Extreme couponers: Shoppers seek deals amid high food costs, weak loonie

TORONTO -- As the founder of savings blog Coupon Nannie, Dana Calder is always looking for a good bargain -- and she's had plenty of company lately.

See Full Article

The number of questions on her Facebook page has skyrocketed since January, and she says most of the inquiries are related to food.

"Right now, obviously groceries -- especially fruits and vegetables -- are so expensive," said the North River, N.S., resident.

Calder likes to keep site visitors and social media followers in the loop about added ways to retain cash through shop-and-save cashback apps like Checkout 51 and Zweet. But even with a wealth of digital options currently available, she still makes a point of poring through printed flyers each week to circle items that look like good deals.

"I always take coupons with me," said Calder, who keeps a folder of discount vouchers. "You never know when you'll go the store and find a sale."

Whether flyers are printed on paper or scanned for sharing online, the traditional promotional tools are proving to be more valuable than ever to cost-conscious consumers in a tough economy. As a result, distributors of discount-touting ads are seeking to widen their reach of potential shoppers.

Flyergo recently launched its sealed flyer packs within Toronto's subway system, with plans to distribute them to 50,000 commuters weekly. The intention was to reach highrise residents who may not have access to the printed promotions where they live and work, said Flyergo president Bill McDonald.

"There continues to be a strong interest in print when it comes to flyers and coupons and other deal-oriented incentives. We know a whole number of websites and apps that exist to meet that need," said McDonald, former president and publisher of Metro English Canada.

"There continues to be a strong interest, though, in print when it comes to flyers and coupons and other deal-oriented incentives. We see that both through the number of marketers that use this tool, and continue to use it in an aggressive fashion, but also just in terms of consumer experience."

He pointed to research conducted by Canadian firm BrandSpark, whose 2015 Canadian Shopper Study found print flyers "remain crucial to influencing the purchase behaviour of Canadians."

The poll of more than 65,000 shoppers found that 91 per cent check grocery store flyers on a weekly or monthly basis. While 62 per cent polled checked digital flyers on a regular basis, the majority still preferred print, the study found.

"You know you want deals but you don't know what they are -- and they're presented in a format that's appealing to the consumer," said McDonald.

Jeff Novak, brand director of RedFlagDeals.com, said online flyers are among the popular sections on the site since they started aggregating them several years ago.

"Anecdotally, we're seeing a rise in people wanting to save money on groceries and doing that price comparison.

"Previously, a lot of talk about price comparison on our site or price matching was ... 'I'm at Best Buy and I want to buy a TV and Wal-Mart has it cheaper.' ... But we're seeing it a lot more now on groceries and on packaged goods."

With the loonie hovering in the low 70-cent US range, Canadian consumers are also more sensitive to shipping charges, duties and taxes incurred from international shopping, Novak noted.

"We're seeing a lot more conversations like that: people trying to find the best way to save even small amounts of money," he said. "It doesn't seem like a lot, but if you can save 50 cents, a dollar here and there and you do it enough times, it can add up."


Latest Economic News

  • British economy grows more than expected after Brexit vote

    Economic CTV News
    LONDON -- Britain's economy grew faster than expected in the three months after its vote to leave the European Union despite concern that uncertainty over the country's future would weigh on business. The figures, however, are preliminary and experts warn they do not yet reflect some of the looming negative impacts, such as an expected rise in inflation. Source
  • Twitter cuts 9 per cent of its workforce worldwide

    Economic CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Twitter, seemingly unable to find a buyer and losing money, is cutting about 9 per cent of its employees worldwide. Twitter Inc., which has struggled amid competition from the likes of Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, said Thursday that it expects to book about $10 million to $20 million in workforce restructuring charges. Source
  • With or without sale, changes could come to Twitter

    Economic CTV News
    NEW YORK - Sale or no sale, Twitter users are bound to see changes as the beleaguered communications service tries to broaden its appeal to more people and advertisers. A new owner could clean up Twitter and curb some of the nastiness that's become synonymous with it. Source
  • Pipeline protesters brace for confrontation with police

    Economic CTV News
    CANNON BALL, N.D. - Protesters trying to stop construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline were bracing for a confrontation with police Thursday after the demonstrators refused to leave private land in the pipeline's path. Source
  • Samsung heir joins board, moving toward top leadership role

    Economic CTV News
    SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of - The grandson of Samsung's founder is stepping up as its new leader after the failure of the company's flagship smartphone, the Galaxy Note 7. Shareholders of Samsung Electronics Co. Source
  • Suncor production rebound after Fort McMurray fire leads to profit

    Economic CTV News
    CALGARY - Oilsands giant Suncor Energy is reporting net third-quarter earnings of $392 million compared with a net loss of $376 million in the same period of last year. The Calgary-based company reports a strong production rebound after second-quarter interruptions caused by the wildfire that swept through Fort McMurray, Alta. Source
  • Asian stocks lower as investors examine company earnings

    Economic CTV News
    HONG KONG - Stocks retreated in most Asian markets on Thursday as investors assessed a fresh round of corporate earnings from major companies across the region. KEEPING SCORE: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index slipped 0.5 per cent to 17,303.27 while South Korea's Kospi rose 0.3 per cent to 2,019.09. Source
  • Samsung profits plunge 17 per cent after Galaxy Note 7 recall

    Economic CTV News
    SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of -- Samsung Electronics says its third quarter profit has plunged 17 per cent as Galaxy Note 7 recalls nearly wiped out its mobile profit. The South Korean tech giant said Thursday that its July-September net income was 4.4 trillion won ($3.9 billion), down from 5.3 trillion won a year earlier. Source
  • Canadian government warns U.S. senators of potential lumber dispute consequences

    Economic CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- The Canadian government is warning U.S. politicians about the consequences of a possible new softwood-lumber dispute. A letter from International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland and David MacNaughton, the Canadian ambassador to Washington, went out today to two dozen senators -- with a copy to President Barack Obama. Source
  • #GrabYourWallet boycott targets Trump family on the retail front

    Economic CBC News
    An eye-catching shoe piques your interest and draws you in. Upon closer inspection, the label leaps out at you — Ivanka Trump, in simple gold lettering — and you recoil as if stung. That's the kind of reaction behind a growing boycott of the products emblazoned with the brand of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump as well as the popular, working women-targeted fashion line from his eldest daughter — who has arguably been his most influential and effective family member during the…