There’s an App for That: 6 Free Digital Tools to Help You Save
With inflation raising prices on everyday essentials, we take a look at six free digital solutions to help you save. Photo: LeoPatrizi/Getty Images
Given significantly higher prices on everyday essentials, your wallet could use a break. Due to pandemic-related supply chain disruptions and pressing labour challenges, inflation reached the highest it’s been since 2003, according to Statistics Canada.
That’s where tech comes in. Here are six free digital solutions to help you save.
A website and app (iOS, Android), Toronto-based Flipp aggregates all those paper flyers delivered to our doors and highlights nearby deals. Type in a keyword, like “chicken,” and it will show the best prices at local supermarkets. You can browse by store, flip through ads or clip a deal on your built-in shopping list. A Watch List feature tracks items and sends alerts when they go on sale. While Flipp is primarily for retail shopping (it stores digital loyalty cards so you can flash the app to a cashier to scan), it also flags online-only deals.
Another Toronto-based company, Flashfood, has a free app that helps you save on about-to-expire grocery items. Use it to browse discounts at nearby stores (via an overhead map), pay for items and pick them up in store. The platform currently works for Loblaw stores – Loblaws, No Frills, Real Canadian Superstore and Provigo. The company says it has diverted 30 million pounds of food waste from landfills, saving 2.49 million pounds of methane gas emissions from entering the atmosphere.
Rakuten (formerly eBates) pays members cash back every time they shop online at more than 750 supporting stores. Sign up for a free account and launch the app or website. When you want to shop, tap on a store logo – such as Canadian Tire, Sephora, Indigo, The Bay, Walmart, Well.ca and Old Navy – to search for products, or type in a keyword in the search bar at the top. Once you buy, you’ll start earning cash that will be sent to you via cheque or deposited into a PayPal account. The percentage you get back varies, up to 10 per cent, according to the company. Aside from meal kits like HelloFresh, you can shop fashion, beauty, tech, travel and streaming services (Apple Music and DAZN). There is also a free browser extension if you want Rakuten to automatically find and apply coupons (and compare prices).
On a Mission
Canada’s Shopper Army website offers as much as 13 per cent cash back at more than 80 participating online retailers. The company says its cash-back rates are often higher than other services because they share most of the commission with members, and the money is deposited into their account, usually within 48 hours. Once the return period is over, cash back is available in the form of an Amazon Gift Card or via PayPal. Members can also complete “missions,” which are generally product-testing opportunities. The item is either mailed out or the purchaser gets a rebate after they buy it. In exchange, Shopper Army asks for an honest review after it has been thoroughly tested.
Click to add Honey to your favourite web browser (Google Chrome, Safari, Edge, Firefox or Opera) and start shopping online. It will sense where and what you’re shopping for, and let you know if there are coupon codes available to apply to your cart or if it finds a better deal. For example, if you’re about to buy a box of 100 N95 masks on Amazon.ca, click the icon in the top right of your browser and it’ll show you if it’s a good price and where you might get it cheaper. Honey Gold Rewards is similar to Rakuten, where you can earn points for shopping on participating sites and get, for example, five per cent back on your purchase at DavidsTea or eight per cent at H&M, and then redeem it for gift cards.
Spread the Savings
A website, app and browser extension, Slickdeals is a community-based hub that shares savings on products, services and travel. The community then votes on all online or retail deals, and the hottest ones (such as 70 per cent off an air fryer) move up to the Popular Deals section. These are screened by the site’s editors, who determine if the bargain is good enough to graduate to the coveted front page of the app or website. If you want to price-watch an item, you can sign up to be notified when a bargain is posted. There’s also a browser extension that will automatically flag available coupons and promo codes upon checkout.
A version this article appeared in the February/March 2022 issue with the headline ‘There’s An App For That’ p. 50.