How Canadians can cut spending as recession fears grow

As a university student in southern Ontario, Kathleen Cassidy was looking for a way to stretch your dollars. While shopping at her local grocery store, she found coupons and thus began a lifelong commitment to rarely paying full price.

Now, 10 years later, she’s gained a massive following on social media, helping Canadians plan their way to more affordable grocery bills.

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Cassidy started out with the “Living on a Loonie” Instagram profile, before expanding her presence to TikTok.

“I think coupons and saving money are really what you make of them, and it really feels different for every family because you have different circumstances,” she explained.

“From planning meals to checking what’s in your cupboard, creating your shopping list, matching prices, using physical coupons or cashback apps – everything it can save you money.”

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Why Loyalty Pays

Another option indicated by Cassidy is your grocery store’s loyalty points or rewards program. Loyalty programs are often simple to sign up for and points accumulate quickly.

The PC Optimum program, for example, allows members to earn points on their purchases at participating stores and redeem points to lower their bills.

While many Canadians are looking to get their spending under control, Cassidy adds that points can also be used to help pay for holiday expenses.

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One of the questions she is often asked is where to find coupons – she says many can be found by browsing the aisles of grocery stores.

“It’s a bit of a treasure hunt, but you have to keep an eye out,” she says. But they can also be found online.

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“There are many websites from which you can actually print coupons, or some will even mail them directly to your home for free.”

Cassidy also compiles links to coupons and makes them available online.

“I’ve had the opportunity to connect with thousands of Canadians and it has warmed my heart to receive these messages: going on vacation that I saved up for is really great,” says -she.

Where to reduce your expenses?

Melissa Leong is the author of Happy Go Money: Spend smart, save smart and enjoy life. When it comes to savings, she recommends taking a close look at your overall spending.

The best and easiest area to start, she says, is your discretionary spending. This includes entertainment, restaurants and subscriptions.

Then there’s the matter of fixed costs like your cell and internet plans.

“See if you can call your service providers and ask for a better deal,” Leong encourages Canadians.

While the thought of any form of negotiation may seem daunting to some, she adds that standing up for yourself is crucial.

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“It’s your hard-earned money that you should try to keep as much as possible,” she adds. “Approach it with the attitude that if you don’t ask, you don’t get.”

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Leong suggests contacting the customer service department of one of your service providers to explain your financial situation and define your needs. And in order to give yourself more clout, she recommends learning about what the competition is offering.

“When a storm comes in, you want to make sure you plug the holes in your boats. That means paying off your debts and having a lifeboat are essential. And so it’s an emergency fund – three months of cash living expenses in an easily accessible location.

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