities to save money on the things you need.
Some examples of good shopping apps include:
Flipp (Digital Flyers & Deals)
Flipp is an app that aggregates digital flyers from thousands of stores.
On top of collecting deal flyers for you, the app also allows you to add your customer loyalty/membership cards for various stores and clip coupons digitally so you can organize your shopping around your best discounts.
Rakuten (Cash Back App)
Rakuten is a shopping app that offers cash back on your purchases with hundreds of different stores. After shopping at a participating store, Rakuten is paid a commission for your shopping trip, which they then split with you via PayPal direct deposit, Amazon e-gift card, or a physical cheque mailed to you.
This can be handy for minimizing the impact of your purchases or earning back some money to help cover other costs.
Save.ca (Flyers, Deals, & Coupons)
Save.ca is a source for exclusive coupons covering anything and everything from groceries to kids’ toys, electronics, and beauty products. The app also has sections for flyers from stores in your area as well as special limited-time deals.
ShopSavvy (Price Comparison App)
The ShopSavvy app tells you how much it costs online or at nearby stores—helping you find the best prices for everything you need to buy.
How to Leverage Shopping Apps to Save Money & Avoid Debt
So, how can you use shopping apps to save money?
The answer can vary depending on the shopping app you use.
Couponing apps help you collect and organize coupons for the items you plan to buy. Meanwhile, apps with flyers for different stores (and barcode scanning apps) can help you compare deals between stores to find the lowest price.
Even a store’s own branded app can be useful for saving money. For example, you could use your local supermarket’s app to track when specific things you need go on sale there, and time your shopping trips around that. You could also pair your coupons with on-sale items at your store (assuming the store or coupons allow you to stack those deals).
If you’re willing to skip on the brand-name products and go with your supermarket’s own self-labeled goods, you might be able to save even more money if they offer a sale or coupon on those items. In many cases, the generic-name product is every bit as good as the brand name, but at a lower cost.
Important Pitfalls to Avoid with Shopping Apps
Of course, online shopping apps are designed to encourage you to spend money.
Sometimes, you might see a “limited time offer” or “soon to expire coupon” for something that is just too tempting—even if you don’t really need that item. While the occasional splurge on snacks or other small items probably won’t wreck the bank, it’s still a good idea to be careful.
When preparing to use a shopping app to save money, it’s important to make sure that you stick to the items that you need as much as possible. So, before digging into your shopping apps, create a list of the things that you need and keep to that list as you go through the app.
Sticking to that list can help you avoid unnecessary spending—which is a great habit to build!
Another thing that you might want to do is track your spending habits on different shopping apps.
Is there one app where you mostly make unnecessary purchases? You may want to consider cutting that app out of your life! When times are tough, it’s better to avoid temptation as much as possible—deleting apps that you don’t really need can help with that.
Remember, you save more of your shopping dollars by skipping unneeded items entirely than getting a great 25% off deal on them! If you need help tracking your spending, consider downloading and using a budgeting app.
Besides, people who make and keep to a shopping budget are more likely to keep up with their financial commitments—and thus more likely to avoid growing their debt.
Need Help Managing Debt?
Are you one of the nearly half of Canadians who are within $200 of not being able to cover their bills each month (or the 30% that reported already being unable to pay their financial obligations)? You don’t have to deal with debt alone.
If stretching your shopping dollars isn’t enough to cut it anymore, it may be time to seek debt relief assistance. Credit Canada’s certified Credit Counsellors are here to help you find the best way to deal with your debt—whether that’s by building a budget to help you control your spending, registering for a debt consolidation program (DCP), finding a bank to conduct a consolidation loan, or referring you to a licensed insolvency trustee (LIT), we’re here to support you!
Contact us directly or call 1.800.267.2272 to get started!